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A Portuguese expedition to the Kingdom of Kazemba

GAMITTO, Antonio Candido Pedroso.
O Muata Cazembe e os povos Maraves, Cheva, Muiza, Muembas, Lundas e outros da Africa austral.
Lisbon, Imprensa Nacional, 1854. 8vo. With 22 hand-coloured lithographed plates, and a folding lithographed map (45 x 28 cm), hand-coloured in outline. Contemporary straight-grained, gold-tooled black sheepskin, gilt edges. XXV, [1 blank], 501, [1 blank], [2] pp.
€ 9,000
First edition of this valuable narrative recording a trade mission to Kazembe IV. It was the last of three major Portuguese expeditions to connect the Portuguese territories of Angola in the west with Mozambique in the east. The expedition, fitted out with only one instrument (a compass), suffered from poor planning and failed in its objective to establish trade contacts with the Kingdom of Kazambe (in present-day Zambia). However, Gamitto, second-in-command of the expedition, was an observant traveller with a genuine interest in the customs and traditions of the peoples he encountered, and his narrative records valuable ethnographic information on the Malawi, the Cewa and Tumbuka, the Bisa, the Lunda, and the Bemba. Gamitto was the first to observe that the Malawi were matrilineal and described in full detail several technical processes and customs that have since disappeared. The fine plates show views, artefacts, and portraits, providing an excellent visual record of south-central African culture. One plate loose; two pages with annotations in pencil. Otherwise a fine copy. Mendelssohn I, p. 586; not in Gay, Bibl. de l'Afrique et l'Arabe; cf. Cunnison, "Kazembe and the Portuguese 1798-1832", in: Journal of African History, vol. 2 (1961), no. 1, pp. 61-76; Marwick, "An Ethnographic Classic Brought to Light", in: Africa vol. 34 (Jan. 1964), no. 1, pp. 46-56.
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