Book 1, Chapter 1

[1]                               On the origin and beginnings of the Giaga[1] people of the kingdom of Matamba and neighboring lands situated in Inner Ethiopia,[2] a part of Southern Africa, and on the laws,  rites and customs which they observe, from whom the  barbarous and inhuman Giacchesa[3] Queen Ginga and the inhuman  Giaga Cassanji Caquingurij[4] derive.

Chapter 1

There is nothing (dear readers) which makes men more unlike themselves than does the vice of cruelty, because it is repugnant to human nature, man being the most noble animal created in the image and likeness of the Creator, born for nothing but acting with love and mercy.[5] But this iniquitous vice makes him similar to the savage beasts of the woods, hated and fled by everyone, and an enemy of God, because he rejoices and is happy in the misfortunes of others.  Aristotle[6] calls cruelty a vice and beast like wildness.  Seneca calls it an atrocious vice,[7] contrary to mercy, and in treating of vices, says that the most enormous one is cruelty, because it is a vice inimical to the most important virtue, which is mercy, and he calls it the daughter of wrath because in doing harm to others one does harm to oneself, it being written that the bowels of the impious are cruel and a cruel person carries inside himself all the evil of the world.[8] The above-mentioned philosopher was so displeased at this enormous vice, that among the documents containing edification and counsel which he gave to one of his dear friends was one that [advised] him to desist from cruelty, the daughter of wrath, adducing that this vice is never found except in wicked people.[9] S. Augustine holds that cruelty is greater in man than in wild beasts, because [man] can reason, which the tigers of Ircania cannot do.[10]

Was Herod not so cruel that he put his own son to death?[11] Was Medea not so inhuman as to take the life of her brother and nephews?[12] [2]Irena was so barbarous that she gouged out the eyes of her own son[13] and Tullia was so wrathful, that she not only killed her father but rode in a chariot over his corpse, which was lying on the ground, and this barbarity so horrified the horses that they put pressure on the hard bit in order to go off the road, but she, like a daughter of wrath, made them drive over him by force and trample her own begettor with their hooves.[14]

The cruelty of Adonibezek was such that he cut off the ends of the hands and feet of Seventy Kings.[15]

This cruel vice had such strength in Fulvia, wife of Marc Antony, that she tore out Cicero’s tongue with her own hands, and gouged out his eyes from his head, and after that stabbed him and ran him through with a needle.  Following the example Herod set with the Great Baptist that shameless woman, wife of two brothers, had her incestuous husband’s head cut off for no other reason that to vent the rage she had conceived against him; making them both equally cruel to bring them together in the same cruelty.[16] Caligula, emulator of the Roman people, blinded four traitors at one time.[17] The same way the Babylonian, crowned king of Seleucia slaughtered his children and gouged out his white-haired father’s eyes.  Zaleucus of Locri , the legislator, gouged out the eyes of his own son.[18] The inhuman Antiochus made a lake of blood around the sacred temple of Jerusalem.[19]

That person so well versed in barbarity that he is called by antonomasia Nero the Cruel,[20] had come to such barbarity that he ordered not only that Rome be burned, taking considerable pleasure in its being devoured by flames, but he and his colleague also wanted the people of Rome to have only a single route to escape, and all to be consumed at one blow, and annihilated, and for his last barbarity pierced the womb of his dear mother with a pointed stake as thanks for her having carried him in her womb for nine months and with pain and labour given birth to him.  O unheard-of cruelty, and [3]in all laws bloody spreading of human blood was always considered inhuman and cruel.  O enormous vice which predominates so much in the human race in both sexes and all nations;  but above all it reigns in the Giaga people of this unhappy Ethiopia, inhuman and cruel, and has its principal seat there as if subject not to human but to the diabolical laws of their first founder called Zimbo[21], and their female reformer Tembo Andumba[22] minister of Avernus, who being a woman who pretended to be a man, soldier and warrior, and made herself their legislator without referring them to others, which lasted until the coming of Luio.[23] All the ancient legislators Hebrew, Barbarian, Greek, etc. had the reverence of their people to conciliate them, and referred to the name of their religion in the laws each of them gave their people, to some God, because they knew it was clear in all nations that no man without divine godhead could give good laws out of his own head and for this the Prince of magical art, Zoroaster, persuaded the Bactrians and Persians that their laws were not theirs, but revealed by God.[24] Ormaso Charonda, legislator of the Carthaginians, said the laws he gave were of Saturn, Lycurgus referred to Apollo,[25] others to the Revealed Goddess, and others to others, all to give themselves credit among the people; but these inhuman, cruel and godless Ethiopians without faith refer their satanic laws or quixillas[26] not to any God but to an inhuman and cruel man and to a barbarous and inhuman woman, who reformed them, and made herself a legislator, without referring them to say to any God, nor even her Father and teacher usurping the name from both of them her children have preserved in the maintenece and observation of these laws without transgressing them at any point.  Political justice, which is to give to each person that which touches and agrees with justice, is the first of six parts into which it is divided according to Macrobius, and religion and virtue which has the function of honoring the better nature with rites and ceremonies and this is called Divine. The children of the Holy Church attribute to the True God, Creator of the Universe, and the heathens attribute to their lying, false gods the laws which the Devil invented [4] by means of people that he gave spirit and body, undoubtedly this must have been the legislator and reformer of the iniquitous laws of the Giaghas, enemies of human propagation, and destroyers of human individuals. From these the cruel and inhuman Queen Ginga derived her laws, rites and customs, and present Giaga Cassange Caquingurij who up until this day observes them punctuallly, without transgressing them.  Unheard of cruelty, the daughter of wrath, enemy of human propagation and of mercy, a pious virtue given to us by the true legislator, Christ our only good, a benefit not given to so many thousands of souls scattered across this Black Ethiopia without the flame of faith and knowledge of the True God, tricked by the Devil and his ministers, living in continual blindness and rapidly passing into the Infernal Abyss from which Divine Clemency has freed us.

