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A Mysterious Race

A Mysterious Race image
Parent Issue
Day
3
Month
September
Year
1897
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

That white races of inysterious origin and of an advanced grade of civilization exist in certain of the as yet unexplored pinte ,s oí África has long been a matter of traditiou among all those who have devoted their attention to the ethnographical and geographical science of the dark continent, and Rider Haggard and other English novelists have found in reports bearing upon the subject the theme of niauy of their most popular stories. But uo attention has been drawu as yet to the f act that in the iuterior of San Jago, the largest of the Cape Verde islands, which nestle in the Atlantic off the most westerly point of northorn África, there exists a strange people known by the name of the Cantadas, wbo for 300 years past have beeu absolutely cut off froru all intercourse with the onter world, and who are fair haired, ligbt complexioned and .blue eyed, whereas the remaining popnlation of the Cape Verde islands consists of negroes and of Portuguese, who are almost as swarthy and somber in color as full blooded Africans, Clear and sbarp against the sky line of San Jago the mountain of San Antonio towers aloft in a pinnacle to the height of some 8,000 feet. In form it conveys the iinpressiou of au ancient volcano, with its sbarp slope on the side toward the sea, but on the inland side the declivity is broken by a sort of cup shaped interval, at the farther end of which there is the sturup of what seeins in times gone by to have constituted a second peak, of equal height to San Antonio, but which, through some great cataclysm of nature, has been broken off some 4,000 or 5,000 feet above the common base. Strangely enough, the peak of San Antonio is accessible to clever inountaineers, whereas tbe sister mountain - that is to say, the broken off peak - is quite the reverse. From the point where it rises from the surrounding desert table land there is nothing but a steep wall of volcanic rock, not rnerely hundreds but probably a couple of thousand feet high. Indeed the only point whence access could ever be obtained to the summit of the sister tuouutain of San Antonio would be from the cuplike interval which divides the two, and mention of which has been made above. This cup, however, is fllled with water and is known by the name of the Cantadas lake. It is a great sheet of water of marvelousdepth and clearness. On this farther end of the lake, and in the interior of this sister mountain of San Antonio, dwells the mysterious white race known as the Cantadas. Distrustful, apparently, of the gaze of strangers, these people of the mountain seldom leave their habitations during daytime, and on the slightest alarm of visitors they seek the shelter of the rock. But by hiding on the opposite cliffs until evening and with the aid of glasses it is possible to get a good view of them when they begin at sunset to gather on the grassy meadow which fronts the opening of the caves and extends dowu to tbe water's edge. Beautiful, fair haired, white skinned girls, ciad in flowing white linen garments, which scarcely conceal the sinuous beauty of perfect grace and form, come out to wasb liuen in the lake and to sport on the cool green grass. The men, too, are simply dressed in much the same way, their white linen garments being admirably suited to the tropic climate. Many other signs of a high degree of civilizatiou appear, and from certain points near the summit of San Antonio it is possible, with the aid of strong glasses, to catch glimpses through flssures here and there in the wall of rock of the twin mountain, of sheep and cattle grazing, of green fields and trees and of white, fiat roofed houses running parallel with one another, all brilliantly lighted by thesun, and therefore leading to the belief that the interior of this sister mountain of San Antonio must be hollowed out into some valley, possibly the cráter of an extinct voloano, which, through some freak of nature, has been converted from barren basalt and lava into grassy and fertile slopes. An intrepid explorer would not have great difficfilty in reachiug the Cantadas people. ÁT1 that would be necessary would be to ascend the San Antonio peak, to descend on the other side until one reacbed the cliffs that overhang the Cantadas lake, to have oneself lowered by means of a rope to the surface of the latter and then to swim across the lake, which may be anywhere from four to six miles in length. Certain scientists who have investigated the tradition and minors that exist about the Cantadas among the jnhabitants, African and Portuguese, of the Cape Verde islands, are inclined to the belief that they are of Cornifíh origin. This theory is due to the fact that what is stated to be their tongao resembles the dialect of the natives of Cornwall more than any other kuown

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Subjects
Ann Arbor Argus
Old News