National Geographic : 1907 Nov
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 730 Traveling in Pre-railway Days, Portuguese East Africa forms of native amusement, and are in dulged in all over the country about the time of full moon. The music of the drums is the most general form of ac companiment, and many of the people become astonishingly expert in beating them. The number of drums used at one time is as a rule three, and this num ber is never allowed to exceed five or six, although on one occasion, when I was in Maravi's main town, close to Mozambique, I witnessed a dance in which over 2,000 persons took part, to music furnished by over thirty drums. On this occasion three immense rings were formed, and the drums were sta tioned a little way off. This was the most imposing festivity of the kind at which I have been present." Mr Maugham gives an interesting sum mary of Portuguese exploration and set tlements in Sofala and Mozambique. When the F )rtuguese came in 1502 they found the region ruled by an Arab sul tan, whose vessels traded in slaves and gold and ivory along the East African coast. The region was fabled for its wealth, and, in fact, Mr Maugham be lieves that the wild jungle in which he hunted was "the legendary Land of Ophir" itself; "that land to which King Solomon of old sent the vessels which enriched his treasury and enhanced his influence, and to which the ancient Phoe nicians sent their fast-sailing argosies, to return laden with the riches of the land of Punt." No part of the world arouses greater curiosity or is veiled in deeper mystery than the hinterland of Portuguese East Africa and the neighboring territory of Mashonaland and Rhodesia, where the ruins of many cities surrounded by walls of solid masonry have been found, but not a single inscription to tell of their in habitants or age.