Book 2, Chapter 12

[143]               How Queen Ginga observed [out: at present] the quixillas of the Giaghi [added: after she returned to blessed God] which she formerly kept faithfully.

Chap. XII

You have already heard (dear reader) in the eighth chapter of the present book how Queen Ginga faithfully observed the Giaga quixillas which she had taken.  Now this is how she observes them [out: at present, in: after returning] how she had them observed [out: after returning to God

Variangue quixilla First Law

No longer a cruel Tigress, or a Hart thirsty for human blood, nor a harpy inimical to the human form, nor a herod persecuting Innocent Children, inimical & contrary to human propagation, did she present herself.  But the Queen Ginga converted to God was loving, benign, courteous, & those she previously persecuted & ordered to be destroyed, now she defended, & ordered them to be protected & watched over, & those she previously abhorred she now loved with maternal entrails; these were children, who were no longer persecuted by Queen Ginga, nor put to death, nor did she allow it to happen as before, but forbade it, & ordered them not to be killed & persecuted, but loved & brought up, & it was allowed to all to procreate & multiply, & such was the Queen’s love for children that she could not bear to be without their presence, she played & enjoyed herself with them, & having passed the age of Masseno when he was the King, she clamoured & cried to give birth to a child without thinking how she had consumed her life in the dreadful vice of lust, running headlong towards the delights & sensual appetites which her unbridled will dictated to her, inclining towards them with the multitude of concubines she kept; let infinite thanks be given to our only good for a good number of them have been baptised & some of them are already seated on celestial thrones, & she commands that they should procreate & that all women should have their own children, & many times she has asked God with prayers for a child of her own; this can be called a metamorphosis & transformation by the heavenly right hand.

Quixilla ayari Second Law

She no longer had the woman killed who gave birth inside the quilombo, but ordered that all should give birth inside, nor did she have the child buried alive, but ordered that when born [144] it should be taken to the Church to be baptised without waiting for the appearance of teeth according to the Giaga custom, but to abolish this prejudicial abuse condemns the Father & mother to pay a Goat to the Church; the same applies to someone who dies without confession & to titled persons a Slave; she loved to see little children baptised, & celebrated & wanted to be godmother to many of them, curiously calling them the Capuchin’s children; such is the transformation, dear reader, that without them could not happen & what is more, once a year she made a banquet; for everyone who was born since our arrival in that Court is alive, poor as well as Rich, & each one wants to have children; twins too are alive, who previously were killed without any compassion as it was thought a clear prophecy of their perdition, and no nobility or virtue could save them from the loss of their lives, nor among these black people do the tears of mothers & Fathers have any effect, because many have been killed by their own hands without any show of love, but only anger & indignation.

Quixilla quitatu Third law

She no longer carried or had carried the mortar with its pestle but the Crown & Crosses; though there were some who kept their old satanic Relics hidden, & kept some of their barbarous customs & ceremonies, & practised them even in her time but not with her consent.  She & her Vassals still observed the old custom of Dongo & of Ethiopia, of changing their faces with various colours, which they think increases the beauty of their blackness, and add deformities & ugliness, & so painted resemble a scene from the infernal habitations.  The reader may be curious to know what cosmetics & colours Queen Ginga used, & her Vassals & the Ethiopians in general, to serve as an example to the women in our Europe.  The cosmetics are yellow earth, pounded charcoal, red earth, chalk, powdered herbs of various kinds, Chicongo and Taculla, both woods which are used one for whiteness & the other for redness[1]; the liquids are not of spikenard, or grapes or oranges, but palm oil, oil of infernal figs, animal grease, juice of various herbs, & having mixed these up [145] they make them look so lovely that they seem furies emerged from hell, & the smell is so sweet if the stomach is not prepared by an antidote it causes nausea & weakness & it is necessary to stifle the sense of smell; now I leave you to judge at your leisure & give sentence, for the colour white means peace & joy, & the colour red means war, & on both occasions they are used to that effect, the colour of charcoal in memory of the first King & conqueror who was a blacksmith.  As well as the above cosmetics the men wear in the middle of their foreheads two small horns about a palm in length;[2] now dear reader what would you think of seeing an Ethiopian wearing clothes which hardly cover his private parts, armed with a bow & arrows, [in marg: this goes to the contrary; law 7. C. 93.][3] & with a quarter of a human person at his Sides? & if he feels uncomfortable with these few clothes, he takes them off & goes naked, if he meets anyone his hand serves him as shelter, if he remembers to use it and does not show himself as he left [came] from his mother’s belly, I say what do you think?  As for me I should not know what name to give him, because the person is human, the behavioural animal, the works diabolical, nor can I call him a Centaur because he seems all animal, & so as not to insult him in any way, I think it best to leave it to the reader’s discretion while he will find a description of their works, inclinations, & quintessence of evil, and can give judgement at his leisure & decide what name is most appropriate without my incurring Censure from another’s judgement, especially from someone who does not know Ethiopia, & so I shall be free of the wounds made by their complaints.