Africa of every pure good


Full of every brutality

If in ancient times this miserable  Ethiopia, part of southern Africa was called the uninhabitable Torrid [Zone], some believed that this was because of the excessive heat, and others estimated it to be intolerable and inferred this from the black color of the human being, it is not to be marveled at, because it is not made uninhabitable by the head of the Sun, though this is excessive and no person can remain long in its light without great harm, and similarly the moon is harmful, the one or the others cassing ill effects on human bodies which make themselves felt when one moves[27]; nor is it because the whites who come from Europe become black, nor are their children born in this Ethiopia black like the natives, because as they remain, nor is it rendered uninhabitable by the change in climate and inversion of seasons, though these are great,[28] but indeed it may  clearly be called uninhabitable because of the horrible monsters which one can find here, all sorts of terresterial animals, and because of the[5] birds, as poisonous as ferocious, but particularly because of the horrible, monstrous, inhuman people called Giaga, more cruel than the savage beasts of the woods and poisonous snakes.  A people who are always ready to tell lies, for lying among these people is considered greatness.  A people who are always ready for robbery, for one among them who does not fleece others or take their skin is not honored.  The womb is always ready to give birth to human beings because Mother Earth will not be so corrupted and distorted as to make these inferior beings give birth to animals.  Their feet are always quick to follow their own desires, even if these are iniquitous, and their hearts are constantly plotting to do whatever wickedness preoccupies them and this makes them worse.  All their quarrels and enmities are like those of the three pirates, Miletus, Dionisus of Syracuse and Marius Romanus who diverted themselves by doing the worst that they could in their own kingdom.[29]

The Kingdom of Matamba which was subjected in olden days to the Kingdom of Congo, is located in Inner Ethiopia, a part of southern Africa.  On the west, it begins at the Bagamidir River[30] and extends to the east as far as the Kingdom of Butua,[31] so that between the Kingdom of Congo, that of Dongo or Angola and Butua was the Kingdom of Matamba.  This was, in times past, subject to the Manicongo,[32] and paid them tribute like a vassal,[33] but in the course of time the Manicongo had enemies who not only wanted to raise themselves to power, but even to independence, and this was the cause of many wars.  Many ceased the obedience of vassals, and one of these was the Lord of Matamba, who had himself proclaimed King of the Kingdom, and remained for many years ruling in peace, conquering and dominating various provinces and enlarging his Kingdom.  This king was of the Heathen faith, adoring idols, as were his vassals.  They were as warlike and superstitious as any other nations you wish in this black Ethiopia.  There was an abundance of all sorts of metals, even if at present they are hidden by the inhabitants so as not to lose with them their dominion over their kingdom.  The air is temperate and not debilitating as is common in Ethiopia.  Crystal clear water abounds, it[6] being watered by various streams which run over it like the Coango, Vamba, Lunino, Cambo, Cuiulu, Cuigij, Luanghe, Luxicu, Zarico[34] and many others which I will pass over so as not to trouble the reader with matters of little importance and less usefulness.  Then, during the reign of Queen Muongo Matamba, who ruled after the death of her husband Cambolo Matamba,[35] it was conquered through forces of arms by Queen Ginga when she was leading the life of a Giagha,[36] with that barbarity that they had taught in the observation of the inhuman laws of the Jagas.  She captured this same Queen [Muongo Matamba] along with one of her daughters and some of her vassals were barbarously slaughtered.  The Queen was marked with a horrible brand name in the form of a grid, seen by them as a sign of slavery.  Thus she who once had commanded was reduced to obedience, overcome with a singular melancholy.  She passed from this mortal life full of travail, and went heartbroken into an immortal life of continual mourning and discontent without a hope of consolation and comfort.[37] This is the punishment prepared not only for these Ethiopian descendents of Ham, but even more rigorously for the descendents of the just Sect of bad Christians born and raised on the Milk of the Holy Catholic Faith and the Granary of the Holy Mother Church, feeling and seeing these cruel harpies working against the human form and shape of the Creator.  Of those that escaped the herds of lions, some retained their liberty along the banks of the Bagamidir River and on the other side of the Coango, or maintained themselves further away, subject to various lords.  They remained, therefore, as sentries with their eyes open and with the rope coiled, or like lepers sleeping with their eyes open.  It is certain that no less vigilance was necessary for those who live nearby to such terrible people as the Jagas, and even more so for those who have them right in their own kingdom or houses.

