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B.2 Ch. 25: Gold From Asia and Africa

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126                          SOFALA, SHUPANGA                   book ii
beautiful horses, which were all that remained out of thirty he had taken from his country, the others having died in the vessel when crossing the sea from Mocha to Surat. Also a number of young slaves of both sexes ; and finally, this being the most important and worthy to be admired, there was a tree of gold 2 feet 4 inches high, and about 5 or 6 inches round the stem.1 It had ten or twelve branches, some of which were nearly half a foot long and an inch broad, others being smaller. In some parts of the large branches there was to be seen some roughness, which in a manner resembled buds. The roots of this tree which had been thus naturally formed, were small and short, the longest not being more than 4 or 5 inches.
The people of this Kingdom of Monomotapa, knowing the time that the calicoes and other goods arrive at Sofala 2 and Shupanga, come punctually to provide themselves with what they require. Many Cafres from other Kingdoms and Provinces also come, and the Governors of these two towns sell them calicoes and other things of which they have need, trusting for the payment which they undertake to make the following year by bringing gold, to the amount agreed upon ; for if the Governor did not trust them thus there would be no trade between the Portuguese and the Cafres. It is almost the same with the Ethiopians who every year carry gold to Cairo, of which I have spoken in my account of the Seraglio of the Grand Seigneur. These people of Monomotapa do not live a long time on account of the bad water in their country. At the age of twenty-five years they begin to be dropsical, so that it is considered a marvel when they exceed forty years in age. The Province where the river Sena rises is called Moukaran,3 and belongs to another King, commencing at 100 leagues or thereabouts above
1  This description suggests a manufactured article, but it is possible that it was really, as Tavernier supposed, a natural arborescent nugget.
2  Sofala, a district and town on the East African coast, the most remote settlement towards the south made on that coast by the Arabs (Yule, Hobson-Jobson, 849 ; Barbosa, ed. Dames, Hakluyt Society, i. 6 ff. Shupanga is situated on the lower Zambezi (Eney. Brit., xxviii. 952).
3  Sir H. H. Johnston kindly writes: ' Sena is the lower Zambezi: Moukaran is probably the country of Karana or Karanga '.
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