Quixilla giuana Fourth law

She no longer made the public sacrifice, nor private as far as is known, before or after war as she used to, or other preventative measures according to the barbarous Giaga custom, because before and after war she came to the Church to confess, & afterwards to give due thanks to the Creator, nor were there however lacking many who did little of the first & less of the second, who go not to the House of prayer & priests of the true God but both before and after war to the tomb of their families, killing Goats, [146] Hens, cows & even men, & pouring various liquids over the tomb, & the blood of their victims, imploring their help & favour for the coming war, & they do the same when giving thanks, madly affirming that they have obtained victory by this means, & if the opposite happens they blame the dead for being against them, & try to placate them with sacrifices, & offerings; some sacrifice boys, & others girls to show their gratitude; if on the other hand it is not done by their Priests.  She ordered that they should not eat human flesh as they had before, but o hardened custom, can the Ethiopian change his blackness?  Neither can he change his old custom because such is the appetite they have for eating human flesh, that for it they will leave capons & partridges, & I have seen this happen, & have heard the offer of the birds being made, & they do not wait for the flesh to be well cooked, & to show themselves even more cruel they eat it raw as if they were wild animals; some, moved be their barbarity, eat the human heart, saying it is to give them more strength & courage, & this has happened twice during this Kingdom, at the Court of Queen Ginga while I was living there; two Ethiopians killed two men of their own nation & colour, & ate their Hearts, & in another place in the year 1659[4] and Ethiopian cut open the chest of a woman and pulled out the Heart, & ate it as if it had been game, & one could collect a large number of examples of such barbarity; they kept the Heart, lungs, & fingers & bones of many of those they had killed, as relics, honour & revere them, like us christians with the relics of the saints, although the Queen watched over these diabolical observance they were difficult to eradicate nonetheless, & if they do not follow them in public they do so secretly, far away from the Court, from fear of the Queen & the Capuchins [147] because when discovered they were sent across the salt sea, having been previously whipped as an example & warning to the others; they were sold without being able to appeal against the sentence, as these Ethiopians have no knowledge or experience of laws other than the first definitive judgement and do not know how to plead for the Guilty except for observing the maxim of Suetonius, not to delay between speech and action, & they are so observant of it that in the year 1662 when the Queen gave a capital sentence of death by beheading they would not give him time to confess, & prepare for death, & die like a christian, giving as their reason that the sentence had already been decreed, & it was very difficult to change it, but blessed God was served because he confessed himself willingly & voluntarily accepted death in payment for his sins, & his head was cut off, & they complained to me because by administering Confession I had delayed the execution of the sentence, & their madness went further, because when they had the body buried they barely covered it with earth, thinking to eat it, but when I realised their evil intent I had it buried in a deep pit, & blessed God permitted that in 12 hours that corpse became so stinking that one could not bear to come near it; the fault was mine, according to them, for not having wished them to eat that game, so dear & tasty to them, & they said that I was opposed to their Ceremonies & observances, so mad are black people.

Quixilla quintanu Fifth law

She no longer had people killed who belonged to someone who died, generally speaking, & so that it should be observed had declared that when her death should come she did not wish anyone to be killed, but for her soul to be assisted according to christian custom with offices, masses & orations; but in secret they have not ceased to kill goats & hens & also to give drinks to the dead in their graves.  Nor do they bury them in the wood as they used to but in the Church, & in the Cemetery blessed by the Priest; on the day assigned to Commemoration of the dead she gave generous alms, & her Vassals attended in mourning clothes at the offices of the day, nor did she allow [148] instruments to be played, & she made the royal guard behave in the same way.  At the beginning of this funeral Ceremony in Lent I asked the Queen for whom she gave these alms, and she answered that although her ancestors had died heathens & outside the bosom of Holy Mother Church, her sister Donna gracia was a Christian, which means it is possible that when she was thrown into the Coanza river she performed an act of contrition for her sins & was saved, & if it had not been so, she was appealing to the souls in purgatory; does it not seem to you, reader, that this was not a little to say & do, coming from someone who had never wanted to hear nor allowed anyone to discuss death in her presence, as if she did not have to die, a mad & foolish belief of the Lords of this black Ethiopia, & words & examples are of no avail to them, for they hold foolishly that nobody dies, but only hides from us, for this reason they place various things to eat, drink & wear in their tombs, as if the dead needed them, & cannot do without them, & very often they replenish them in the Cemeteries & tombs secretly so as no to be discovered, & punished; but many bury their dead outside in secret & on the pretext of being heathen do so without fear, & many are Christians except for not being buried in sacred ground.  They say they are heathen, & it is not to be wondered at that they should behave so, seeing that there are old Christians in this Ethiopia who go by night to disinter those already buried in the Church or Cemetery to take them to the tombs of their ancestors in the woods & wild places, to perform their usual ceremonies, offerings & sacrifices at their ease, without fear of being punished, & some bury the dead secretly in their own Houses, such is the stupidity of these descendants of Cain, Canaan, & Chus.