Dear readers:  Our Loving Lord wanted to punish the inhabitants of this black Inner Ehiopia for the enormous sins that they had committed against the Creator and the work of His Most Exhalted Hand.  Among these were the Moxicongos, [7] a people whose Christian faith had cooled and indeed many had returned to the flesh pots of Egypt, called by the servitude of Pharoah back to him.[38] The children of Ethiopia who deserved castigation were the Troglodyte people, the Rozographs, Isographs and the barbarous and inhuman Cinici.[39] The Cafre nation brought upon themselves the punishment through their own inhuamnity.[40] The Mumba nation, whose leader was called Quizurra were so barbarous and inhuman that to show their cruelty and barbarity, Quizurra ordered them to pave not only their houses but even the Square of the Feast with the dead, whom they had slaughtered in war as well as in peace.  The Mumba buried their flesh in their bellies and with such stones embellished the walls of Quizzura’s palace, using the dead as stones.[41] This called out for a punishment worthy of wickedness, even if it was the terrible sort of punishment of one who delights in the torment of the guilty.  In spite of all this, Our Loving Lord did not want to hurl down the unsheathed sword of His Divine Justice, nor order the Angel to do as is done on other occasions.  Neither did he mark the doors of the rebels, nor kill off their first born.[42] Rather, like a Loving Father, Doctor or Shepherd, he wanted to send a punishment that such people would recognize in time to repent of their faults and show that they had mended their ways, it being the Nature of this Lord not to punish without mercy or pity.  Dear friend reader, this God loves strategems, to find the time and opportunity to punish the sinners while they are still living and ruling, whilst mending their ways.  He ordered four punishments to be sent, one after the other to see if it would profit these sinners.  Therefore, the first of these was to send up a monster from the borders of the Kingdom of Melli (located in this Western Ethiopia at 8 1/2 degrees), a place right in the north of Sierra Leone.[43] This monster was as barbarous and cruel man named Zimbo[44] who was as frightening as terrible.  He was  haughty and proud, ambitious for human glory and anxious to immortalize his name, so that posterity would admire and exemplify him.  In order to attain his wicked aim, he took counsel [8] with his vassals, the Muzimbos,[45] and they decided to leave their own homeland and go forth bearing arms to kill, loot and to spare no living thing, even an irrational animal.  Those who did not obey him from love or fear of arms, obeyed his orders to save themselves, the most precious single thing in all the world.  So obeying their determined barbarity, which did not delay words and actions as the cohort of Suetonius advised, they took up arms and descended from that mountain, the shelter of men and beasts, to the plain below.  They left some of their company behind, only taking with them an example of their barbarity and cruelty for others to imitate and follow through their own bad nature and inclination.  They began (and with them Tembo Andumba who was named above) to vent their infernal fury first on nearby lands and then on those further away, scourging the neighboring kingdoms and provinces and cruelly slaughtering the inhabitants.  When they reached the Kingdom of Congo they destroyed it.[46] Robbing, killing, eating men, women, children, dogs, cats, rats, and snakes without sparing any living thing, they forced the inhabitants to flee for their lives.  As they pillaged some of their nations named above, others joined them to save themselves and became like robbers among robbers.  All joined together to form a great army and attracted fresh forces to their barbarous customs.  They then travelled, always going upstream, to Eastern Ethiopia by following the course of the Zambezi and Nile until they reached the home of the Mumba.[47] The Mumba, being naturally barbarous, voluntarily left their pastoral home and joined with the others to form an army which reached 15 thousand men.  Now, my friendly readers (whoever you are) I will leave you to form the jury and to pass whatever sentence you think fit on such people without a God or a faith.  They could not refrain from cruelty and barbarity, and it should suffice to say that it was beyond them to give quarter.  The mention of their name was sufficient to make all abhor them and to flee the moment they were seen.  Any breath of wind, any movement of a blade of grass, any footstep was a fatal heart attack for these poor people.  Pallid appearance, trembling voices and a cold sweat [9] were the signs indicating the state of these wretched people.  This formidable group followed the banks of the Nile and Zambezi until they reached the Empire of Monemugi,[48] putting everything to fire and sword, which they did not stop doing until they reached the Eastern Ocean within sight of Tete, a Portuguese fortress.[49] The Mumba nation at that time was under the command of the cruel Quizzura, named above, who had gone to fight the Portuguese and was miserably put to death, along with many of his people, by them.  But there was no lack of others who could follow someone such as Quizzura in his government, with respect to both cruelty and barbarity.  These followed with their general Zimbo into the bloody and destructive rout caused by this war, killing and destroying beings of their own kind, and no less than Zimbo made war against the Portuguese.  Obtaining revenge for his dead compatriots, he then attacked Zuffa[50] and there won a victory after the death of their [the opposing] general.  They killed the general who had had the head of the barbarian [Quizurra] cut off an put it as a trophy on the top of a lance as a sign of the victory they had won.  As an even greater sign of cruelty they quartered the Portuguese and each one took his quarter.  They did the same to the chaplain, a Dominican Friar.[51] Zimbo took the Chalice of the priest in his left hand and an assagai,[52] a common weapon of the Jaga people as the Mozimbos were called, in his right and raised them up.  Finally they arrived in sight of the Island of Quiola,[53] inhabited by Moors, and thanks to a traitor they entered the island and killed over three thousand people, making slaves of the rest.  Loaded down with spoils, they returned to the mainland and divided their loot with much feasting and happiness and their customary sacrificial ceremonies invoking Beelzeebub in Hell, in their favor.  After this they had the traitor’s head cut off to show that while it is good to have treason, it is not good to have traitors.  Proud and victorious, they continued their route as far as the Island of Mombace,[54] where they did not find such an easy way of entering as they had at Quiola.  They did not find a traitor for that treasonable purpose, but instead found defenders ready to protect the city to their last breath.  However, after several days of battle, it already being decreed that these should receive the punishment of Blessed God, He allowed the Portuguese fleet to appear the next day and rout the enemy galleys that had blocked [10] the passage of the barbarian Zimbo.  With the impediments lifted, he entered the island and destroyed it, giving quarter to no one in order to take revenge for the opposition of the defenders.  Prouder than ever after this victory, they moved on to take the Island of Melinde.  The king was decidely fearful, but considering the barbarity and cruelty used against the above named places, which they would do no less to him, he girded himself for battle and stirred up his vassals to fight.  He decided it was better to die fighting than remain a prisoner of war especially when fighting people who only give quarter in their own stomachs.  To this end, he gained the favor of the Mosegunij,[55] and with them he gave battle with such spirit and force, that where the others had perished, he won a notable victory which would immortalize his name, avenging himself against the barbarism Zimbo.  As he was deprived of his forces, and as remaining any longer would be to risk his own and the others’ ruin, those that could not return to his paternal home, it being more than 400 leagues away, he gathered spirit and strength once more.  Having come there with barbarism and cruelty, he returned peacefully without doing harm to anyone.  Therefore he took the road through Cafraria an moving through Inner Ethiopia until he saw the Ethiopian Ocean, he followed the river called Cunene[56] and founded his kingdom on its banks.[57] After this he divided up his officials, giving to each one his own company with orders to gather up people to make their customary wars, and in this way to recover their lost glory.[58] One of these officials named Dongij[59] went to Great Ganguela,[60] a province of the Kingdom of Matamba with one of his concubines named Mussasa, by whom he had a daughter by the name of Tembo Andumba.[61] The province came to be called the province of Dongij from the father’s name, and even up to today preserves the name of Dongij.[62] Meanwhile, each of the others proceeded to gather up forces and make war, and with the death of their father and general each one remained in command of his own squadron  without depending on any of the others and without electing a new General to govern them.  This was the first punishment which Blessed God gave to this miserable Ethiopia so that even up to the present day it is felt.  In both the eastern [11] and western parts there are various armies derived from it who go about destroying the country.[63]

However as they [Ethiopians] did not acknowledge their sins after the first punishment, God, like a loving Father wanted to send the second, to increase the punishment to which they were condemned.  With the increase they acknowledged the time and opportunity that he gave them, so that won over with love and His Excellence they could take their feet from the path of error and put themselves on the right road to their salvation.  Therefore, for the benefit of these Ethiopian descendents of Ham he sent them a multitude of locusts called casagnotti which destroyed not only the vegetation of the fields, but even palms and other fruit trees, leaving everything as if burned by fire.  This same punishment was sent at other times besides this one, over this horrid land, as in the years 1642, 1643, 1654, 1662 and 1664, and traces of it can be seen up to the present.[64] This punishment was the cause of a great famine which followed it as the third punishment.  It became so terrible a curse that to keep themselves alive fathers did not hesitate to sell their sons, or mothers their daughters.  The mortality was so great that to find sustenance, sons saw their fathers die and daughters their mothers.  Each one heard the others without seeing any remedy and realized that all was great misery.  Reader Friends!  With three [punishments] having already passed, one would think the tragedy would be complete.  As they continued erring, it was necessary to find a corresponding punishment to force them to make amends, and this punishment was pestilence, or vesighe, by another name.  Many died of this and many times similar sickness has been given to both black and whites, which caused a cruel slaughter even after I lived in those remote parts of Ethiopia.  How, you may ask if any repented, and I must say, with Saint Augustine, that the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, not the leopard his spots.[65] For this, our Loving Lord, as a Loving and Merciful Father, who gave them life and redeemed them with His Most Precious Blood had great zeal and care for them, and so did not fail to visit them with love, and at other times with rigor by means of the [12] Giaga people whose history now begins.

After a while our Captain Ndonji paid the traveller’s tribute to death, and went to receive the punishment he deserved for his barbarities.  His wife remained disconsolate after the death of her husband, and continued the wars he had started with the same force and will as her late consort, and indeed not only matched, but exceeded him and when she went out in the field she carried her daughter Tembo Andumba with her, so as to train her in the weapons and barbarities of the life of a Jaga, something which in short, she did, and she became an excellent master.  When her mother saw the ability and inclinations of her daughter, she was promoted to the captancy of a company of Ethiopians and with them she began wars and acquired name an fame among all, and came to be promoted to the office of general of the whole army, and through her great valor, and the victories she won she became another Amazon Queen:  during this time blood gleamed on the flower of her years adding to her fresh youth.  She took concubine after concubine as her unleashed appetite for lechery dictated, and she came to have a child by one of them.[66] Giving birth to him with the usual maternal labors and vigilance, she did not fail to immortalize his name and valor, with weapons placed in his hands by Mars who was in the ascendent, she spent three years bringing him up, thinking that Mars must have taken him in his own house, haughtily and proudly defying everyone, she came to such a point that she did not stop at being defiant, but went on to commit a great act of savagry.  This was to put her concubine to death, because one abuse calls forth another, also committed the second.  She denied her duty as a mother, with these who commanded an uprising against her on the occasion when they had been sent against her enemies,[67] and had secured victory; this woman therefore remained in the field, highly admired by her soldiers, feared by her neighbors and by those far away.  To increase their fear, she decided to make use of a cruelty no longer seen, a barbarity no longer heard of, that to put her only son to death in order to certify to her adversaries that she who will not pardon her own offspring,[68] will be still less likely to pardon her enemies as if this [13] action could cause her to cease being of a woman and become a man, as it is well known that one may change actions, but not the individual she wanted at least to appear in all this as a man, and in this way not only renew her father’s and his ancestors’ barbarities and cruelties, but through her seal in her observations of them, she wanted the example of her life to become the norm and guide for her vassals.[69] She was already a master of cruelty, because in the wars she commanded her soldiers, inspiring some to do battle, rewarding others for their future victories, and showing herself a true tyrant, she rewarded the evil and vicious ones, and more savage than a dropsical Tiger and thirsty deer, she was not content with the blood that was shed in battle, but afterwards also rejoiced to see the ground bathed in human blood, and enjoyed the sight of human blood as did the cruel Jezabel, or as did Hannibal who when he saw a ditch full of it, raised his voice saying, ” what a wonderful spectacle, what a curious sight”;[70] she showed herself more thirsty for human blood than a wounded stag is for water, scorning all feminine acts, even to give birth which is common to all woman, becoming nauseated at the sight of small newborn babies, as if these were a disgrace and an infamy to their parents; against those innocent lambs she turned like a starving wolf full of wrath, and anger, desiring to satisfy herself on them and to quench her canine thirst, and there is no doubt that she would have executed her evil intention were she not afraid of a rebellion by her subordinates, but such are entrails of the impious that when they are not able to harm others they harm themselves.  Siezed with this fear she turned her anger and indignation against her own offspring: this is the principal vice of all evil people, a dangerous weakness observed by the understanding separately from the power of reason, oblivious of itself, the origin of wars, cause of dissensions, but this woman being reduced to that sort of slavery, gave complete execution to her evil plan, knowing that she would not have any opposition other than that of her own person; forgetting love and the womb of motherhood she put it into effect.  But listen, O woman, to my words, tell me , o cruel one, harder than marble, more wrathful than harpies and the savage beasts. What are those thoughts [14] that encumber your mind?  Do you not know you are a woman and a mother?  Do you not have blood and love?  If you have it, if your son not the offspring of your womb, blood of your blood, flesh of your flesh?  If you are enraged, vent your anger and wrath against others and not your own offspring:  O one cannot find anger above that of the anger of woman.  This cruel harpy had a sole and only son who had reached three years of age already more or less, whom she had carried for nine months in her womb and gave birth with pains, and brought him up with labor; had she forgotten that she ought to have love for the offspring of her womb and amuse herself with him as mothers often do with their children at that tender age, not only not permitting them to be mistreated, protecting them strictly?  But this cruel one was as if she had drank the juice of the coriander, which has as its property, that he who drinks if forgets his obligations, oblivion being the mother of ingratitude, because when someone forgets his obligations, he immediately renders himself an ingrate to those he owes something to, and ought this woman not to love her offspring like a mother, and amuse and enjoy herself with him?  This half drunken women, fruit of an infectious tree, determined no longer to procrastinate or delay in fulfilling to her evil intentions to increase the fame and valor of her name.  But hold back your step, a monster of Avernus, halt your spirited will, for I am speaking with you; Is it not a natural thing of all living creatures to generate similar creatures in order to perpetuate themselves, at least in species?  And for men and women, by nature more celestial and divine than human and terrestrial, it is not enough for them to give birth to children, but they must also bring them up and instruct them in customs, rites and ceremonies, and would you be inferior to those of your condition and surpass even the beasts?  Is he not your son? why have you given birth to him? to perpetuate your species like a rational being, or still worse than a savage beast and Irenaean tigers to slaughter him?  Tell me how many mothers have received the wounds which their children would otherwise have received and only you want to be the murderer of your own offspring?  O monster of Avernus, go first to the bush and to the forests full of wild animals; try to take one of their young from them, and you will experience their fierceness to your disadvantage, there is no irrational animal which will not defend its young [15] by force, and do you alone wish to be a unique example? among all women and animals? do you not know that murder is the greatest injury that you can do? do you not know that anger makes us uncertain, when we grow angry we are under the central of vices and not of virtue?  O Black Ethiopia did you ever hear of wild animals in desert Lybia or Arabia committing such barbarities?  You certainly have not heard or seen it, and yet they are Ethiopians and Arabians, of Lybia and Arabia; therefore restrain your anger, and reduce this indignation since you are a woman and a mother as well, but who can hold back the fury of an angry woman?  This one did not surrender to any pity or compassion, and made her son, appear before her, the heir of her faculties, and her estate and with a barbaric hand she treated him as will be shown in the following passage.

