Even the Cows Were Amazed: Shipwreck Survivors in South-East Africa, 1552-1782
Between the 16th and 18th centuries a number of European ships involved in trade with the East came to grief on the southeast African coast, but in almost all cases there were survivors, both passengers and crew, whose stories were later recounted and written down. This book tells the stories of the survivors' experiences and examines why some parties managed to survive much better than others. Many parties undertook epic journeys on foot from the wreck site to reach places where they might be rescued. The survivors of Portuguese vessels headed north towards present-day Mozambique, where it was known that Portuguese trading vessels occasionally made anchor. The Dutch and the British, on the other hand, headed west toward the Cape. These hazardous journeys involved great feats of endurance for the survivors, who tramped by foot for hundreds of kilometers through unknown territory and met (and bartered with) local people along the way whom common stereotypes of the time demonized as hostile savages. Even more remarkably, a few parties of survivors constructed their own small ships from the wreckage and sailed off to seek rescue. All of these diverse experiences are recounted in this illustrated book with maps, enabling a reconstruction of precolonial life in the subcontinent.
Author Gillian Vernon (2013)
ISBN 143140800X, 9781431408009
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