Quixilla Samano Sixth Law

It was publicly announced on her orders on pain of the loss of the slave that nobody … marked accordingly to the barbarian custom with their horrid imprint of iron twice, four or six times, but only once according to the custom of the white people, & other Lords, unless he had fallen back into sin, and was a fugitive, when [149] he should be marked again as a punishment, & I say this so that the reader should know that the Queen was no longer behaving as a Giaga, nor allowing others to, so let the reader not think it has cost her nothing to abandon this old custom, because she did not allow inhumanities to be committed but finally surrendered like wax to flame, but not before being very near it; not did she have people’s top middle two teeth taken out, nor the bottom ones, as she did formerly.  Now tell me dear reader what is a black person like with two teeth missing, & marked on the chest, arms, & even shoulders?  It will move you with compassion because some are so marked with the burning brand that one is frightened to see them, & from this you can tell how barbarous & inhuman Queen Ginga was, & think how, if one sin leads to another, one barbarous act entails many more, & one always surpassed the next in inhumanity & cruelty, but now let us give our loving God & his most holy mother due thanks for the conversion of this barbarous & cruel Queen, and the end of her past behaviour.

Quixilla naque Eighth Law

She no longer went to war, but being old in years & infirm she ordered that what was previously done should not be, but only when they reached their houses could they marry the woman with whom they had been joined in marriage of concubinage, but not many observe this, & there are many [150] transgressors in private if not in public, among those lawfully joined as well as those who live in Concubinage.

Quixilla Vua Ninth law

She no longer kept nor ordered to be kept the feast of young women according to their ancient custom, generally speaking, though some may continue it secretly & without any pomp, but they follow Christian customs, nor did she have her killed as before but has let the sin be committed.

Quixilla Cuim Tenth Law

She no longer kept the Chest or Missette dedicated to her brother, & the devil, which was of Silver and which she had made sacrifices to, revered & worshipped as if it had been the Holy Ark; in the year MDCLIX as you have heard she had it made into a lamp before she left the old Court, & came to the new, as you heard in the previous Chapter of the present book,[5] & it made a most beautiful lamp with a stoup for holy water & that which had previously been of use to the devil now served to illuminate the Church, house of prayer, perpetual praise & honour to our loving God, & do not think dear reader that it was a small trouble to remove from her that Relic she had so esteemed, honoured & revered, & to remove from our common enemy the adoration & respect which she had given to it with such diligence & perseverance, & being afraid of worse trouble he trembles like a lion, grew as angry as a cruel harpy, roared more loudly than a lioness deprived of her cub, & showed anger & indignation more than a harpy at the figure of the King inside, & she showed herself in everything she could obedient to what is divinely permitted.  When the lamp had come, & the Queen, grieving made a new offering of it in a different form from the previous one, with a few ornaments of cloth of gold which she had made for the service of the sacred temple, she chose the day of Easter of the Kings[6] the beginning of the conversion of the heathens & the whole world.

So there arrived that most solemn day of joy and jubilation in the world [151] and of fear and terror in hell.  The Queen appeared, I say, strikingly dressed and at an appropriate moment emerged from her Court accompanied by her grandees, her customary guard of musketeers preceding her, and to the sound of military music and a discharge of firearms she made it known to all those present and absent that this was the day celebrated by earthly Kings in honour of the supreme King of Glory and Lord of Lords; she was received at the door of the Church with holy water and having prayed she awaited the time of the mass, and as the Priest was putting on his vestments to celebrate the Holy Mass, the Queen’s Sergeant General was suddenly heard to give the news from the battle that the Giaga Cassange was coming, and it may be imagined in what confusion we found ourselves.  I assured everyone that this war was being waged not by Cassange but by the devil as part of his work, scouts went off immediately in all directions, and meanwhile the people entered the church to hear mass, the General knelt before the sacred Altar holding up the lamp, the senior Counsellor did likewise with the holy water stoup, and Tandala with a carpet of cloth of gold, and the Sergeant General with a chasuble of the same cloth.  The Queen took the lamp and offered it to the Priest as a sign that she wished to give thanks to God for illuminating her house, that to keep the lamp burning she would provide oil, as she always has done, and she then asked pardon for the sins she had committed and promised to make reparation, and also offered the ornaments to the sacred temple in memory of the precious gifts that on that solemn day were offered to it by earthly Kings, and as those pagans who, guided by the star, came to adore the supreme King later had their hearts illumined, so she wished her heart to be illumined too, not to return to her former pagan state but simply to adore and revere him, the supreme good and Creator, hating her former life and the sins committed during her false worship of the Treasure-chest.  I believe, dear reader, that in that hour the Heavens opened, and those Celestial Citizens bent down to see the sacrifice of the penitent Queen, and raised it up to present it before the throne of the King of glory, and that there was a great festival and much joy in the court of Heaven; the Holy Mass was celebrated, and meanwhile [152] the military scouts returned from the battle without having discovered any traces of the enemy King and were comforted, seeing clearly that it had been a plan of the devil to disturb that occasion, and he gave various signs of his displeasure.

One morning when the lamp was already in its appointed place in the Holy of Holies and a sermon was being preached to the people, the lamp began to move and sway about without anyone being seen to move it, and it also made sounds as if its cord was being broken and fell to the ground, making everyone afraid, and the lamp was opened; but the Priest comforted the people and exhorted them not to be afraid as this was all a stratagem of the devil, so all was over, the people were happy and that day they celebrated giving thanks to the Creator and to our Most Holy Lady the Virgin Mary.

