Six African nations
There are separate Augnet pages in this website about the following six African nations:
Algeria, Benin, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Portuguese Augustinians ministered on the island of São Tomé, and in parts of present-day Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and Angola from 1622 to 1738. Augustinian presence in Africa followed the Portuguese flag, although other religious orders were present earlier and in greater numbers. The Portuguese Augustinians focused more on Brazil in South America.
The island of São Tomé (Saint Thomas) in the Gulf of Guinea was an early African outpost for the Portuguese. Located in western Africa, it is a small island in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of the current African nation of Gabon. The Portuguese discovered São Tomé in 1470 and settled it with colonists and slaves. Franciscans were present at the beginning, and by 1494 African priests trained in Lisbon were sent to the island. Augustinians came early in the 16th century and remained until 1594, returning at a later time. An Augustinian, Gaspar Cão O.S.A., reached there as bishop in 1554, and died there in 1574. He had many disputes with the governor of the island. Complaints led the Pope to order an ecclesiastical trial in which the Bishop was acquitted of the charges against him. In 1571 Gaspar Cão founded a seminary which lasted until his death in 1574.
In the same period he sent Augustinians to Warri. Another Augustinian, Pietro de Cunha Lobo O.S.A. was bishop there in 1615-1623. The Dutch conquered the island in 1637. The final Augustinian bishop there was Custodio Santa Aria O.S.A. in 1805-1816. In 1561 the Christians of Angola and the Congo they had received a visit from Gaspar Cão O.S.A. at Sao Tome. It was from Sao Tome that the Augustinians established missions on the west African coastal mainland. Two Augustinians in 1572 established an Augustinian priory at the Portuguese port on the African coast in the old Congo (i.e., where the nation of Gabon exists today) under the direction of Gaspar Cão O.S.A., and another foundation in present-day Angola. Another twelve Augustinians arrived from Portugal late in 1572, while Gaspar Gaspar Cão O.S.A. was the first Bishop of Sao Tome. