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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

The Portuguese in S.E. Africa

The Portuguese in S.E. Africa.

This man and the force at his disposal constituted the whole quasi-military force of Portugal in interior South-East Africa. On the coast, it is true—at Ibo, Angoche, Chiloane, and Delagoa Bay there were small garrisons of so-called "troops" and police—at three of these places commanded by Goanese; but they were so sickly, so ill-drilled, in a word such wretched material, that it is no exaggeration to say that all these garrisons together could not furnish fifty men for service in the interior. At Mozambique there were some 250 men, and at Quilimane 50, the greater part quite unfit for active service through climatic disease. Delagoa Bay requires every "man" of its available force for local protection and police duties. One fact will illustrate the strength of the Portuguese on the coast. When Quilimane was threatened in 1884 by the natives, the authorities and garrison took flight in boats, leaving the British and foreign merchants under Mr. F. Moir, of the African Lakes Company, to meet and repel the enemy, which; they gallantly did near Mopea, quite unassisted by the Portuguese. At lnhambane, north of Delagoa Bay, bodies of so-called "Zulus" are enlisted by the Portuguese. Though not really Zulus, and indifferent fighting material, they are sufficiently good for acting against the interior native tribes, wretchedly armed and, generally speaking, spiritless peaceable agriculturists. These Zulus were employed by Serpa Pinto on his famous (or infamous) expeditions against the Makololo and on the Shire, the principal object of their employment page 72 being to keep together the main body of his expedition, a slave force drawn from the slave prazos in the neighbourhood of the Quilimane River.