The Queen had a great desire to receive communion, and asked to do so several times, but her wish was not granted until she had been properly instructed in how to receive such a great sacrament; and when she was refused she would say “I no longer worship the Treasure-chest, I have sacrificed and abandoned everything to do with it”, but this was only so in her own opinion because she wore on her arms and legs 19 iron rings dedicated to the devil[7] and to her ancestors on the pretext that they would preserve her from various infirmities, and when she understood that these were the cause of her not receiving the Bread of the Angels, she immediately removed them and gave them to the priest, and also renounced some other things even though they were in no way contrary to our holy faith; so the first time that she communicated was the year MDCLX and afterwards she continued faithfully receiving communion with great effect and devotion until her death. (Marginal note)  After every time she communicated she celebrated with particular joy the grace that God was giving her and in this action was applauded by all her Vassals and any strangers who found themselves at her Court, even when they were pagans and savages, and she always gave charity as was her duty./ She conceived such horror of all pagan and devilish things, that on seeing anyone adorned with them she would remove them with her own hands and took them to the Priest, and as it is normal for black people to wear the rings I have mentioned it sometimes happened that she removed over a thousand of them; supposing that people were no longer continuing their old custom in order not to be found out, she often wished to burn all the rings; the blacksmiths did not wish to put them in the fire and those who had originally made them did not want to see or touch them afterwards; when they were placed in the fire an intolerable stench often rose from them and they gave such terrible leaps that everyone fled, saying that the devil was coming out of them, and that anyone [153] who put them on would go blind; then the Queen adorned her arms with gold and silver rings blessed by the Priest and the first time she wished the Priest to put them on, as it was a good and blessed thing.

Quixilla Cuim ne imoxi  Eleventh law

She no longer observed nor sent anyone to observe the ceremonies and rites which the pagans and Giaghi formerly carried out at the new moon, they only kept a custom observed not only by pagans but also by many whites who, needing to go on a journey or undertake any business, make sure it is when the moon is waxing because they say the waxing of the moon is favourable and its waning detrimental, and this is in cities as well as in the country houses and estates; and they did not fail to observe this if not wholly at least in part, as it was for them an ancient ceremony and therefore difficult to eradicate especially among the working people who, being not ignorant but lacking in knowledge, and also lacking in reasoning powers, allowed themselves to be deceived by their false Priests who in order to deceive them more thoroughly made use of a great deal of food and drink; let everyone think of what a hungry man will do at the sight of food and a thirsty one at the sight of water, as black people are worse than wolves as regards eating and drinking, and for a mouthful will say that day is night, and on the contrary that night is day without any fear or human shame, and are always hungry and never satisfied, and can never say they have enough.

Quixilla Cuim ne aijari  Twelfth law

She no longer kept the state of concubinage as she had before, but lived in matrimony with her husband who had been received into the Church and ordered her Vassals to do so, giving ladies in marriage to those who had none, and served as supporter to many with great enjoyment and relief, giving them clothes and a banquet lasting three continuous days with the sound of instrumental music, at which she allowed people to go in a net and carry parasols, which nobody could do without her express permission, and ordered that on the third day they should make an offering to the priest, having received benediction from him and also from her, they should go to their homes and their business; and the Queen was granted peace and a long life in which to serve God and do good to her Vassals, and increase the Holy Catholic faith in these remote regions of [154] this black Ethiopia, which was so blind and given to paganism; this is as much as I need to say about this twelfth law.

