SITTING ON A NARROW STRIP of savanna, which the Gabonese maintained between the coastal forest swamps to our left and the deep somber rainforest to our right, I thought of Andrew Battell. During the two and a half years he had lived in Loango, the seventeenth-century British merchant had maintained a healthy respect, even wariness, of these woods so “covered with baboons, monkeys, apes and parrots, that it will fear any man to travel in them alone.”...
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