Book 2, Chapter 4 bis & 6

Of other barbarous acts committed by Queen Ginga at the same time as the Dutch

Chap. IV

This Hind who was thirsty for human blood was not yet satisfied or appeased by her past cruelty, but regarded everyone as enemies, & nobody as a Friend, and continued to vent on human individuals of her own kind the anger & hate that are the off­spring of Cruelty.  She waged war in the Province of Oando[1] in the principal libata or City, where there was a Priest named D. Augustino Flois[2], who was Chaplain of the place; they fought a battle in which the Priest died and the Queen was victorious, but it was not long before the homicide paid for the sin he had committed, because when an Ethiopian stripped the priest’s body & tried to quarter it in order to eat it, when he raised his barbarous weapon he fell dead beside the corpse [64].  When the Queen’s black people saw the incident, they related the case to the general, who was afraid and ordered them to bury the body; when the army returned to the Queen’s Court & she was informed of what had happened, she ordered on pain of rigorous punishment that none of her soldiers should kill a Priest.  The Queen ordered the priest’s sacred vestments to be guarded, & all the Sacerdotal ornaments and objects pertaining to divine worship.  This event was so frightening to the Queen & her Vassals that as occasion offered they always gave great honour & reverence to Priests, as you will hear from the following case.[3]

They took some Portuguese prisoners in battle, among them a Priest called Don Girolamo di Siquera[4] who was visitor of the conquered territory.  In the fury of battle he was wounded by three arrows, & stripped not only of his clothes but also his goods, but when they saw he was a Priest they immediately gave back everything, and set him to ride on a mule, & while the other prisoners were badly treated, he was honoured & respected; & some men went before him as heralds, announcing “there goes the Ganga,” meaning a Priest, so that he should not be molested.  They were presented to the Queen, who ordered them to be separately guarded in different parts of her army, & consigned the Priest to an officer, warmly recommending him to treat him well.  The poor men were oppressed & badly treated, & insulted, except for the priest who was respected & had permission to go to Court whenever he liked; the others were given food in their captors’ hands, & the bare ground served as a table and leaves of trees as tablecloth & napkins, or else pieces of bark, but only to the priest food was given on Tin or Silver Plates.  The Queen ordered him to be given all the objects pertaining to divine worship belonging to the dead Priest which she had kept, & also others captured in war, & ordered the Priest to make a Church, & gave him all that was necessary to build it of palings & straw, & when it wa furnished ordered it to be adorned with various pieces of cloth, & when the Queen passed in front of it it was always with due salutations & reverence.  One day the Queen came with a quantity of Crowns & Rosaries, books & Crosses, all of them spoils of war, while all the prisoners remained in the Court, & she allotted [65] to each his share.  When the General[5] saw the Queen’s action he strongly opposed it, adducing various reasons why this was not suitable for imprisoned enemies, and to this the Queen answered that being imprisoned was quite enough of a punishment to the poor men, & having lost their liberty, and that she was giving them these things so that they could recommend themselves to blessed God because he did not lack Churches of their kind in which to perform his own ceremonies & prayers.  When the general heard the Queen’s answer he said nothing more.  The prisoners received these devotions with great joy, & gave the Queen the thanks that were her due.