Quixilla Cuim ne tatu  Thirteenth law

She no longer honoured or revered the Witch-doctors and sorcerers, but became their enemy and persecutor, her love for them changed to hate, and after putting some to death and deporting others, she had four of them whipped and consigned them to me to be sent across the sea, and had ornaments for the Church bought with their purchase price saying that it was not fitting to spend this except on the House of prayer to which the sorcerers were opposed.  For, dear reader, our loving Lord will not fail to comfort the workers in his vineyard when they work at cultivating it, even though it may seem to them as if they were in an ocean of troubles and afflictions; and it cannot be denied that the life of a zealous minister must consist of little but troubles, in order that he should fulfill his office and obligations as Father and Shepherd, and in doing so he has to fight the whole of hell by hindering the work it has begun, and which it carries out by means of the ministers scattered over this black Ethiopia, the Priests of this ignorant people who honour, revere and fear them and observe their precepts and without any way of contradicting them.  One morning when the Priest had inveighed against such ministers, and with apostolic zeal had reproved vain superstitions and deceits, and related to the congregation some of their evil actions, they began to laugh, having paid attention only to the sound of the words, and they showed their ignorance still more by laughing twice as much when the interpreter explained; but although laughed at by the congregation the Priest did not grow angry with these ignorant people, but made use of that saying adopted by wise men, that one should laugh with them that laugh and weep with them that weep, saying “laugh on and I shall laugh with you, but later you will weep and I shall not weep with you except in compassion for your blindness, ignorance and misery”.  The Heart that sees everything and from whom [155] nothing is hidden looked down on the ignorant people and also saw the Priest and the zeal with which he was giving his life to God, and the examiner of hearts and rewarder of work permitted their ignorance to manifest itself, though against his will; for while the Priest was waiting outside the Church for the people to enter and hear Christian doctrine and the Rosary of our Lady the Virgin, three Ethiopians passed through the square, one of whom had prisoner’s fetters on his arms and feet, handcuffs on one hand and also on his feet and arms two rings, one of iron and one of copper; he bore a bag on his shoulders and in his right hand held a rope with which he kept his leg irons tied to his right knee; seeing him transformed into such a monster I felt a divine impulse in my heart, which assured me he was a minister of Avernus, and I sent two of the Queen’s pages after him, who on returning told me that he was a slave in chains as his fetters showed, which foolish answer was for me a Royal confirmation, and spurred me to send two more, who gave me the same answer as the first; and I was not satisfied to send another two but followed them myself to the prisoner, who on seeing me lost the power of speech and when asked who he was and what his office was remained as if stunned, and did not know how to answer.  I took the relics from the priest of evil, and he and the teacher of their works I took to the Queen; and her grandees began asking each other how it could happen that he himself could fall into the net, and their laughter was changed to tears, and I said “This morning I was laughing with you at myself, now you are weeping at your leisure and I cannot join you, unless it is at seeing you so blind, and deprived of your own eyes and feel with your own hands that what the Priest told you months and weeks ago is true?  Have there not been threats today?  And has not chastisement followed?  You see before you that man, question and examined those who were his followers three times, and you will hear his answers and the answers and replies of the Priest, and you will see if this is human of divine work”; and at this I left the Court leaving the priest and his relics to the Queen, who had them all guarded with great diligence.  The priest was called Ganga ya Matamba[8] meaning the Lord of [156] Matamba, which was the name of the kingdom, and being held in great veneration and esteem by all his people was much honoured and reverenced, and he was travelling in the way he did because he was not known to the Capuchins and other Christians; he was a septuagenarian, a large man of proud aspect, which showed more in his face than his deeds; a few days later two others also fell into the net, and at this unexpected proof of what the Priest told them they were astonished and stunned, and became conscious of what the Priest knew either through human means or diabolical arts, and everyone loosed his tongue as he pleased, willing to believe in evil, inclined to suspect everyone and with little desire to believe the truth; knowing their madness, I thought it wise to appear to conform to an opinion believed to be true, though it was false, that they could speak with a dead man they called Zumbo, and as I had often found out what they were doing secretly and related what they knew to be true, they started to say that the Priest was speaking to their dead, and that because of this I knew their secret actions, and that I knew even what it was possible for them to do.

O madmen of Catena and God who wishes that all should be known, and nothing secret or hidden, it is not possible, gentle reader, to believe in the pagan follies of these Ethiopians unless one has spoken with them, because they surpass all human understanding.

A few days later, the Queen caused the two priests of Avernus to be led into her presence in the public square, and there gave orders that they should be whipped by boys before crossing the sea, and I cannot, dear reader, describe the result without great astonishment, because they were given so many lashes by fifty boys armed some with whips, some with heavy spades, and some with branches of trees, that they lay as if dead and it was necessary for the chastisement to cease, although the wish to continue it was still there, in order that they should not die under the blows but should be able to cross the salt sea to which they were immediately sent, and on arrival at the city of Loanda were embarked for the river of Jannero on the coast of America; they reached their destination and on arrival, either because someone was protecting or instructing them or because they sent someone, it is sufficient to say that [157] when they came to the Port I have mentioned they were interrogated and examined by monks delegated and sent on purpose to do to, by the Governor of the City who was Signore Gas. Salvadore Correa de Sa Benavida [9] He wanted to send them back whence they came, and that was his order to the merchant to whom they had been entrusted, and who explained to the Governor what their crimes were and that they had been embarked by his legitimate Lord and not in any other way, a sufficient reason to settle everything; the Governor would not listen to any reasons, but sent for the order to be executed, and when the priests of Satan had re-embarked for Angolla, the merchant secretly returned and took one to pay for the other’s passage and provisions to the Queen, so that the man called Matamba felt very happy and comforted; but it did not last because he could not keep the thought of his return so secret that it was not suspected, and on being discovered he had to pay with his life, was assailed by great melancholy, and blinded by the devil threw himself into the sea after fifteen days’ travel, and thus lost body and soul; and as to the remaining man, briefly, he too paid the death penalty, and this was the end of these priests of Avernus.  We can believe that the Lord heard the news of the loss of such a good teacher and greatly regretted the loss of his soul, although pleased with the loss of his body because he could not go on causing trouble to Christianity with his lies and absurd falsehoods; this example was very effective, and inspired great fears in all others like him, so that they left the cities, but did not go too far to come secretly at the call of whoever needed their arts, and blessed God permitted that one night these priests were assembled together invoking the devil their father and teacher, with instrumental music as is their custom, and were heard in the darkness of the night; and on drawing near to the place the Queen found out, and immediately had them arrested in the number of seven, and the next morning had them brought to the public square; on being examined one was found to be the novice in their art, with two disciples, because the teacher ran away and the others were spectators of the feast in their own house, where they had been called to nurse a sick relative.  They were all banished by the Queen except for a young woman who had no-one to plead her cause, but her pregnancy pleaded it for her so that her punishment was delayed until after the birth, and as no other punishments was possible … ornaments [158] were bought for the Church for the price; and the same was done in other cases as the Queen did not lack diligence, or the Priest vigilance, and blessed God favours this with his grace without which nothing can be done, but what shall I say of the other priest of the devil?  This man was exercising his diabolical office in the darkness of night, the Queen sent one of her ministers to imprison him, but he ran away leaving behind all his arsenal of tools with the treasure of the Idol he adored and with his congregation was taken to the Queen, who presented him to the Priest with great joy; the Priest smiled at these things, and when she asked why he answered that these things had no souls, still less had they heads, feet or senses, and accepted the present and gave her thanks for the zeal she showed, and which pleased him all the more as her teacher because he held her soul so dear to our loving Lord who to redeem it had shed his most precious Blood, and promised that the pagan teacher would shortly follow his Idol.  It is hard to wait for someone who does not come, and not only weeks but months passed without his coming, because of a grandee of the Court who protected and defended him.  Finally, the Priest one morning returned the arsenal to the Queen who had given it, and the Queen seeing the satirical trick asked the reason for this restitution; the Priest answered that he was doing it for his honour and the respect appropriate for Monarchs, and that he could not do without that restitution, because he had sent several times for the minister who had not come, and when the people saw that the grandees of the Court did not obey or respect his orders they would do the same themselves, and what had been so feared and respected would become a joke to everyone.  These words of the Priest were pointed arrows which pierced her heart, because she understood the Priest’s intentions and that speaking thus was throwing a stone and concealing his hand, and she made it a point of honour [159] and to show that she held sway over both the grandees and the people, she commanded that the minister must appear at once without argument, willingly or not, at Court, and the next day he appeared in chains; the Queen commanded that the banishment of the others should proceed, but that the whipping should come first, all this was faithfully carried out, and so he went to receive the prize which his art deserved.  The Queen was very courteous with her grandees, but when it was a matter of government and jurisdiction she was as proud as a tiger and for this reason the Priest supported her in her scheme and point of honour.

