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1486 Mission To Benin (Ruy De Pina: Discovery Of Benin) - Culture - Nairaland

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1486 Mission To Benin (Ruy De Pina: Discovery Of Benin) by samuk: 11:36pm On May 21
1486 mission to Benin

1486 Ruy de Pina: Discovery of Benin - Tr. from J.W. Blake, Europeans in West Africa (London, 1942), 2 vols.; this part is from vol. 1, 78-9

In this year [1486] the land of Benin beyond Mina in the Rios dos Escravos was first discovered by Joham Affom da Aveiro, who died there. The first Guinee pepper came to Europe from that land, where it grows in great abundance. Samples of it were sent to Flanders and other places, and it was soon popular and selling for a high price.

The king of Benin sent as ambassador to King João one of his captains, a negro from a seaport town called Gwato, because he desired to learn more about Europe, whose people were regarded there as an unusual novelty. This ambassador was a man of good speech and natural wisdom. Great feasts were held in his honour, and he was shown many of the fine things of Europe. He returned to his land in one of the King's ships, who gave him on departing a gift of rich clothes for himself and his wife. Through him he also sent to the king of Benin a rich present of such things he knew the king would like very much. He also sent through the ambassador some holy and Catholic words of advice, with a praiseworthy appeal to embrace the Faith, rebuking him sternly for the heresies and gross idolatrous and fetish practices which are so common among the negroes of that land.

New commercial agents of King João went with the ambassador to reside in that land and buy pepper and other things of interest to the King's business. But because the land was later found to be very dangerous from sickness and not so profitable as had been hoped, the trade was abandoned.


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