[1].  Cavazzi writes Giaga in his Italian orthography (Jaga in present English orthography)  The “original” Jagas were a group of rootless, cannibal invaders who attacked Kongo about 1570, and whose actions and origins are a matter of lengthy debate:  Joseph C. Miller, “Requiem for the ‘Jaga’  Cahiers d’études Africaines 13 (1973) 121-49;  John Thornton,  ” A Resurrection for the Jaga” and Joseph C. Miller, “Thanatopsis” in Cahiers d’études africaines 18 (1979):  223-31; Anne Hilton, “The Jaga Reconsidered”, Journal of African History 22 (1981): 191-202; François Bontinck,  “Un mausolée pour les Jaga,” Cahiers d’études africaines 20 (1980) 387-9.  Cavazzi’s use of the word conforms more to seventeenth century Angolan usage, which assumed that these Jagas and the many Imbangala bands which entered Angola in the early seventeenth century had the same origin, a point which modern scholarship has denied (Miller, “Requiem”).  Most particularly, Cavazzi refers here to the Imbangala of Kasanje, whom he visited in 1660, and from whom he probably collected these traditions.

[2].  Inner Ethiopia: Seventeenth century European geography of Africa generally used the term “Ethiopia” for all of Africa south of the Sahara, although the use of Africa as a continental designation was beginning to emerge, as can be seen in Cavazzi’s own usage here.

[3].  “Giachessa” a feminine form of “Giaga”.

[4].  In the orthography of most modern historians this name is written as the Jaga Kasanje ka Kinguri.

[5].  In the original text this sentence division does not exist, but for ease of reading, I have introduced many sentence divisions without marking them.  Cavazzi’s use of punctuation in the original was so erratic that it is not appropriate to reproduce it in this translation.

[6].  In margin:  Arist.  We have Anglicized the orthography of well known Classical and Biblical allusions.  Here the original has an abbreviated form “Arist.” but elsewhere we have written out Italian forms, such as Cicerone, Suetonio and the like.

[7].  Marginal note:  Seneca 2 Lib de Clem. c. 33

[8].  Marginal note: Prov. 12  A paraphrase of Proverbs 12.7; 12.13-14; 12.20-21.

[9].  Marginal note:  Seneca Lib de cor… [illegible] . Seneca’s discussion of anger and wrath form the bulk of his book, De Ira, though here the reference is to his book De Clemencia.

[10].  Marginal note:  S. Aug.

[11].  Marginal note:  Herode/sua de varia.  In the Biblical story of king Herod’s killing of the Jewish children under two, Matthew 2.16-19 he does not kill his own sons, although in this context, perhaps the killing of Jewish male children might be considered killing “sons”.

[12].  Medea was the subject of Euripedes’ play of the same name, who killed her own children in order to make Jason, her husband childless; or in a similar play by Seneca the Philosopher, killed them in order to obtain revenge against Jason.

[13].  Marginal note:  Selva di varie lett. c. 33.  The reference is to Lorenzo Selva [pseudomyn of Evangelista Marcellino] Della Metamofosi, cioe Transformazione del Virtuoso, Libri Quattro (Orvieto, 1582 and many other editions, I have consulted that of Florence, 1583)

[14].  This is a highly embellished version of the tale found in Livy, Roman History 1:48.  In the original she was the daughter of king Servius Tullius and wife of Tarquinius Superbus who, having stirred her husband to kill her father, then drove a chariot over her father’s dead body.

[15].  Marginal Note:  Judic. c. i B.  See Judges 1:6-7.

[16].  The kernel of this story, also embellished here, is in Dio Cassius XLVII. 8.4.

[17].  Marginal note:  Suetonio.  Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor (ruled AD 37-41).  Thanks to the hostile writing of Suetonius, cited here by Cavazzi, who wrote of “Caligula the monster”, atrocity stories about his reign abound.

