Imatges de pÓgina

or King of Motapa, and even at the gold mines of Manica; but, instead of the expected profusion of this precious metal, they found that, as in other parts of Africa, it was laboriously extracted in small quantities from the extraneous substances in which it is embedded. On this expedition they had frequent encounters with the natives, who were always beaten in the field; but the Europeans were so harassed by long marches, and by the scarcity of provisions, that they finally returned in a very exhausted state, and without having been able to establish any permanent dominion over that vast extent of country.

As the energy of the Portuguese government declined, its sway over these colonies was reduced within limits which always became narrower. In 1631, the people of Mombasa rose, made a general massacre of the Europeans, and re-established their independence. About the end of the seventeenth century, the Imam of Mascat, a powerful Arabian prince, drove them out of Melinda and Quiloa. Their possessions are now confined to Mozambique and Sofala, and are maintained even there on a very reduced scale. The former of these stations, when visited by Mr Salt in 1808, was found to contain less than 3000 inhabitants, of whom only 500 were Portuguese; and the fortifications were in so neglected a state, that an Arabian chief assured the traveller that with 100 stout followers he could drive the subjects of Portugal out of this capital of Eastern Africa. Yet the government-house, in its interior arrangements, still exhibits some remains of the ancient splendour of the viceroys. The entertainment of tea, which is open every evening to

all the respectable inhabitants, is set out in a service of pure gold; and the negroes in attendance are absolutely loaded with ornaments of that metal. Mozambique has still a pretty considerable commerce in gold, ivory, and slaves, brought down from the regions of the Upper Zambese. These captives, since Britain shut against them the markets of the Cape of Good Hope and Mauritius, have been, to the number of about 4000 in the year, sent chiefly to Brazil.



On the Social Condition of Africa.

HAVING Commenced this work by a general survey of Africa as it came from Nature's hand, we shall conclude with taking a rapid sketch of the changes made by man, the societies formed on its immense surface; its arts, its industry, its social and moral existence; noticing, finally, the few attempts which Britain has made to establish colonies on that continent.

A grand distinction must here be made, between the native inhabitants of Africa and the foreign races from Arabia and other Asiatic countries, by whom so large a portion of its surface has been occupied. This distinction we shall rest, not upon supposed resemblances of form and figure, or faint analogies between the language of distant nations, but upon the introduction, within the limits of authentic history, of a people, manners, and religion, belonging to another continent. The changes now mentioned were effected, in a great measure, by the inroads of the Arabs or Saracens, and afterwards by the conquests of the Turks,-events which have diffused over the northern half of Africa a social system, every way different from that of the tribes by whom it was formerly inhabited. We shall begin, however,

with considering the native races who at present people this quarter of the globe.

The native tribes of Africa exist generally in that stage of society which is denominated barbarian. They are elevated above the hunting or savage state, by the power of taming and subjecting the lower animals, and by a certain rude agriculture which the fertility of the soil renders productive. Yet few of them are nomadic and wandering like the Arabs or the Tartars: they generally have native seats, to which they cling with strong feelings of local attachment. Even the tenants of the desert, who roam widely in quest of commerce and plunder, have their little watered valleys, or circuit of hills, in which they make their permanent abode.

Agriculture, including pasturage, forms the most important branch of industry in every society, and more especially in one where all the finer arts are yet in a state of infancy. In Africa, however, both the extent of cultivation and the processes employed are still extremely imperfect. This is particularly manifest from the fact that no private property in land has been anywhere established. Every city or village is encircled by an unoccupied domain of forest or waste, belonging to the king or the state, and of which a portion is ready to be granted to any one who will undertake the labour and expense of cultivation; while the remainder forms an immense common, on which all the inhabitants have the liberty of pasturing their cattle. There are in Africa no country-seats, no rural farms, such as embellish the aspect of a European landscape; and which, in fact, could not exist in safety, where each little state is begirt with hostile neighbours, and so many predatory

bands are prowling in every direction. The population is collected in towns or large villages, round which a circle of cultivation is formed; while beyond are pasture-lands where numerous herds are fed, and watched by day as well as by night.— The space within the walls forms a pretty wide district, where, even in the largest cities, the houses are interspersed with cultivated fields, and the low roofs are seen rising behind ears of corn. All the processes of preparing the ground, sowing, and reaping, are slight and simple. The plough has not passed the limits of Barbary; and perhaps, in tropical climates, the deep furrow which it lays open might expose the soil too much to the parching effects of a burning sun. Grain is raised only by means of the most profuse moisture, which of itself softens the earth. As soon as the periodical floods have deluged the ground, or the temporary river-inundation has retired, the labourers walk forth; one slightly stirs the earth with a hoe, while another, close behind, deposites the grain. Frequently this toil is lightened, from being performed by the whole village in common, when it appears less a scene of labour than a gay festival, like our English period of reaping. The village musician plays the most lively airs; the labourers keep time to his tune; and a spectator at a little distance would suppose them to be dancing instead of working. Irrigation, in all tropical climates, is the grand source of fertility; and wherever industry has made any progress, very considerable pains are taken to collect and distribute the waters, which either fall in rain, or are conveyed by river-channels. Egypt is well known to owe its fertility altogether to the canals, which diffuse over its

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