Quixilla Cuim de vana  Fourteenth law

She no longer kept the obscene law of Sambare, but lived in matrimony and exhorted her Vassals to do the same, to live as Christians with one partner joined to them in matrimony, so that virtue is increased by the force of this Sacrament which is so rarely practised in these remote regions; such was the Queen’s observance of the laws after she returned to blessed God; now we shall see acts which were contrary to the life of Giaga people. [replaces: quixille as at present she observed them, may it please God to grant her firmness and persistence until the time comes to receive the prize promised to those who persevere and not to those who backslide, and she no longer kept instruments dedicated to the devil and her ancestors as before, but had sent them to the service of the Church for use in the mass on festival days when our Holy Mother Church expresses joy.  [marginal note: other observations on the Queen and her devotion to Holy Water and how she celebrated the 8th Sabb. Cap.[10]]]

The wine which she had at first used in the false sacrifices she made to her ancestors and to devils she later gave to the Holy Sacrifice of the mass which is offered on the altar in memory of him who offered himself to the eternal Father on the Altar of the Holy Cross for the human race.

The silken cloths she used in ceremonies at the time of her sacrifices and feasts, and that she had given to her priests, she now gave and used to ornament the Holy temple, having made all the necessary ornaments according to the custom of the Holy Mother Church.

The cries of joy and celebration, and clapping of hands, that she used to make [160] at the time of her sacrifices and ceremonies, she now made on the feasts of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Virgin, celebration them with a great show of physical and spiritual joy.

She no longer…….                                    the Silver Treasure-Chest dedicated to her brother and the devil because she made of it a beautiful lamp-stand as I have mentioned above, but today she and her Vassals respect and revere the sign of our Redeemer exposed in the Church, as in the public square and other places, and the images of the Lord and the Blessed Virgin and of his saints, and as a result she wanted some of them not only in her room and her house, but also above the gates so that on entering and leaving she would have occasion for veneration a reverence every time she passed before them.

The beating together of her palms in reverence, conforming to Ethiopic custom, which she used to do to her Witch-doctor priests of the devil, today she did to the priest of the true God.  The punctilious observance of the edicts of her priests had now changed to enmity and persecution, and she observed whatever the priests of God commanded her to do, and the benediction which she used to obtain from them, she now asked with great humility from the Capuchin Priest, kissing his holy habit not once but every time she met him.

She no longer adorned her arms and feet with rings of iron and copper dedicated to the devil as she had done before, but with gold and silver ornaments blessed by the Priest, and with ankle-rings composed of various curious substances.

She abandoned the diabolical robes and relics of her priests and instead had Christian robes and relics and always a Holy Cross and Crown in relief hanging round her neck.

The work she had done by instructing houses to be made for Idols and assemblies [161] she now did for the Capuchin Priest, and what she spent in the houses dedicated to the devil, she now spent in the service of the Church, true temple of the true God.

The discharges of firearms that had been made at the time of her sacrifices and pagan ceremonies, were now made at the elevation of the most holy Host and other occurrences at the solemnization of festivals, which were celebrated with much joy and feasting.

