Mittwoch, 20. Januar 2016

Island Paradise Guinea Bissao

Archipelago de Bijaos

Río Géba Delta

Historic References in GUINEA BISSAO / West-Africa to the ancient Nassau County

Dipl. Biol. Peter Ulrich Zanger

Historical background of the site names Ilha do Orango and Bissau

Internet literature sources that could light up the origin of the geographic site names Orango and Bissau situated in the river delta of the Westafrican Geba River are difficult to find. To base this article on a realistic data fundament a more profound study including a visit seems to be necessary. The meanwhile here compiled conclusions are constructed with available data of simple internet researches and assumptions of probabilities and plausibilities.

From Goreé Island at Dakar the here described sites are distanced 418 kilometers (260 miles) to south-south-east along the African westcoast. In a previous article of this publication series Goreé has been described as initially founded by portuguese sailors as place where during later historic periods (1617-1664) existed the Nassau and Orange Fortresses, later conquered by British naval forces and renamed under french colonial administration. Reliable reasons of the expulsion of the trade posts and naval forces established under direction of the Dutch-German House of Nassau-Orange from Goreé Island are so far unknown, but there is a suspicion, that slave-trade or human right violations on the island could have played a role in the forced "change of flags".

Map of African West-Coast between Dakar (Goreé Island)
and the Geba-River-Delta with Orango Island and City of Bissau
Source : Wikipedia

The first obvious interrelations, that could be an indication, that both sites, Goreé and Orango/Bissau, could have been named mutually during the 1544-1677 period, are the foundation of numerous trade posts at the Upper Guinea Coast by portuguese sailors since 1546, that subsequently "came down from Goreé" and the slave trade started and organized by them with their ships.

But also obvious is, that the contemporary historiography suffers the tendency to simplify and to reduce complex historic interrelationships. So it is rather improbable, that ONLY THE PORTUGUESE started the foundation of slave trade posts on the Bijagos Archipelago. And even if such an spacial monopolization should have existed, the slave selling and transport structures demand a necessarily relationship between the Bijaos Archipelago and Goreé. Nowadays that former existing relationship for example is reflected in the town twinning between Dakar and City of Bissau.

Furthermore, the literature describes the inhabitants of Orango Island and the whole Bijaos Islands as "slave hunters" that trapped and sold neighbour tribes to the portuguese slave traders. Other sources mention the indigenous tribes BISSAGOS or BIJUA as "rather strong, seagoing warriors" and consider their country as "densely populated, volcanic rock islands, surrounded by numerous cliffs, but for Europeans extremely unhealthy". That latter description (from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 6. Edition, Volume 3., Page 2 1905) suggests, that certain slave traders lost their ships to these black tribes that later learned how to use the conquered vessels for proper "black" naval campaigns.

Already these descriptions allow to conclude, that or a parallel naming and successive name change from Nassau to Bissau, or a symbiontic naming and name parody might have been the reason for the second Orange/Nassau site at the Westafrican Coast.

Painting "A perfect Slave-Ship Rebellion" by Runoko Rashidi
Evidence, that after the loss of Goreé new activities in the Western African region where planned from Germany (but not Nassau-Oranien)  is the commissioning of the shipowner and captain Benjamin Raule in service of the Netherland Westindia Company to start an expedition with the aim of "land acquisition in Upper Guinea, the construction of a Fort and the landing of war-people" on behalf of the Prince Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg. The project started in 1681 with the departure of the frigates "Wappen von Brandenburg" and "Morian", but the known details of their following enterprise are related to the more southern Gold Coast that paralelly also was named "Guinea Coast". Also the aim "Cabo tres Puntas" indicates that the target of the expedition was again Cap Vert. (Cited from: Bernd G. Längin (2005) Die Deutschen Kolonien. Kolonialpioniere - Die Preußen in Afrika, S. 19)

"Upper Guinea" today literally is coincident with the region, where in 1614 portuguese sailors established trade posts and founded the colony "CACHEU", administraed from the Cape Vert Islands (as cited in German Wikipedia / History of Guinea Bissao). There, in the Geba River Delta, was founded officially related with Portugal in 1692 the settlement Bissau. In 1696 the construction of a Fort was started there, but already in 1707 the fortification was demolished again ordered by "Portuguese" that furtheron retrieved from that place. In the following time "dominated the French", what indicates, that also Dutch, German and British where active in the area (as cited in : German Wikipedia  / History of Bissau - Früh- und Gründungsphase bis 1753).

Much later, in 1931, the travel data from the famous german female pilot Elli Beinhorn register a visit at Bissau the 1st February of 1931 and a following longer stage in the Achipelago de Bijaos area, where she registered the islands with airphotography, referring especially to the "Island of Bubaque" that at that time was adminstrated by Germany. Also the existence of a representance of the german WOERMANN LINE SHIPHOLDER in Bissau is mentioned in this context. The latter shipping company was founded in 1885 with the special task to establish passenger and freight transport to the german colonies, what suggests, that Guinea  Bissau had "a certain colonial connection with Germany" (cited from : German Wikipedia - Elli Beinhorn - 1. Afrikaflug 1931).

The until here compiled data provide enough evidence, that the site names Orango Island and Bissau stand in a certain relationship with other foundations with same or similar name on iniciative of the House of Nassau-Oranien influence area in Europe, literally Netherlands (Holland), Luxembourg and West Central Germany (Nassau County).

Description of Bijagos Islands and Bissau

The actual situation does not allow to edit an description only based on data exclusively from Internet. 

Electronic and print media in Germany provide since 26. December 2013 numerous unverifyable informations about the outbreak of an "virus-epidemia" and report the loss of human lifes focussed on the geographical area in mention here. The so called "EBOLA" phenomenon was offset for the media main emphasis on "European refugee crisis" as connected to the beginning to a massive migrational movement from subsahara towards mediterranean south coast and the following "boat people desaster".

Both, the "Ebola-event" with estimated 11.000 victims between 26.12.2013 and 31.12.2015 and the sinking of hundreds or thousands small vessel in the mediterranean sea with unknown dimension of victim numbers would indicate a politically unacceptable situation. 

Reasons of the "epidemia" have to be cleared up, possible massive intoxication causes must be found and related to the responsables. (See here : Comparation of Ebola-symptomatic with Minamata Desease, ...)

Meanwhile a description of the culture and life of the inhabitants of the affected region is not allowed, unaware of their current situation of life.

Parallel to the "Ebola-Outbreak" can be observed in the electronic mass media a subtile, psychological relationing of the epidemia with "Botteled drinking water from aid deliveries". Also direct contaminations of drinking water from equipments of water supply with formaldehyde are mentioned in latest publications. Water in arid regions as far as comes from aid delivery has a meaning as military factor. Mass medias psychological warfare shouldn´t play with that term for not to risk greater balanced conventions. By that way generated paranoia could affect more than limited local areas.

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