Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Portugaliae Monumenta Africana, Volume V

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Portugaliae Monumenta Africana, Volume V

Article excerpt

Portugaliae Monumenta Africana, Volume V. Edited by Maria Luisa Oliveira Esteves. Lisbon: Comissão Nacional das Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2002. Pp. 844.

This fifth volume of the monumental series produced by the Centro de Estudos de Cartografia Antiga in Lisbon continues the publication of early Portuguese documentation relating to their African ventures. It is ultimately the heir of Avelino Teixeira da Mota's lifelong research project, though now augmented through additional research by other hands. Volumes 1-3 have already been published; Volume 4, which will be a transcription of a single códice of 1504-1505, is yet to appear.

Volume 5 presents documents for the period of 1505 to 1510, but in spite of its appearance of comprehensiveness, the focus is entirely on archival documents, so, for example, Valentim Fernandes's manuscript of 1506 and Pacheco Pereira's account of West Africa are not transcribed here, as these narrative sources fall outside the editors' apparent guidelines. The volume confines itself geographically to continental Africa and the offshore islands, not including North Africa or the Canary Islands. Thus documents relating to the post at Sofala and the coast of Mozambique are included, as well as the factory at Arguim, but not, apparently points farther north. Some documents relating to Europe are included, for example, bills of sale of the purchase of slaves from the African coast in Spain and Portugal.

Although a number of the documents have been published before by António Brásio, or in other collections, the majority have never been published. Among the unpublished documents are some very long texts, primarily financial inquests and related documents, so that most of the pages are taken up by unpublished documentation. …

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