Alvize Cadamosto

Picture of Alvize Cadamosto

Date of Birth: 1426

Age: 589

Place of birth: Venice

Citizenship: Italy


Portugal gradually strengthens its position in the African th coast, building fortified settlements and plantations. Portuguese sailors made their way along the African coast farther and farther to the south. Wherever they could, they seized the natives, marking the beginning of the slave fishing. Thus began the colonization of the black continent. They began to retreat concealed fears of monsters and fantastic fictional dangers, which said the ancient legend.

However, for the most part limited to the Portuguese trade in the immediate vicinity of the coast. Trade within the continent was in the hands of Jewish merchants who traveled north by camel through the oases of the Sahara to the most remote areas of Africa. This is evidenced by carefully made maps of the Jews of Majorca, where out the best cartographers of the period. On these maps, and some of them date back to 1375, shows Timbuktu, the Atlas Mountains to the caravan trails and placed a rough image of "the ruler of the Guinean Negroes." In exchange for ivory, ebony, gold, hides and slaves gave ingenuous natives glass beads, mirrors, knives, bells, bright fabrics, and so on. D. In the distance, the deep parts of Africa, these items are "hot commodity" to this day.

Of great interest is to save the report on a voyage to the African coast, undertaken in those years. The report of the Venetian adventurer Alvise Kadam (in Venetian dialect - Alvise da Mosto) travel, committed in the service of Prince Henry, and perhaps the first of the Europeans who saw the island "lenogo Cape.

Kadam was born in Venice around 1426. He was a professional sailor, and was a gentleman - a merchant and adventurer. In 1445 he moved to Candia (Crete). Five years later, he became a "noble archer" in the "Grand Gallery" at Alexandria, and still later served on the Flemish galleries.

In 1454 after his father was ruined trial, Alvise, together with his younger brother Antonio had left Venice, going in search of adventure and fortune. On the way from Venice to Flanders their ship was accidentally detained headwind near the Cape of San Vicente, where it was close to Ripuzery - the estate of Prince Henry. When he heard that the coast is an Italian vessel, the Prince sent to his secretary with samples of African products. Products stirred the curiosity of the young Kadam, and he asked, "Do not go there, Mr. permit to anyone who would wish it." When he was informed that his services willingly accepted, and spoke about the conditions of service - the division brought the goods, etc., -.. He decided at his own expense equip caravel and go to the African coast. "I was young, - he wrote - might well endure hardship, eager to look at the world and see what is not yet seen our people, and expects to acquire honors and riches."

Galera Kadam went first to the Madeira and the Canary skeletons, and then along the coast of Africa - and Kadam constantly kept a record of the winds, currents, landing sites and meetings with local residents.

His descriptions of tribes that he visited, are very interesting and contain a lot of valuable information. Across the shore near Cape Blanco was conducted very lively trade in slaves and gave "ten or fifteen slaves for one of these (Barbary) horse, depending on its quality."

The Arabs also exchanged on the people of Granada and Tunisian silk. "As a result, every year the Portuguese were taken away from Argina thousand slaves." Kadam says about the inhabitants of the desert - Touareg, their custom cover their faces and give them a characteristic: "Liars, the most notorious thieves in the world, is very prone to betrayal ... They have black hair, they are constantly smeared with fish oil, so that the hair has a foul smell, and it is considered an exquisite ... the longer Uzhenschiny chest, so it is considered to be beautiful, so all the women that their breasts were longer in the age of seventeen or eighteen years old when breast take the form, they tie up the rope, strong pulling down.

So way to stretch the chest, as well as women every day are often pulled the rope, they are even more elongated, so many they hang to the navel. And the woman who has the longest chest, groom them and proud of them as a rare thing. "

Kadam says about the "silent bargaining" salt, which was between merchants and blacks; "Blacks left the salt pile and hide, and the merchants put next to each pile of gold salts If both parties are happy, blacks take gold, and merchants -. Salt."

