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The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415–1670
A Documentary History

$24.00 ( ) USD

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About the Authors
  • The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415–1670 brings together a collection of documents – all in new English translation – that illustrate aspects of the encounters between the Portuguese and the peoples of North and West Africa in the period from 1400 to 1650. This period witnessed the diaspora of the Sephardic Jews, the emigration of Portuguese to West Africa and the islands, and the beginnings of the black diaspora associated with the slave trade. The documents show how the Portuguese tried to understand the societies with which they came into contact and to reconcile their experience with the myths and legends inherited from classical and medieval learning. They also show how Africans reacted to the coming of Europeans, adapting Christian ideas to local beliefs and making use of exotic imports and European technologies. The documents also describe the evolution of the black Portuguese communities in Guinea and the islands, as well as the slave trade and the way that it was organized, understood, and justified.

    • Offers English translations of key Portuguese texts
    • The only general work on the Portuguese in North and West Africa
    • The only documentary collection of its kind
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Newitt's Portuguese in West Africa is clearly the best of the recent collections of documents in English about the Portuguese presence in the early modern world. Instructors seeking to include materials about Europe's encounter with Africa before the eighteenth century will find coherent sets of readings here, as well as just enough context to frame effective discussions. And specialists in the history of Anglophone or Francophone Africa should also benefit from the readings on the Portuguese presence in Northwest and West Africa, along with useful bibliographic references." - H-Net

    "Given the great importance of the Portugese as sources for the early history of West Africa, it has been a shame that it is impossible to provide students with good translations of the best primary sources. Malyn Newett has now attempted to do this, in a well produced and translated selection of original sources on the Portuguese sources in West and West Central Africa....On the whole, this book is a useful teaching tool and likely to be useful for a long time to come." - John K. Thornton, Boston University, International Journal of African Historical Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511771637
    • contains: 7 maps
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Portuguese in Morocco
    2. The early voyages to West Africa
    3. The Atlantic islands
    4. The upper Guinea coast and Sierra Leone
    5. Elmina and Benin
    6. Discovery of the kingdom of Kongo
    7. Angola, Paulo Dias and the founding of Luanda
    8. The slave trade
    9. Conflict in the kingdom of Kongo in the 1560s
    10. Christianity in the Kongo
    11. The Angolan wars
    12. People and places.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • African American History I
    • African religion and culture in the Americas
    • Medieval World
    • Religions in Africa
  • Editor

    Malyn Newitt, King's College London
    Malyn Newitt is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at King's College London. He is the author or editor of twelve books on Portuguese colonial history, including A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, as well as multiple journal articles.

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