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Early Contacts with Europe

Author: nick on 14-09-2013, 20:00, views: 2 525

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Herodotus' account of trade in West Africa (49 BC-42 BC)
 
A merchant ship cast anchor on a strange shore, the merchants went on land, laid out their presents and retreated to show their friendly intentions. After sometime the natives appeared, set out their exchange presents and disappeared so as not to scare away the other party. Then the merchants returned and examined the goods laid out. If they approved, they took them away and left their own ones behind. If not, they took some of their presents away and thus made a new offer. This game went on until the offers on both sides were balanced and everyone was satisfied, and thus transaction concluded.
 
(in Eyo, 1979: 12)

The first Europeans with whom the people of Ikot Abasi established contacts were the Portuguese. These were mostly traders and a few Christian missionaries. In their exploration of the West Coast of Africa in search of gold, Christian allies including the legendary Christian King, Prester John, the sea route to India and further knowledge of geography (Crowder, 1966: 67), the Portuguese came into contact with the Andoni probably in 1472 (Ejituwu, 1991: 66) and by the sixteenth century they had also begun slave trading in Calabar (Isichei, 1976: 42). Within a few years after their arrival on the coast, the inhabitants of the Ikot Abasi area committed themselves to the Atlantic trade with the Portuguese through the Andoni middlemen.

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Category: Early History and Trade Contacts

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