Kadam watched also use a wonderful tool, which has since, as it said the Venetian, was forgotten almost six centuries, and only today was used again. Merchants in Mali, near Cape Blanco, with his help were rescued from the heat. "In certain periods, - writes Kadam, - there is an unusually strong heat from this blood rots, so that, if not for the salt, they would die tool they use is as follows: they take a little salt is dissolved.. it in a jar, which poured a little water, and drink this drink every day. They say this is their salvation. "

Going Green Cape, Kadam ships reached the country of the Negro tribe dzhadofo. The slave trade flourished here, and sold slaves to the Arabs and the Portuguese. Customs population Kadam described in detail and captivating. "You should also be aware that in these lands, men perform many women`s work, such as spinning, washing and the like." Kadam landed and sold to the local leader of a few horses with a harness, which earned it a hundred slaves. "As soon as he saw me, - says Kadam - he gave me a young girl of twelve or thirteen years old, beautiful, although it was very black, and, moreover, said that he gives it to me to servitude in the bedroom I took it and. I sent her to his ship. " Then the Venetian tells of one case testifying to the great skill in navigation made blacks coast.

It so happened that Kadam had to send someone a message on his ship, standing at a distance of three miles from shore, and the sea was agitated, strong winds, were stranded on the shore and the banks, and a very powerful current. Swim volunteered two. One could not cope with the waves and came back; "The second held firmly within an hour struggling with the waves at the sandbar finally crossed it, delivered a message to the ship, and returned with the answer It seemed to me amazing, and I have come to believe that, no doubt, these coastal negros -. Best swimmers worldwide". As a reward for service to the nave received two penny tin ingot.

Traveling along the coast, met friendly natives, among whom were nominal Mohammedans, with Venetian udivpeniem watched and different customs, and the order of audiences with potentates, and neo-5ychaynye food and palm wine, and snake charmers, and poisoned eruzhie. Venetian liked to go to the markets, arranged every two weeks, to mix with the crowd and watch as there are traded and on-linen goods - because the money is not used. He talks about how

Sometimes Kadam invited aboard their ship naves: it was great fun for him. Naves were horrified by crossbows and by firing a bombard. And when he told them that one shot can kill over a hundred people, they bylipoverzheny in amazement and said it was "an invention of the devil." One sailor zaifal the bagpipes, decorated with ribbons, and they decided that it sang in different voices living being. And when they were shown how to construct bagpipes, they were left with the conviction that "God built it with his own hands, so sweet it sounds, and so on different voices." Ship equipment was not available in their understanding, and they believed that painted on the bow eye - this is a real eye with which the ship is able to see where he goes in the water. These innocent people seemed miraculous even burning candle: so far they only know the fire the fire. Kadam showed them how to make candles from beeswax, which are by honey, throwing. When Kadam lit by candle made them natives admiration was boundless.

Kadam ship continued on his way, never losing sight of the shore. We met other tribes, hostile and cruel, do not recognize any authority. Describing these shores, Kadam said: "On each of our ships were negros - translators, imported from Portugal; they were once sold Senegalese leaders first the Portuguese, who has fallen in this country Negroes These slaves were converted to Christianity, knew Spanish. home, handing them to us, put a condition that as payment for the work of each of them, we give them one of the slaves who brought, and that if any of these translators will deliver to his master the four slaves, the landlord must let him go free ".

However, when one of these interpreters who went on land for the gathering of information, shall be cut in pieces with short swords natives Kadam came to the conclusion that he was too absorbed in this hostile country, ordered to raise anchor and quickly headed south to the River Gambia.

After rising by about four miles down the river, the ships ran into seventeen canoes, which were 150 soldiers, no more; they were very well-built, very black, all dressed in white shirts paper: some on whom were small white caps on both sides ... (caps) were white wings and in the middle of the pen. At the bow of each canoe was a black man with a round, probably the leather shield on the arm.

Naves immediately went on the offensive, sent ships to the clouds of arrows, but soon bombards fire scared them and made their confused ranks. Then, "the sailors began to shoot them with a crossbow, the crossbow first emptied his illegitimate son of a Genoese nobleman (Antonotto Ouzo-Dimaro, Kadam satellite for African enterprises) He struck the enemy in the chest, and he instantly fell dead in the canoe.".

