Item Code: xxs137

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One of eight engravings made for:
RELATIONE - DEL RAEME DI CONGO - ET DELLE - CIRCONVIVINE CONTRADE Tratta dalli Scritte & ragionamenti - de Odoardo - Lopez Portohese PER FILIPPO PIGAFETTA...  Roma a 7 d'Agosto 1591
A Report of the Kingdom of Congo: And of the Surrounding Countries ; Drawn Out of the Writings and Discourses of the Portuguese, Duarte Lopez; by Filippe Pigafetta... Rome, 7 August 1591
Extremely rare engraving from the first Roman edition of 1591. Before the smaller woodcuts included by De Bry in the first volume of his Small Voyages in German (1597) and Latin (1598) who are based on these engravings and who are far more common.

The Catholic Kingdom of Congo (anno 1591)
Belgium has a narrow colonial connection with the African country of Congo. Still it is amazing to learn about the early discovery's by the Portugal and Spain.
See the description of the other listed prints by Duarte Lopes to read more about this.

Leo X in 1514 established the diocese of Funchal, a town on the island of Madeira, with jurisdiction over all the Portuguese discoveries from Cape Bojador to the Far East. In 1518 the same Pope gave the bishop of Funchal, who resided in Lisbon, an auxiliary for São Tomé and Congo, and in 1533 Pope Clement VII made São Tomé a separate diocese, extending from Cape Palmas to Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa. In 1597 the diocese of São Salvador in Congo was separated from São Tomé, although the bishops of this diocese hardy ever lived there. Dominicans were intermittently involved in the history of both dioceses.
In his first voyage to the mouth of the Zaïre (Congo) river in 1482 Diogo Cão made contact with representatives or vassals of the king of Congo and was allowed to take four young Congolese men back with him to Portugal. These were educated and baptized in Portugal and returned with Diogo Cã on his second voyage in 1490. Their relatives in Congo had given up all hope of ever seeing them again and were overjoyed at their return. As a result, the Portuguese and their religion were heartily welcomed. A number of Franciscans and a few Dominicans came with Diogo Cão and set to work teaching the faith with the help of the Congolese young men who returned with them.
Since Spain annexed Portugal in 1580 Spanish religious were allowed to go to Portuguese zones. In 1584 three Discalced Carmelites reached Congo, passing through Luanda. In São Salvador they met four priests (Dominicans of the 1570 mission?), the only ones in the kingdom, and King Álvaro welcomed them saying that the European religious who had come to Congo before had left their holiness north of the Equator. In 1589 they returned to Spain full of enthusiasm to recruit more Carmelites, but the new provincial wanted nothing to do with missions. There the matter ended, to King Álvaro's disappointment.
One of the Carmelites, Diego del Santísimo Sacramento, complained of white people in Congo "who have more than a thousand black slaves and in a whole year do not give them a mouthful of bread to eat and send them out to the fields like cattle to multiply." Small wonder that King Álvaro's gratitude to the Portuguese for help against the Yakas turned cool, so that he was suspected of aiding the king of Angola in resisting the Portuguese.
One of Álvaro's envoys to Rome, the Portuguese Duarte Lopes, wrote a description of Congo which was published in 1591, translated into many languages and given much publicity, paving the way for the creation of the diocese of São Salvador in 1595. In the meantime Álvaro died in 1587 and was succeeded by his son Álvaro II.


Additional Information

SKU xxs137
Picture Size 20,30 by 30 cm
Specification Print
technic Engraving
Artist Duarte Lopes
period 16th Century
School Italian
subject Discovery
rating ****

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