There was a man she held imprisoned, [captured] in battle, who appeared to be a Portuguese Christian but who showed himself as he really was in a strange way.  He had not received or participated in the above-mentioned devotions, so the Queen sent him a Holy Crucifix in relief, which he received not with a happy face, but with sadness, for he was an enemy of Christ and his members and felt he was being scorned and mocked, and with fury broke one of the arms of the cross & threw it on the ground, & impatiently and with pharisaical wrath tried with a blow to destroy & remove from his sight that holy emblem, trying with all the force of his sacrilegious hands & to do it more easily also on his knees.  But what he wished to do to the Crucified Lord happened to him because at the same time he felt the joints of his knees break in great pain, & he was left unable to Walk?, & the same happened to his hands & he died shortly afterwards, dragging himself on the ground like a snake.  When the Queen heard what had happened she ordered him to be dragged to a place where he was eaten by the Dogs as he deserved; all this happened before the Christian prisoners, who did not fail to give due thanks to the Author of life for what they had seen happen to that heretic of the dutch Calvinist nation, enemies of the name of Christ, and of those, I say, who recognise the successor of Saint Peter whom they obey, honour & revere, & kiss his sacred foot, genuflecting?; who are scornfully called Papists,[6] by unhappy wretches who deny him obedience, respect & reverence, making themselves children of the devil, & as such have their offices in his Court called City of smoke by many heathens, & there receive the gifts [66] Satan is accustomed to giving his followers.  So while they remained imprisoned in that Court there occurred the death of an officer of the Queen who loved him very much, and among whose many concubines there were two greatly beloved by him; one of them used to go about in company with her Lover, and quarrels sprang up between them, and not only that, but they came to blows, each wishing to demonstrate to the other by means of proofs that she was more Loving & Loved than the other, so that it was necessary for the quarrel to go to the Queen’s tribunal.  The two litigants appeared and each bore witness, giving reasons & proofs why it was just that she should go about with her Lover.  Let anyone who pleads for them and their cause hasten to know who was wrong, both being equally parties to the quarrel, for both had been companions of the Lover in the dark tomb as in life, Loving & loved.  When the Queen had heard them both, asking with due thanks, to rejoin their Lover without delay, but speedily she ordered their heads to be cut off at once, & for them to be thrown into the tomb where his body lay, whom they had loved so much in life, that they wanted to be his companions in death.  Who ever heard of such a marvel, such childishness & stupidity?  What wonder is it that the two young women should quarrel and come to blows through their ambition to walk with their love?  If a man of Cathay in the Indian Regions dies his concubines not only quarrel but fight about which was the most greatly Loving & loved, & those who win go with much feasting & mirth to kiss their Lover, & in the flames of blazing fire consume those of burning Love, & they then remain indivisible according to human understanding & those are the most honoured & esteemed of women, nor does anyone enjoy greater glory, just as there are Christians who only want to follow Christ in his resurrection & not his passions for the one is [67] sweet & delightful, & the other difficult & bitter.

At the same time there occurred a Case of cruelty, which was that an Ethiopian woman fund a woman with two newly-born children, & wishing to free her of their weight killed them both, & then placed them in a vessel, roasted & ate them, which meant that the human being was not lost.

This also happened before the death of the Bishop.  A woman was living as a concubine, and had ten children; the Bishop examined the case and declared that the first & not the second were legitimate, for the first ones were her own natural children, & the others supernatural & miraculous, for she had been converted from a woman into a man.[7]

Something similar happened in Embaca when a woman who had given birth to two children became a Man, & took a wife, & had children, the licence of the King then Reigning allowing this; I have related these cases so that the readers may linger over them & admire the greatness & miracles of our loving God.

Of the Restoration of the City of Loanda carried out by the Lord Knight Salvator Correa di Sa & Benavida, in the year of grace MDCXXXXVIII

Chap. VI

While the enemies of the christian? name were Lords of Loanda, which they remained for seven years in succession, they committed many barbarous acts against people, great tyranny over their goods & irreverence to Sacred places, using Churches as stables & magazines.  They mocked sacred Images in various ways, and in short there was no wickedness they did not commit, no barbarous act they did not do, all as foreseen by our Prelate & Pastor; but the Most Clement Lord showed the sweetness of his mercy [68] & pity towards the inhabitants of Angola who had retreated into the Fortress of Massangano, for having well punished them, he did not abandon them, but was only waiting for them to remove the occasion of their punishment, in order to stop treating them as guilty & show himself a loving Father & Shepherd, & this when they thought they must fall into the hands of the enemy not only of their King, but also of their Religion; he showed them, I say, the sweetness of his pity & mercy.