[18].  Zeleuco de Locrensi in the MS, legislator of the community of Locri Epizephyrii, a Greek colony in southern Italy, circa 660 BC.

[19].  Antiochus IV Epiphanes (reigned 175-164 BC), Seleucid king of Hellenistic Syria.  In 164 BC he outlawed the worship of Yahweh at Jerusalem leading to the revolt of Judas Maccabeus which was bloodily suppressed.

[20].  Marginal note:  Sel. v. lett. c. 33.  Selva, Della Metamorfosi

[21].  In his illustration to Araldi MSS, no. 18, Cavazzi labels the picture “Ngimbo, the first Jaga and Temba Andumba”.  This suggests that Cavazzi had heard the name from Angolan informants and its Kimbundu orthography would be Njimbo.  Miller proposed a connection between Zimbo or Njimbo and states in the southern Songo region along the Kwanza known in the seventeenth century as Muzimbo a Kalunga (cited since 1639, see Cadornega, História 3: 176-7, 218), which bordered Kasanje on the south, see Kings and Kinsmen, pp. 155-61, though his argument that it ultimately derived from a migrating Lunda ruler who accompanied the kinguri title to Angola may not be correct.

[22].  There are two apparently distinct people bearing the name Tembo Andumba in Cavazzi’s narrative.  This first one, mentioned briefly here and later, seems to have been Njimbo’s wife, as indicated in illustration 18, and in the marginal note on page 10 above where he writes “Gimbo with his wife Tembo Andumba”.

[23].  “quali durarano sino al venturo di Luio,” an unclear reference.

[24].  Zoroaster, Iranian prophet and religious leader, c. 628-551 BC).  His writings are traditionally said to be derived from visions he received from Ahura Mazda, the Godhead of Zoroastrianism, and include political and social strictures.

[25].  The legendary legislator of Sparta, about which even Classical authorities knew very little, assumed to have lived, on archaeological evidence c. 600 BC.  Plutarch wrote the most detailed acount of his life and legislation, though he is also mentioned in Herodotus and Xenophon.

[26].  For a full explanation of this term, see note 75 above.

[27].  A tear in the manuscript disturbs the reading here…”causa ne corpi humani malissimi effer…conforme al moto di caiscuno si fanno sentire.”

[28].  Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, an early fifth century lawyer and theologian.

[29].  In margin:  Selva, Volume I. A reference to an unknown source from which Cavazzi derived many of his Classical references, probably a late medieval or early modern popularizer of Classical knowledge.

[30].  Bagamidir River, normally given in seventeenth century European cartography as the eastern extreme of the Kongo- Angola region, and in accordance with cartographic representations of the day ( since Pigafetta’s well known map of 1591:  see the discussion in Avelino Teixeira da Mota and Armando Cortesão (eds), Portvgalliae Monvmenta Cartographica (6 Volumes, Lisbon, 1960) 3:  106-07 and platex 386) the seperation between that region and Ethiopia.  Pigafetta and those who followed him, including the Sanson d’Abeville map  of 1656 which was used to illustrate Istorica Descrizione showed the interior geography of Africa such that known areas of Ethiopia, Mozambique and Angola came together (of Plan of Feliciano Dourido, 5 may 1671, in MMA 13:131-2) a convention which spawned a mumber of schemes for crossing Africa of creating a Kongo-Ethiopian Christian alliance.  Of course many thousands of miles separated these regions in reality and these schemes came to nothing.  The Bagamidir River was in fact in western Ethiopia and appears on European maps since the fifteenth century, O. G. S. Crawford, Ethiopian Itineraries, 1400-1524 ( Hakluyt Soceity, London, 1958).  Pigafetta seems to have identified this river both with the Ethiopian one and with the Nkisi river in eastern Kongo, usage which conforms to that in Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione Book 1, no.

[31].  Butua is the Mozambiquan equivalent of the Bagamidir River, that is, it forms the boundry between the eastern extremes of the known regions of Angola and the western extremes of Mozambique, and as such appears in Pigafetta and subsequent maps.  Butua was a Shona word used to designate any distant and little known region, and since the 1550’s the term was used in Mozambique to designate one of the southern Karanga group of states in modern Zimbabwe.  David Beach, The Shona and Zimbabwe (Gwelo and London, 1980), pp. 197-98.  In Istorica Descrizione Book 1 no. 16 Cavazzi specifically states that his knowledge of Butua derives from reading Pigafetta, and we can add, not from any personal observation.

[32].  Manicongo= Mwene Kongo in Kikongo, the title of the king of Kongo.

[33].  In a letter to the Portuguese king João III of 28 January 1530 Afonso I, king of Kongo (1508?-1543) noted receiving tribute from Matamba, António Brásio (ed.) Monumenta Missionaria Africana (1st series, 15 Volumes, Lisbon 1952-1988), 1: 540.

[34].  This series of rivers includes the Kwango and a series of its afluents in the Baixa de Cassange region of modern Angola.  Cavazzi, of course, had intimate knowledge of the geography of this region from his life there 1660-65.

[35].  Cavazzi takes up the life of Queen Muongo Matamba again in Book 2, p. 42 below, where he has her as daughter rather than wife of Cambola Matamba (or as is written on p. 42, Matamba Cambolo).  The same confusion is found in Istorica Descrizione Book 1, no. 17 where she is wife, and Book 5, no. 112 where she is daughter of Cambolo Matamba.

[36].  Queen Njinga, whose life is related in detail in Book 2.

[37].  In Book 2, p. 43 below she is said to have killed herself.

