Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700

By Eric Axelson | Go to book overview

3
ESTÊVÃO DE ATAÍDE

Second only to Moçambique's value as the main port of call for Portuguese ships between the Tagus and Goa was its importance as a base for the gold trade of Mashonaland and Manicaland. To warehouses in Moçambique came each year cloth and beads from Cambay; and from Moçambique they were forwarded to the Zambezi, to be taken into the interior and bartered for gold. This trade was entirely dependent on the goodwill of the reigning Monomotapa.

The Monomotapa at the beginning of the seventeenth century was Gatsi Rusere.1 Three years before he had been challenged by a chief Chunzo, who had sent two impis against him. One impi had brought devastation to gold-producing lands frequented by traders from Massapa, so when Gatsi Rusere had called on the Portuguese for help, the traders had been only too glad to assist. The impi was driven back; but the pursuit was not pressed home, and the Paramount Chief had the leader of his own forces, Ningomaxa, his uncle and the second to most important person in the kingdom, put to death. The second impi approached Monomotapa's Zimbabwe. Before the combined Karanga-Portuguese force could engage it, its commander sent a present to Monomotapa, offering to foreswear his allegiance to Chunzo and become a vassal of Monomotapa if he were allowed to retain possession of the lands he had occupied. For two years the new vassal, Chicanda, bided his time, then rose in sudden revolt. Monomotapa begged for help from the Portuguese. The inhabitants of Sena and Tete elected Belchior de Araújo as their captain, and 75 Portuguese and 2,000 of their slaves and auxiliaries wound their way into the interior. They came to the strong stockade belonging to Chicanda, whose 600 warriors were taking the initiative against the investing forces which were many times their number. The Portuguese made great wickerwork screens, each large enough to shelter 50 men from assagais and arrows; they contained loopholes, through which the Portuguese and their allies could use their fire-arms and arrows. The attackers pushed the screens forward and filled in the ditch which surrounded the fort. They failed to scale the palisade, but inflicted many casualties on Chicanda's men who, realizing that their situation was hopeless, offered to surrender if their lives were spared. Monomotapa

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1
This is the spelling preferred by Abraham ( "'The Monomotapa Dynasty'", p. 66); the usual contemporary form was Gasse Lucere.

-30-

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Portuguese in South-East Africa, 1600-1700
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • 1 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 1
  • 2 - THE SIEGES OF MOÇAMBIQUE 15
  • 3 - ESTÊVÃO DE ATAÍDE 30
  • 4 - DIOGO SIMõES MADEIRA 40
  • 5 - NUNO ÁLVARES PEREIRA 55
  • 6 - THE REVOLT OF MOMBASA 78
  • 7 - THE 1635 SETTLEMENT SCHEME 97
  • 8 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1637-1651 115
  • 9 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1652-1671 129
  • 10 - THE 1677 SETTLEMENT SCHEME 144
  • 11 - THE FALL OF MOMBASA 155
  • 12 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA, 1681-1700 176
  • 13 - SOUTH-EAST AFRICA AT THE CLOSE OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 188
  • Appendix - SHIPWRECKS ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN COAST 196
  • GLOSSARY 209
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 217
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