Dear reader, it can be clearly seen from what follows that the Heart of the King is in the hands of God; the King of Portugal had no clear news of the unhappy state of his Vassals or events in the Kingdom of Angola, & the sufferings they were undergoing, as there were great difficulties in letting it be known when the City & Port were in the hands of the enemy.  The Most Clement Lord inspired the soul of the King, having decided to end his rigorous punishment, to send the Lord Cavagliero Salvador Correa di Sa & Benavida to the River of Jannero situated on the Coast of Brazil, a part of America, to form an armada there, recover the lost ground from the dutch power, & free his Vassals, giving him the most ample authority for this, for all the necessary preparations, & instructions to use the ships he would find in that Port which were suitable for the undertaking; the zealous Knight was not lazy but with all possible diligence he went to the port, & formed a sufficiently numerous armada of eleven ships, & having made all the necessary announced that on the 15th of the month of May he would set sail and all the ships must be fitted out.  In that Port there was a Jesuit Father who was held in great esteem & veneration by all, particularly the Lord Knight and General Salvator Correa de Sa; when the Father understood the General’s resolution he told him that it was necessary to leave on the twelfth day, & that delays after that would have to be strictly accounted for to Blessed God.  When the Knight had heard this message, knowing the opinion everyone had of the Father, he regarded the advice not as human but from God by means of his servant, was determined to obey, & at once followed determination by putting it into practice, [69] & on the twelfth day set sail, ploughing the vast Ocean, and reached the Coast of Africa [blank] leagues from the City of Loanda; at the sight of land he found there were such storms & furious winds, and the sea was so alarming & frightening, that when on the point of disembarking, although each ship had four anchors, the Flagship was unhappily lost with nearly 300 men, so that we may say that the judgement of God is unfathomable.  Everyone can imagine the regret & affliction there was in such a time of trouble, & such a wretched place, but this, dear reader, was merely an imposition by our loving Lord who, foreseeing what vainglory & pride there would be if things went well, & that thanks rendered for victory should be those of ten who had been cleansed, of whom only one recognised the benefits received by paying the due tribute of thanks, permitted that disaster so that they should recognise that all came from him, source of all good,[8]? & that the unfortunate or fortunate results of the war all depended on his most liberal hand.  This event was not sufficient to frighten the General nor to make him desist from the enterprise, but it made him give up all faith in human strength; but he placed his whole confidence in the Author of life, & with this firm trust in blessed God & the Blessed Virgin advanced with the Lusitanian forces to acquire the lost Ground, assaulted the enemy, & although rebuffed, like an Elephant who takes courage at the sight of blood, he continued with great Spirit.  When the enemies saw the resolution of the Portuguese they asked for three days in which to negotiate; this was because they expected help from the forces stationed below the fortress of Embaca, & when they saw it was not coming they surrendered and made pacts, & left by the same way that they had come, when they took possession.  Now it was possible to consider how profitable had been the Father’s advice because if they had left on the 15th they would not have recovered the City because help arrived on the fourth day, but it was late, finding the Dutch had already left, & had departed in confusion for holland?, & the Portuguese [70] were Victorious & rejoicing.  This was in the year 1648, on 15th August, the city having been taken in 41 in the month of August, so that the Dutch were Lords of it for seven years.[9] When the news spread of the restoration of the Place, & the departure of the enemy, it was a great comfort to the Portuguese, & was greatly felt by the black people & particularly by Queen Ginga who wanted to see them annihilated; on the other hand the Portuguese gave a great celebration, with much mirth, & the exiled Citizens returned to Loanda to give thanks to blessed God & to their liberator.  Everyone applied himself to restore their houses which had been ruined by the enemy, and their property; no less did the inhabitants of the fortresses of massangano and Mochima Cambambe & Embaqua go to Loanda to give due thanks to their liberator.  The Zealous Knight consoled & gave heart to everybody, satisfied the wants of the poor, & showed himself kind & loving to all.  He began to restor the Churches in the service of which he was most zealous & to provide them with what was STET, building for a hospice of Saint Anthony.  He summoned missionaries from the Capuchin mission in the Congo, Fathers Brother Serafino da Cortona[10] & Brother Francesco da Licodia,[11] a lay brother and entrusted the hostel to them, & while he ruled he always showed himself devoted to the Capuchins.[12] He applied himself to settling the affairs of government, taking information about those who during the recent unsettled period had followed the dutch party, & about those who had remained loyal Vassals of their King, & to oblige them further, of whom there were very few, to enable the first to return to the King’s good graces & to reward the fidelity of the second, published a general pardon on behalf of the King, & I say that to oblige them further he wished to test their goodwill by means of presents & letters, sending Messengers to all with the King’s letters & his own, & with suitable presents as occasion suggested of the business of the time required;? it is enough to say that he managed to gain the goodwill of the inhabitants of the Kingdom without destroying it.  He found among his declared enemies [71] the King of Congo & Queen Ginga were the principal ones; the first of these, who had done great harm to the Portuguese by killing and robbing them, surrendered and agreed to pay the King of Portugal 900 hundred? slaves or their value in compensation for the Damages inflicted, to reveal the gold mines & give up a part of the salt mines, with many other conditions he promised to observe, & his faults were pardoned & he returned to the good graces of his King.[13]?  A? STET was also sent to Queen Ginga, named Captain Rui Pegado, bearing letters from the King, & from himself, & a present, who offered her pardon on behalf of the King, received her into his good graces? as if she had never rebelled against his Royal service, as in the Royal letter did the King himself? promised her help & favour.  The Queen received both letters with festivity & rejoicing, & appreciated the Present he sent her even more.  She answered the King by giving her excuses (which can be seen from the answer and what follows:  added in margin) for her former conspiracies with the dutch, promising to make amends, greatly esteeming the favour & kindness he was doing to her, & also the help he promised, & the pardon which he wa sending her as a loving Father & kindly King, & bent herself most readily to his Royal commands.  The Governor’s letter, as well as giving her the news of his arrival, & the recovery of the town, & other private affairs, contained also the following translated word for work from Portuguese into our Italian language, as follows:[14]

