Page:Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile - In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 volume 2.djvu/233

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


As under the Line, to the south of Abyssinia, the land is exceedingly high, and the sun seldom makes its appearance on account of the continual rains, the Galla arc consequently of a brown complexion, with long black hair. Some, indeed, who live in the valleys of the low country, are perfectly black. Although the principal food of this people at first was milk and butter, yet, when they advanced into drier climates, they learned of the Abyssinians to plow and sow the fields, and to make bread. They seem to affect the number seven, and have divided their immense multitude threefold by that number. They all agree, that, when the nation advanced to the Abyssinian frontiers, they were then in the centre of the continent. The ground beginning to rise before them, seven of their tribes or nations filed off to the east towards the Indian Ocean; and, after making settlements there, and multiplying exceedingly, they marched forward due south into Bali and Dawaro, which they first wasted by constant incursions, then conquered and settled there in the reign of David III. in 1537.

Another division of seven tribes went off to the west about the same time, and spread themselves in another semicircle round the south side of the Nile, and all along its banks round Gojam, and to the east behind the country of the Agows, (which are on the east side of the Nile) to that of the Gongas and Gafats. The high woody banks of this river have hitherto been their barrier to the southward; not but that they have often fought for, and often conquered, and still oftener plundered, the countries on the Abyssinian side of that river; and, from this reign downwards, the scene of action with the Abyssinians has constantly been on the east side of the river. All I mean is, they have never made a set-