Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/181

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
167
PORTUGUESE EAST AFRICA

Towards the end of the 16th century the Portuguese posts on the Zambezi were attacked by hordes of savages known as Muzimba, and Tete and Sena were destroyed. The captain-general of Mozambique—the province had been again attached to the Indian viceroyalty—was only able to make peace on promise not to interfere with matters which concerned only the native tribes. Thereafter the Portuguese often had to defend even the coast towns from attacks by the Bantus. Still they held one or two posts in the interior besides those on the Zambezi. Of these the chief appears to have been Masapa, on the river Mansovo, i.e. Mazoe, in what is now Mashonaland, and about 150 m. by road from Tete. Near Masapa dwelt the monomotapa, an insignificant chieftain, the power of the Makalanga having been broken by revolts of once subject tribes and by dissensions among the Makalanga themselves. In 1629 a treaty was concluded with a claimant to the chieftainship who embraced Christianity. This man, known as the Monomotapa F ilippe, declared himself a vassal of Portugal, and with the help of Dominican friars and a number of half-breeds established his authority.

The Portuguese, however, failed to make any effective use of their East African possessions. Among the causes of their non-success in the years immediately following the period of conquest must be reckoned the “Sixty Years' Captivity” (1580–1640), when the Spanish and Portuguese crowns were united, and the neglect of Africa for the richer possessions in India and the Far East. A more important and permanent reason for the non-development of Mozambique province was its unhealthy and enervating climate, which prevented European colonization. The few thousands of Portuguese who went out were chiefly officials, and they and the small body of planters led in general a life of indolence and debauchery. Commerce too was hampered and good government rendered impossible through the system of farming out the administration to officials who were in return granted a monopoly of trade, and even when this system was abandoned trade was confined to Portuguese subjects[1] But for many years the Jesuits and Dominicans were unceasing in their endeavours to win the native races to Christianity, the friars being the most energetic section of the white community. The first Jesuit missionaries began work in the province in the neighbourhood of Inhambane in 1 560; in the same year another Jesuit, Goncalo da Silveira, made his way to the zimbabwe (chief kraal) of the monomotapa, by whose orders he and his converts were strangled (March 16, 1561). Mission work was soon afterwards begun by the Dominicans and the two orders between them had agents spread over the greater part of the country from Mozambique southward. They gained thousands of at least nominal converts, notably the heir of one of the monomotapas, who was baptized in 1652 and who, renouncing his heirship, became vicar of the convent of Santa Barbara in Goa. But during the 18th century the zeal of the missionaries declined; in 1759 the Tesuits were expelled, and two years later the Dominicans were sent to Goa. At that time they had been, together with a few white, Goanese and half-caste traders, for fully a century practically the only representatives of Portugal in the interior (the towns on the Zambezi excepted). Portugal's influence was confined to helping one tribe in its quarrel with another, in return for favours received. The Portuguese were quite unable to take advantage of the disunion of the natives to establish their own supremacy. The exhaustion and enfeeblement of Portugal had, in short, its natural effect in Africa. In the early years of the 18th century the Arabs wrested from the Portuguese their African possessions north of Cape Delgado; the Dutch, French and British had been for some time menacing their trade and possessions in the south. In 1604, 1607 and again in 1662 the Dutch unsuccessfully attacked Mozambique, which was also attacked by the Arabs in 1670. The merchants of Sofala and Mozambique had, since the middle of the 17th century, found a new source of wealth in the export of slaves to Brazil, a trade due directly to the capture of the ports of Angola by the Dutch (1640–1648), but 1 Until 1853, when commerce was made free to all nations. continued until nearly the middle of the 19th century.[2] Other trade declined steadily, the continual state of warfare among the tribes of the inland plateaus greatly reducing the production of gold.

In 1752 the government of the East African possessions was again separated from that of Goa, and twenty years later Francisco ]osé Maria de Lacerda e Almeida, a man of high attainments, made governor of the province at his own request, endeavoured to reform the administration. Lacerda is chiefly remembered for his journey to the heart of Central Africa, where he died in October 1798. Lacerda had conceived the idea of establishing a chain of Portuguese posts across the continent from Mozambique to "Angola, and his statesmanlike prescience was shown by his prediction that the seizure of Cape Town by the British would lead to the extension of British rule over Central Africa, thus isolating the Portuguese provinces on the east and west coasts. After Lacerda's death a state of apathy and decay was again manifest throughout Portuguese East Africa. During the greater part of the 19th century the country south of the Zambezi was devastated by hordes of savages of, Zulu origin (see Gazaland).

The discoveries of David Livingstone in the Zambezi basin in the period 1850–1865 attracted the attention of the British to those regions and led to the establishment of British settlements at the southern end of Lake Nyasa and in the Shiré highlands. These events aroused anxiety in Lisbon, which was increased when the British obtained a prepondering influence in Matabele, Mashona and Manica lands-the lands of the earlier monomotapas. With sudden energy the Portuguese engaged in the “ scramble for Africa, ” and though the result was disappointing to the patriotic feelings of the people they secured from their powerful neighbours-Great Britain and Germany—much better terms than might have been anticipated, having regard to the extremely limited area over which they exercised any sort of jurisdiction. The story of the partition is set forth fully in Africa, § 5.. Before the “scramble” began, Portugal had been fortunate in securing, in 1875, as the result of arbitration, complete possession of the fine harbour of Delagoa Bay, the southern half of which had been claimed by Great Britain in virtue' of acts of annexation in 1823 and later years.

The pressure of political events and the commercial activity of her rivals induced Portugal to take steps to develop the agricultural and mineral resources of the territory secured to her by international agreements. Imitating the policy of Great Britain, charters conveying sovereign powers were granted to the Mozambique Company in 1891, and to the Nyasa Company in 1893. Both these companies, as well as the Zambezi Company (which lacks a charter), undertook to open up the territory committed to their care. In all of them British capital is largely engaged. The total decay of Sofala, the removal of the seat of government from Mozambique to Lourenco Marques, the rise of the last named port and of Beira (both largely dependent on the transit trade with British possessions), all served to mark the changed condition of affairs. An agreement concluded in 1909 between the Transvaal and Portugal gave Delagoa Bay from 50 to 5 5% of the import trade with the Transvaal, the Portuguese agreeing further to facilitate the recruitment of natives in the province for work on the Rand mines. The development, in the early years of the 2oth century, of rubber, rice, sugar and other plantations also gave anew impetus to commerce.

Bibliography.—E. de Vasconcellos, As Colonias portuguezas, pp. 212-299 (2nd ed., Lisbon, 1903) and A. Negreiros, La Mozambique (Paris, 1904). The last named, somewhat untrustworthy in the historical sketch, is valuable for its flora and fauna sections. For the regions south of the Zambezi see R. C. F. Maugham, Portuguese East Africa (London, 1906) and Zambesia (London, 1909) 0 Terriiorio de Monica e Sofala . . . 1892–1900 (Lisbon, 1902), a monograph prepared by the Mozambique Company; Commandant Smits, “La Compagnie a charte de Mozambique” in Le Mouvement géographique

of Brussels (1906). For the districts north of the Zambezi
  1. Until 1853, when commerce was made free to all nations.
  2. Slavery was not abolished until 1878.