Letter written by the Lord Knight Salvator Correa di Sa & Benavida, Governator & Captain General of the Conquered Regions of the Kingdom of Angola to Queen Ginga

Lady Queen,

I should esteem it much if during the time of my governorship Your Ladyship’s Court came to be founded on the Church & its Priests, removing all the abuses of heathen rites & Giaga customs, for Your Ladyship is descended from the Royal blood of Kings & Emperors, & the Giaghi in Portugal are called Thieves because they always steal, & [72] do not have Fathers, their Mothers, or their land, & so God cannot help such people.  When I arrived in this Kingdom I found that the Giaghi friends of the Crown of Portugal bear & bring up children without killing them, & make homes as firm as those of the Soua.  And while Priests do not go there Your Ladyship will do me the kindness & favour of ordering & permitting the Ambassador Rui Pegado, or another white man, or maestro of Your Ladyship, who had been baptised,? to baptise all the children who are about to die, because in such a case any Christian can do this even if he is not a Priest, saying “I baptise thee in the name of Father, the son & the Holy ghost”,? if he intends to do it after the custom of the Holy Mother Church, throwing the water on the child’s head, & I ask this favour & kindness of Your Ladyship as warmly as I can, because if this is done the children go to Heaven, & there Ask for divine Clemency through Your Ladyship & through me, so if Your Ladyship does this it will be more esteemed than if I were to be sent all your army of slaves.  Loanda 13 Ap. 1651 Salvator Correa de Sa & Benavide [crossed out:  here is the answer she gave the King]

That the King’s heart is in the hands of God is clearly seen in the successful recovery of the town of Loanda, but you cannot deny that the heart of the subject is also in the hands of the King, while you can see this Knight is a diligent observer not only of the expressed orders of his King, but also of his will & hidden secrets, & also he comes forward, I say, like a loyal Vassal to make available not only his goods but also his life if necessary; for this reason it is not to be wondered at that he recovered the lost place and Kingdom after so much effort, because the King’s heart was in the hands of blessed God & that of the Vassals in the King’s; that is why Seneca says that Kingdoms are stabilised in the hearts of the subjects, & so this one remained stable & strong, and will endure, unless they once again provoke divine justice to castigate them as it has in the past.[15]