[38].  Moxiconghi, Italian form of Moxicongos= usual seventeenth century Portuguese orthography for the modern mwisikongo (Kikongo plural esikongo), pluralized according to Portuguese rules, meaning an inhabitant of the Kingdom of Kongo.  Cavazzi had probably not yet visited Kongo when he wrote this draft, as suggested in the introduction, and thus carried a somewhat negative image of Kongo’s Christianity, which was to change upon his visit to Soyo (as related in Istorica Descrizione Book 7, no. 123-4).  He probably derived these ideas from Portuguese propaganda current in Angola at the time of his arrival, where the idea that Kongo had cooled in its Christian faith was developed to justify the increasingly hostile action of Angola towards its nothern neighbor that would culminate in the battle of Mbwila (29 October 1665), see, for example, Declaration of War against Congo, 11 March 1659 in Brásio Monumenta,  12: 224 and Consulta of Overseas Council on report of the Dean of the Luanda Cathedral, 12 August 1665, in ibid, 12: 559.  The “flesh pots of Egypt”: refers to the wavering of faith of the Israelites during the Exodus, Exodus 16:3.

[39].  Derived from Ptolomey’s description of Africa, originally of the mid-second century (see facsimile of Bologna edition of Cosmographia 1477 printed with introduction by R.A. Skelton, Amsterdam, 1963).

[40].  Cafre= deformation of Arabic kafir, a term borrowed by Portuguese resident in Mozambique to describe local people there.  The term was not generally used in Angola, where gentio was favored.  Cavazzi has clearly been influenced here by the usage of his principal source for the section which follows, João dos Santos (a Dominican missionary to Mozambique in the late sixteenth century), Etiopia Oriental (Évora, 1609) as stated below, p. 44.  A modern edition of the text, with English translation is printed in G.M. Theal, Records of South-Eastern Africa (9 volumes, Cape Town, 1898-1903) 7: 1-182 (Portuguese text) 183-370 (English translation).

[41].  dos Santos in Theal, 7: 291-2 for the original story which is paraphrased by Cavazzi here.

[42].  Reference to punishments given the Egyptians at the Exodus in Exodus 12: 21-9.

[43].  Melli= the empire of Mali, a powerful west African state of the sixteenth century.  Cavazzi is commencing a “Jaga theory” by which a whole series of invasions which took place in various parts of Africa (and came to the attention of European commentators): such as the Sumba invasion of Sierra Leone (mid-sixteenth century), the Galla invasion of southern Ethiopia (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), the Zimba invasion of Mozambique (late sixteenth century), the Jaga invasion of Kongo (1570) and the Imbangala movements in Angola (late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries) had one center somewhere in interior Africa out of reach of detailed European knowledge.  On such attempts, see the review of literature in Miller, “Requiem”, pp.  121-28.  Cavazzi may not have been familiar with all this literature, but when he rewrote this section for Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, nos. 1-3 he abandoned the complicated version presented here in favor of one drawn from Pigafetta, with some elaborations of his own.

[44].  The connection between this Njimbo and the Zimbas of dos Santos in Theal, 7: 291-303  must have been based on similarities of names, rather than any real connections.  But the fact that Cavazzi had heard the name as “Ngimbo” in illustation no. 18, suggests that the name Njimbo came from Angolan informants, who spoke of a founder named Njimbo, whom Cavazzi then went on to confound with the Zimba of dos Santos.

[45].  Muzimbi, an Italian plural of a singular Muzimbo.  The “Mu” portion is a class prefix for people, and a proper plural would be Azimbo or Bazimbo or some other such transformation.  In this usage, Cavazzi follows the general rules applied to ethnonyms of Bantu origin by speakers of European languages.

[46].  A reference to the invasion of Kongo in 1570 mentioned by Pigafetta, Relazione, pp. 59-60.

[47].  Many seventeenth century maps, such as Pigafettas, show a large central African lake from which a series of rivers, including the Niger, Senegal, Zaire and Zambezi flow.  This concept of hydrography renders Cavazzi’s version of the route followed by Zimbo from Sierra Leone to the Zambezi comprehensible.

[48].  Monemugi, a kingdom of unknown location, but probably in the region around eastern Kongo.  Pigafetta gives it as the origin point for the Jagas, Relazione, p. 59 and in Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, nos. 1-3, Cavazzi follows Pigafetta’s version more closely than he does here.  A modern orthography of the word might be Mwene Muji, or “Lord of Muji”.

[49].  Tete, the modern town of the same name in Mozambique, dos Santos in Theal, 7: 291.

[50].  Zuffa= Sena, as the name is given in the original source, dos Santos in Theal, 7: 294.

[51].  Dos Santos (in Theal, 7: 295) gives the name of this chaplain as Nicolau do Rosario and dates the events to 1595.

[52].   In MS “zagaia” an Italianization of the Portuguese azagaia, a term for a short lance originally derived from Berber azzagaya, the typical lance of North Africans, applied in general to such lances elsewhere.  The assagai in modern English usage is usually a long bladed East African lance favored by groups such as the Maasai, was perhaps intended by dos Santos, Cavazzi’s source, but the lances that Cavazzi actually saw as the “typical weapon of the Jagas” were surely like those shown in the MS, illustration 1.

[53].  Quiola= Kilwa, a town on the southern Tanzanian coast, dos Santos in Theal, 7: 300.

[54].   Mombace= Mombasa, a town on the cosat of Kenya, dos Santos in Theal, 7: 302-03.

[55].   Moseguuij= Segeju people behind the island of Malindi (Cavazzi writes Melinde) on the Kenya coast, dos Santos in Theal, 7: 303

[56].   The Kunene river in southern and central Angola.  The journey from the Kenya coast to central Angola was of course far longer than Cavazzi imagined, as was the distance from Sierra Leone to Kenya which Cavazzi gives as 400 leagues.  The conceptions of African geography given in note 18 would make such a journey seem feasible, and indeed plans for making it were occasionally drawn up by Europeans in Angola.

