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Colonial Encounters: Issues of Culture, Hybridity and Creolisation

Portuguese Mercantile Settlers in West Africa


José Lingna Nafafé

This book explores the first encounter in the mid-fifteenth century between Western Europe and the West African Coast, arguing that it did not produce hostility, but rather a climate of beneficial mutual exchange. It examines West African pre-colonial social history and asserts that around the year 1500 West Africa became a safe haven for those fleeing political or religious persecution in Europe. Among them were mercantile settlers, Tangomãos or Lançados, known to have arrived on the West African Coast after the Portuguese explorers in 1446. They exchanged commodities, culture, religious ideas and practices with West African people. These events raise searching questions on the nature of identity and space.
Contents: West Africa: The Portuguese Agenda – West African Kingship – The Beginnings of Westernisation – The Emergence of an Afro-European Merchant Class – Religion, Ritual and Sacrifice: A Portuguese Encounter.