Sunday, May 31, 2015

the last book I ever read (American Warlord by Johnny Dwyer, excerpt two)

from American Warlord: A True Story by Johnny Dwyer:

The first European contact on the Liberian coast occurred when a Portuguese explorer named Pedro de Cintra came ashore in approximately 1461. De Cintra immediately discovered a valuable commodity: an abundance of melegueta pepper, which the locals used to season food. He also encountered an insurmountable language barrier with the indigenous tribes who lived along the coast. As a way to document his discovery, the explorer kidnapped a tribesman and brought him back to Lisbon, hoping this man would elaborate on this strange and unknown land to geographers there. The journey north did little to make the two men more comprehensible to each other, and after the ship arrived in Lisbon, the geographers fared no better in understanding the tribesman. After some time—and with the help of a slave woman—their interrogations were finally able to reveal one fact of this unexplored land: it was home to unicorns.

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