The disciples she had assigned to her Priests to learn their art she assigned to the Capuchins to learn what was necessary for their salvation, and reading, writing and serving mass, and those who carried out their office particularly well were given clothing and food by the Queen.[11]

The dreadful clothing of the Giaga and the ancient Africans was so immodest that it was barely clothing at all, and the cloth with which they covered the parts of which they should have been ashamed of half covered them, or else they would wear the skin of a sheep or wild animal in front and one behind, or else leaves of trees, and many also were content to go about with no more clothing than they wore inside their mother’s wombs.  The Queen ordered modest clothes for herself and her Vassals, and rebuked the old immodest way of dressing, especially in women.  Her clothing consisted of a piece of cloth from her belt to her heels and another covering her breasts, and a delicate garment of damask or some other precious cloth over her shoulders, trimmed with gold or silver; on her head she wore a rare Crown adorned with various pearls, and she was also dressed in the Portuguese manner with women’s dresses and garments; when she was not wearing the Royal Crown, she wore a dress four fingers in width made from the bark of the tree called insanda[12] which they regard very highly, and this they call quintundo[13]; this is the ordinary dress of women, and they are not usually known as such except by this dress and their breasts, as their hair is arranged in exactly the same way as the men’s, and they wear a piece of cloth with which they cover themselves from the breast to half way down their legs, and another with which they cover their breasts although they are repelled by the idea of doing this, considering it an affront to mother nature; for the rest they go about wearing nothing, which is the black people’s sign of their ancestors’ curse of savery [162] which turned on their descendants, to show their brothers that their displeased Father gave it to them as punishment for the sin they had committed.  Do not be amazed, dear reader, to hear such things, for such are the people of black Ethiopia, who are descended from such an evil root that they have no sense of shame, and when corrected answer with a laugh, not minding at all, and little can be done and not all in a day; nor must the evangelistic priest cease trying to eradicate their old customs from their souls, as if he does so with true Apostolic zeal divine grace will always assist him, and also with continual exhortations the hearts of sinners are modified, and their hardness undone.  Finally the Queen had changed her ferocity to kindliness, her cruelty to mercy, love took the place of hate, favours and mercy that of chastisement, she abominated and abhorred her past barbarities and the Giaga life, and not only the deeds but the very name nauseated her; she had conceived such horror of all the fetishes and customs of the Giaghi, that she had appointed one of her servants to burn them wherever he found them and punish the author and bearer of them; this man was proud, savage and cruel by nature, and had occasionally served the Queen as executioner, and seemed gifted by mother nature with particular talents for chastisement, so that if he did not kill someone he usually made him helpless for a time, and punished him not only for sins committed in the past and the present but also for future ones.  There was one occasion when a man left his home wishing to sacrifice a hen to a dead member of his family, and this cost him such chastisement that for a long time he was unable to do physical work of any kind and the Queen’s servant was as proud of this as of a heroic deed.

When the Queen left her Court the first thing she did was to go into the Church to pray, and she did so again on returning; she never passed the Holy Cross without doing it reverence and also worshipped it by making a vow on her knees; she did the same to the Holy Images and showed great joy on seeing the Church and altars adorned, she did not neglect to provide many lights and incense [163] nor anything else that was necessary, she caused not only the Church but the square to be draped not niggardly but lavishly, and on solemn occasions ordered much wood to be brought to the square, and wanted each of her grandees to make his own fire, or pile of fuel for one, and would be the first to set the example herself by appearing in the square the night of the vigil, accompanied by her grandees with military music, according to their custom, and her musketeers, and after touching them for some time she rose from her throne and went in person to ascend her pile of wood, and so did her grandees, and all this was accompanied by loud cries and clapping of hands as is the Ethiopian custom when celebrating feasts, and at the appointed time all the firearms were discharged, and by the light of the fire they performed various dances of their native kind; they turned round the fire making various gestures and motions with their bodies and limbs, accompanied by clapping their hands and shouting, while others round the fire did other dances of the same kind and sang their songs, one leading and the others answering, to form an infernal kind of music.  This festival would last three or four hours, and on the following morning the Queen appeared at the Church strikingly dressed and accompanied by her grandees and Vassals, making a show as she ordered them to, because she was so feared and dreaded that no-one could put on clothes without her permission to do so.  The evening before, the town-crier would come out (there is such an office among them as among Europeans there is a trumpeter), blow a military instrument the call a Gonge and in a loud voice explain the Queen’s proclamation, and this he would do firstly in the Court and then repeat it so that it should be heard by the Court grandees’ officers, each of whom on his part would pass on the Queen’s order, which they call Bembe, and showed joy and sorrow when they saw their Lords appearing next morning dressed according to the Queen’s orders expressed by the Bembo.[14] But what, dear reader, shall I say of Confessions?  When she found herself blemished by any sin which could be absolved by the confessor, she declared [164] herself guilty and promised amendment with great signs of repentance.

She had such devotion for holy water that she always kept some in her house and in her room with the aspergillum, and it often happened that whoever had charge of it had been neglectful, and she, not wishing to go to sleep without it, would send to fetch some[15] even if it was the middle of the night; and many times summons by night would chill the blood in people’s veins for fear of some sudden accident, but they would then be comforted seeing that it was in order to have holy water and when that aspergillum was nearly empty she would insist on its being filled until she was satisfied.