Although it was first imposed a fear in the natives and forced them to retreat, but they soon resumed their attack. "Nevertheless, by the grace of God, no Christian has not been struck", despite the fact that the river is filled with dead and dying blacks. In the end, the interpreter failed to agree to a single canoe came to a distance of an arrow flight. And when the interpreter asked why the attack was made on the ships, was the reply, "because they received the news of our arrival ... because they are well aware that we, Christians, eat human flesh and buy aisles only to be devoured, and they We do not want our friendship on any terms and want to kill us all and sundry. " And as soon the captain wanted to move up the river, the team decided that she`d had enough, "the sailors cried out in one voice that they did not agree to this and that they have already made in this journey is enough." Commanders understand that is about to break out the rebellion, and have abandoned their plans for how Kadam says, sailors were "stupid and stubborn people." And ships "went way back, heading for Cape Verde and, in God`s name, to Spain."

The following year (1456) with its Genoese Venetian companion again prepared two ships, in order to go and explore the River Gambia on and move to the south along the coast. Prince Henry approved the company and even gave myself fully equipped caravel. This time Kadam more fortunate in his dealings with the natives who lived on the river Gambia, than in his first voyage. However, he found a little gold here, the sailors suffered severely from fever, and left the Gambia, the ships went to the Rio Grande. With the exception of the Cape Verde Islands Kadam did not open any new lands, but in this journey, he saw and described many extraordinary in its report. He was a man of sober mind, and his notes resemble diaries of explorers of the XIX century. He was bold and curious, he even tried any unfamiliar food, encountered him by strange birds to turtles, from a strange fish to grilled elephant meat. He described the long and unusual native oars with round blades, and clothing of the natives, and tattoos from the native women, and how to hunt elephants.

He spoke about the hippos and giant bats and many curiosities that he had seen. He even kept salted elephant foot and elephant meat to bring it home. These things are "I presented later in Spain, Mr. Don NeppsN (ITS), which adopted them as a wonderful gift - it was the first gift he had received from the country, thanks to its open energy." Finally, when the ship reached land, where the population has not understood the Negro interpreters and those, too, could not understand the natives, Kadam decided to stop, turned back, and made it to Portugal without any further adventures.

To his report Kadam put a short story about the journey that has made Africa his Portuguese friend; the person`s name is not mentioned, it is not known from other sources. This young man was swimming with Peru de Sintra along the coast to the Sierra Leone and returned home, he told his adventures Kadam. Venetian recorded observations of his friend - they concerned had seen people and their customs; referred to the way "signs marked on the hot iron face and body."

"These people`s ears all holes in them, they are a lot of small gold rings, rows, one by one, the lower part of the nose are pierced in the middle (nasal septum), and it is threaded a gold ring, in the same way as threaded ring our buffalo, and when they are hungry, they will push the ring to the side. "

The traveler said that about Sierra Leone people naked, that when the three of them came on board the caravel, the Portuguese captain snatched one and held. "He did it, in obedience to His Majesty the King." According to the order, the captains were to "take away by force or persuasion Negro" from any country whose population speaks a language unknown to translators. Unhappy visitor caravel was taken in Portugal and presented to the king, who took every effort to find someone who understands the language of the slave.

Finally, a black woman, a slave lissabontsev, also brought from a distant country, to understand it, but only when he spoke not in their native language, and the other known to him and to her. "What did this negro king after this woman, I do not know, I know only that he, among other things, existing in his country, called unicorns live." The King, holding him for several months, and many showing him in

his kingdom, gave him clothes and very kindly sent to the caravel home.

Thus, the story ends happily. Kadam left Portugal in 1463, three years after Prince Henry`s death. There is reason to believe that the future of his life has been safely.

The house where he was born still stands on the Grand Canal in Venice, near the Rialto Bridge. In the house there is a board with the inscription, which reads: "There was born Alvise da Mosto Cada He discovered the Cape Verde Islands Portuguese He showed the way to India..."