From what follows, dear reader, you shall know the blindness of the Giaga people, because on receiving this letter the Queen took much counsel, [73] & resolved to answer the Governor that she had not understood what he wrote to her about children, & in other ways give the Ambassador a good welcome, as the Governor’s pious request had asked.  It fired the Queen’s soul against innocent children, as if they had been the cause of that so just demand made on their behalf, & in their interest; but this barbarous demonstration did not fail to be properly punished, & the Governor earned the temporal prize because he was very lucky in his government, & derived much money from it, & we must believe that a greater reward is reserved for him by the Heavenly remunerator for his works as well as his intentions & wishes, if he follows the career of good works he has begun until the end, when he will be given the Crown & prize:  The Zealous Knight did not fail, just as water breaks stones by continually falling on them & Rope has a similar effect on hard stones; by continuous admonitions the Queen’s Heart will be softened, they will make an impression on its stony hardness, which is her will inclined towards evil, will remove that hardness from her & make her tender, of Wax? & of material able to receive the imprint of the Artificer; but o hardened custom, o Heart crammed with evil!   She never wished to surrender, but to persevere for ever, not admitting others’ advice or admonitions, thinking she understood that they were attempts to discredit her in the world’s eyes and the opinion in which she was held by the black people;  but blessed God reserved for Himself the task of piercing her & making her subject to Him as you will see from the end of this narrative;  he did not wish a human arm to do it, nor that a human being should say: “I was the arrow of love, I wounded her heart”;  but wished to us to confess [74]: To Thee alone, Lord, be the honour & glory.  Thou Lord alone hast wounded her Heart, to thee is owed all the honour & glory.  Amen.

Not observing that S. Augustine said that he who governs should wish to be more loved than feared by outsiders, she on the contrary wished to be more feared than loved, which is the behaviour of a Tyrant; nor did she make use of Plutarch’s advice given to them who govern that Love unites and binds a People to its King, but she wanted to be loved and feared by force of Tyranny.

[1]. Oando = Wandu, a southeastern province of Kongo.  Njinga’s forces invaded it several times, in this case probably the one in 1643: Letters of Souza Coutinho, 6 September 1643, Brasio, Monumenta 9: 64.  It was invaded again with Dutch assistance in 1646, Dapper Beschrijvinge, p.

[2]. Agostinho Flores, a Portuguese secular priest, killed by Njinga’s troops in Wandu in October 1648.

[3]. This story is related in greater detail in Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, MS 3533, pp. 88-9, Antonio de Teruel, “Descripcion Marrativa de la Mission…en el reyno del Congo” (Ms of 1664).  Cavazzi made use of this source in the revised edition of the book, Istorica Descrizione Book 4, nos. 19-22.  The invasion dated to October, 1648.

[4]. Jeronimo de Sequeria, know to Cadornega by his nickname, “o Pato” (the duck).  He was captured by Njinga in 1644 at a part of the battle at the “Empures of Angoleme Aqueta” and recaptured by the Portuguese after their defeat of Njinga in the same area in 1646, Cadornega, Historia 1: 352, 417 and note 149.

[5]. This and other references to Njinga’s general probably refer to Njinga a Mona (Ginga Mona), her principal military leader, a native of Ndongo who was captured by the Imbangala of her army and raised to leadership by them.  She made him one of her principal advisors and adopted him as a child: his name means “child of Njinga”, Istorica Descrizione, Book 6, no. 123.  He was the most consistent opponent of Njinga’s program  of Christianization, perhaps because his promotion was through Imbangala rules, while he was of humble origin.

[6]. Protestants in the seventeenth century regularly called Catholics “Paptists”, see note 130.

[7]. Cavazzi also refers to various unnatural or supernatural births in his Chronicle, MSB, p. 589.  All took place in 1657.

[8]. Joao d’Almeida, Salvador de Sa’s personal confessor, Jesuit priest and worker of miracles, Boxer, Salvador de sa, p. 255.

[9]. Ibid, pp. 255-6 on this incident.


[11]. Francesco da Licodia, Capuchin priest (1600-83) from Sicily arrived in Kongo in 1648 and went to Luanda with da Cortona in 1649.  Was noted for his devotion and courage, so that when he died he was proposed for beatification, Legguzano, Descricao 2: 405-6

[12]. On details of these negotiations, Filesi, Missio Antiquo, pp.

[13]. These demands were set down, in response to a set of demands from Kongo, in 1649, Birmingham, Trade and Conflict, pp. 111-12.

[14]. See the original letter in Brasio, Monumenta 11:

[15]. In fact, de Sa and the king did not see things as much in accord, as de Sa was much more vigorous in punishment than the king, Birmingham, Trade and Conflict, p.112.