Ca Da Mosto

In: English and Literature

Submitted By writeonpoint
Words 985
Pages 4
Ca da Mosto’s account in An Early Portuguese Encounter with West Africans tells historians that Europeans perceived West Africans as uncivilized and inferior. This perception is exhibited through Ca da Mosto’s description of the West Africans’ lack of wealth, different beliefs, lack of knowledge and violent disposition. Ca da Mosto seemed to believe that wealth indicates how civilized someone is and how honest they are. During his initial voyage to West Africa, Ca da Mosto speaks of how highly the king is regarded, how trustworthy he is and how fair he is. It becomes clear, however, that his perception of the king is related more particularly to his wealth which is the only thing that he constantly references. He mentions that the king, “paid royally for what was brought to him.”[1] He spoke of how the king promised to give him one hundred slaves in exchange for the goods he received and how the king gave him a “handsome young negress.”[2] During his trip to the king’s home, Ca da Mosto went to the local market. There, he observed that “these people are exceedingly poor.”[3] He based this on their clothing, the products they purchased and the fact that they only bartered for items because no one had any money. He was also unable to find any gold. After realizing the poverty, it becomes obvious that Ca da Mosto’s view of the country had completely changed from somewhat positive to negative. He decided to go farther up the river, “in the hope of finding better disposed peoples.”[4] Ca da Mosto constantly makes references indicating that the West Africans had strangely different religious beliefs. Their actual religious denomination is never stated but Ca da Mosto’s account makes it clear that they are non-Christian. He considers their beliefs to be based on a lack of knowledge and somewhat ignorant as compared to Christianity. When he saw them they…...

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