Also worthy of admiration is the devotion with which she kept Saturday dedicated to the Mother of Mercy; on that day she never missed a mass, and everyone hurried to the Court as if it had been a feast day, and the Vassals called it their Queen’s day.  When she came to mass she was in the habit of always giving the priest some contribution to alms, and called it the alms of our Lady the Virgin.  At mass she caused musical instruments to be played, and after the mass her ladies sang the canticles of the Madonna.  On the next day, Sunday, she called “quizua quia manuez“,[16] that is, day of our Lord, and this was announced on Saturday with instrumental music as I have already said, and in addition bells were rung at one o’clock at night, and also in the morning before sunrise, as a sign that this was a festive day to be kept and not a working day, and people showed rejoicing more or less as she ordered in their dress and behaviour.

One time while she was talking with the Priest there appeared a mother hen surrounded by many chickens, and he gestured towards one of them who came near with the iron he was carrying, and at once the mother hen ran up with her head raised, her feathers ruffled and her wings outspread, using the weapons given her by mother nature, as if he had been trying to kill her offspring; and he turned to the Queen and said ” Does not Your Highness see how angry this hen is with me?”  The Queen answered “Father, it is a sign of her love for her children, and if this unreasoning animal gives us cause to wonder at her show of love what [165] amazement would show if you had killed the chicken?  For this is the first instinct common to both rational and unreasoning beings, but only the second to the inhuman Giaga people who are cruel to their children and not only do not want to defend them, but do not want to be asked to render an account of them, but give the same answer as the fratricide Cain, following him also in his barbarous example of murder, and what can be said of such people and of those who follow their laws, rites, customs and ceremonies?”  She then gave a great sigh and said “What you say, Father, is more than true, and so evil is the life of the Giaga, who kill their own children”, and many times, speaking of their barbarities, she showed great contrition at having followed them and observed their laws, and many times asked pardon for the sins she had committed on her knees before the Holy Crucifix, and renounced the devil and all his pomps and works.  And who, dear reader, on hearing of this metamorphosis will not say this was the work of God, not of his Creature?  Certainly it is not a human but a divine work, not of the creature but of the creator who in crucified form came to soften the hard heart of the Queen with his compassionate presence, to which she surrendered like wax in a fire and laid down the tiger’s skin and dressed as a gentle lamb and old ewe, bleating in God’s ears, and if Saint James says we should draw near to God, and God will then draw near to us, what can we say, and how can we explain that he came to the Queen before the Queen came to him?  For no other reason than that he wished to save her, and so that we should admire his divine mercy and how clearly it showed itself, and how he not only lets himself be seen in the house of his friend but also offers his friendship, calls on whosoever resists him and leads them to salvation, not by running and flying to the good it does, because having renounced the works of Christianity one can go in no direction, either externally or internally, but that of perdition.  But all has come about through the infinite mercy of blessed God who does not wish the sinner to die, but to be converted and saved and who when he sees our will bent towards good deeds meets it halfway and directs and comforts us, glad to see our will bent low and humble in goodness, so it may please his divine mercy that all should persevere in the work they have begun [166] to the end, and he will not show himself unfaithful to the people of Ethiopia.

[1]. Chicongo = kikongo, a wood similar to sandalwood; Takula, Pterocarpus tinctorious a common form of red dye, Leguzzano, Descricao, 1: 100.


[3]. A correct cross reference.

[4]. This same incident is in Cavazzi’s chronicle, MS B, p. 588 where he notes it also took place in Matamba in 1662 and 1663.

[5]. See pp. 134-38.

[6]. In 1661 Easter fell on

[7]. On these iron bracelets, see pp. 97-101 above.

[8]. Ganga ya Matamba = Nganga ya Matamba.  Given his age (born about 1590) he might be priest of the territorial spirits associated with Matamba before Njinga’s conquest.

[9]. Governor Gastao Salvador Correa de Sa y Benavida, whose post, after being governor of Angola (1648-52) was the Captain-General of the South (Brazil) in 1660-63, see Boxer, Salvador de Sa, pp. 293-332.

[10]. See pp. 108-09.

[11]. Note the substitutions of Christian symbols for indigenous ones, and the integration of ancient symbols into the new Christian rites. Such syncretism was also a feature of Christianity in Kongo and as such may reflect the influence of Calixto Zelotes dos Reis Magros who came from that Church tradition, see John Thortom, “African Catholic Church”, pp.

[12]. Insanda, from Kikongo musanda, today nsanda, various trees of the genus Ficus, either F. psilopoga Welw. or F. sycomorus, Leguzzano, Descricao 1: 40.

[13]. Quitundo = kutundo, crown, see pp. 217, 224 below where a definition is given.  In Istorica Descrizione Book 1, no. 55 Cavazzi speaks of ornaments indicative of high social standing where often made from nsanda.

[14]. Bembo or Bembe = Mbembe or Mbembo, perhaps a tax collector. In Kongo the Mwene mbembo collected imposts, Thorton, Kingdom of Kongo, p.

[15]. Peruleiro, a measure usuallu of wine, of one half a barrel.

[16]. Quizua quia manuez = kizua kya manweza, day of the lord?  In the Kimbundu catechism (do Couto, Gentio,       ) Domeneca is used for Sunday, while “lord” as is “Lord Jesus” etc, is usually rendered as “Ngana”.