[57].   Given the location of this kingdom in central Angola, we can surmise that Cavazzi’s speculations based on European conceptions of African geography and his borrowings from Pigafetta and dos Santos have been replaced by information collected by Angolan informants.  A connection between Njimbo and a state on the upper Kunene is consonant with Portuguese knowledge, since the 1620’s, of a state on the Kunene named Muzumbo a Kalunga, see António de Oliveira de Cadornega, História geral das guerras angolanas (1680-81), mod. ed. by Alves da Cunha and José Mattias Delgado (3 volumes, Lisbon, 1940-42, reprinted 1972), 3: 176-7.   On this connection in Istorica Descrizione, see Joseph C. Miller, Kings and Kinsmen:  Early Mbundu States in Angola (London, 1976), p.      .

[58].  In the passage that follows, Cavazzi assumes a common origin of all the Imbangala bands found in Angola, perhaps on the strength of statements made to him by informants, probably in Kasanje.  Samuel Purchas, relating information received orally from Andrew Battel and published in Purchas his Pilgramage, chap. III, no. 3 in 1613, sought to find the origin of the Kongo Jagas mentioned by Pigafetta from a man who had stayed among the Angolan “Jagas”.  Battel’s own account, edited and published by Purchas in Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas His Pilgrimes (London, 1625, reprinted in full in Ravenstein (ed.), Strange Adventures), is probably corrupted as well by Purchas’ speculations (see Ravenstein’s introduction, p. xii.)  In the 1613 oral version (excerpted in Ravenstein (ed.) Strange Adventures, p. 85) the group originated with Elembe who originally came from Sierra Liona (probably a conjecture of Purchas, since Battel denied knowing anything about the Jaga’s origin earlier in the section, p. 83) to Benguela, and that Kelandula (leader of the band that Battel stayed with, whom he called Imbe Calandola), “sometime his page” had broken off but still followed the “beastly life” (of practicing infanticide) of his former superior, “and the peopple of Elembe, by great troops, run to him and follow his camp in hope of spoils.”  While this does suggest that some bands formed by hiving off from other bands, it does not necessarily imply a common origin for all Imbangala bands.  Miller, Kings and Kinsmen has argued for a common origin, ultimately in the forming Lunda empire of the sixteenth century, if not for the actual people then at least a core of Imbangala institutions.

[59].   In Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, no. 4 Cavazzi adds Candongo and Dumba as names of two other leaders of squadrons.  These could be written Ndonji, Kandonga and Ndumba in modern Kimbundu orthography.

[60].   Great Ganguela, the northern part of a region situated between the Kwanza and the Kwango rivers in the Baixa de Cassange and south of it in eastern Angola.  (See Istorica Descrizione.  Book 7, no. 31; Heintze “Ende” pp. 240-1 n. 225)  Ngangela in Kimbundu and other Angolan languages is not a regional designation on its own, but rather corresponds with words like sertão in Portuguese or outback in Australian English:  that is to designate a distant, foreign and perhaps a bit uncivilized region.  As a result there have been many shifting designations for Ngangela.  See the excellent discussion in Robert Papstein, “The Upper Zambezi. A History of the Luvale People 1300-1850” PhD Thesis, UCLA, 1978.

[61].   This seems to be a second manifestation of the name Tembo Andumba, who appears here as a distinct person, besides the wife of Njimbo.  Second, there is this figure, the daughter of Ndonji and his wife Musasa, modern traditions from this area associate the founding ancestress of the Songo people  with a certain Ndumba Tembo, although none of the modern traditions repeat the narrative as Cavazzi tells it. On these traditions see Miller, Kings and Kinsmen, pp. 137, 149, 158, 164-65 and John Thornton, “Lunda Expansion to the West, c. 1670-1852”  Zambia Journal of History 1 (1981):  4.  Cavazzi may be conflating information from two different sources–those from Ndonji who claim Ndumba Tembo as an ancestor and those from Kasanje who make the same claim; or he may have heard the story from an informant who had heard, or conflated two such sources, or the coincidence in names might be fortuitious.

[62].  This province lay in eastern Matamba, along the Kwango river in Cavazzi’s day.


[64].45.  In Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, no. 110 Cavazzi mentions locust invasions in Kongo for these years, to which he added 1658.  The context in this later version, however, is different from the list presented here, where it is a general scourge specific to Kongo.  At the same time, the equivalent place for the context of locust invasions in the Araldi MSS uses only the Jaga invasions as a scourge (Book 2, no. 1).  Thus we see how Cavazzi took bits of information available to him and shifted it around depending on how he wished the story to be told.

[65].  The original source for the often quoted statement that the “leopard cannot change his spots, etc.” is Jeremiah 13: 23.

[66].  It was, of course, unusual for a woman to have concubines in seventeenth century Angola, although Cavazzi may have added this embellishment (or it may have been a product of his informants) based on the immediately visible experience of Queen Njinga who kept many male concubines (the text uses the unusual masculine plural “concubini”), and which was a source of regular comment (see Book 2, p. 40 and n.   ).  In any case the concubine, who is never named, is a necessary feature to allow Tembo Andumba to have children.

[67].  The text reads here: negò alla sua madre l’abb.a, & con quelli, che capitaneava contro se gli levantò in una occasione che mandata al’havveva contro de sui nemici…  The translation given here is simply a guess.

[68]. Cardornega also recorded a brief and much less specific account of origins for Kasanje (História 3: 222-3) in which he mentions elements of the Tembo Andumba story, without giving her name.  He does, however, give very different motives for the killing of the child.  According to this story, the female ancestress of the Imbangala could not have children and as a result could not produce an heir.  Filled with anger at this state of affairs, she pounded up a child and made her followers take an oath to never have children.  Miller (Kings and Kinsmen, pp. 144-50, and 162-4 and 225-8) stresses that the function of this story for the Imbangala is that the power  of lineages (naturally reproducing units) is abolished in favor of alliances to a central position (which reproduces itself in other ways).  If such an interpretation is accepted, the differences between the two traditions are lessened.

[69].  The question arises again to what degree the sex-reversal aspects of Njinga’s reign which Cavazzi records elsewhere (Book 2, p. 33 and 40) has influenced either Cavazzi or his informants in setting motives for Tembo Andumba.

[70].  Marginal note:  Reg3.cap21/Seneca.  See Seneca, De Ira, IIv. 4