Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and Superstitions

Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and Superstitions

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Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and Superstitions

Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and Superstitions

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Excerpt

On the 2d of July, 1861, I sailed from New York City on a little brig, the "Ocean Eagle," with destination to the island of Corisco, near the equator, on the West Coast of Africa. My first introduction to the natives of Africa was a month later, when the vessel stopped at Monrovia, the capital of the Liberian Republic, to land a portion of its trade goods, and at other ports of Liberia, Sinoe, and Cape Palmas; thence to Corisco on September 12.

Corisco is a microcosm, only five miles long by three miles wide; its surface diversified with every variety of landscape, proportioned to its size, of hill, prairie, stream, and lake. It is located in the eye of the elephant-head shaped Bay of Corisco, and from twelve to twenty miles distant from the mainland. Into the bay flow two large rivers, -- the Muni (the Rio D'Angra of commerce) and the Munda (this latter representing the elephant's proboscis).

The island, with adjacent mainland, was inhabited by the Benga tribe. It was the headquarters of the American Presbyterian Mission. On the voyage I had studied the Benga dialect with my fellow-passenger, the senior member of the Mission, Rev. James L. Mackey; and was able, on my landing, to converse so well with the natives that they at once enthusiastically accepted me as an interested friend. This has ever since been my status among all other tribes.

I lived four years on the island, as preacher, teacher, and itinerant to the adjacent mainland, south to the Gabun River and its Mpongwe tribe, east up the Muni and Munda rivers, and north to the Benito River.

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