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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Gouveia

Gouveia.

The chief instrument of the Portuguese in carrying out their professions of "occupation" in these territories was the man named Gouveia (who met his death in 1892, when fighting a powerful neighbouring chief named Makombi, in what was known among the Portuguese as the "guerra de Makombi"), of whom a good deal was heard in connection with the Manika affair. Amongst the weak and unwarlike tribes of South-Eastern Africa this Goanese adventurer, Gouveia, otherwise known as Manuel Antonio de Soura, was regarded with feelings of mingled terror and detestation. And it is a matter of reproach to a nation which makes loud boast of its enlightenment and civilisation that the terror inspired by such an agent should be the sole machinery which they possess to govern and control (and practically shut off from all the ameliorating influences of trade and commerce) many small tribes of unwarlike natives powerless to resist. Gouveia, the worthy "capitão-mór" of the Gorongoza province, had done considerable service for his employers. He had been, as I say, the repulsive instrument employed by them in all their "little wars," and, as occasion arose, had been told off and commissioned to punish or (to use the expressive native term) "eat up" recalcitrant native chiefs that did not at once appreciate the blessings of being brought under Perta page 71 guese influence by jumping at the offer of their flag. This is the usual mode of establishing a footing with the simple-minded native chiefs;—the first, and frequently the only, step in Portuguese "occupation." Gouveia was a man of considerable strength of character, had a large force of armed blacks under his command, and not being too particular about his methods of warfare, he had inspired great dread among the various chiefs.

One of the so-called "Zambesi Princes," he had, by means of an annual subsidy, the arms liberally supplied, and the support generally accorded him by the Portuguese, gradually gathered around him at his capital a body of probably as great scoundrels as that part of the world could produce. He had also, like "Colonel Ignacio de Xavier" (near Tete) and other Zambesi Princes, a very-large number of slaves, and others whose servitude is hardly distinguishable from slavery.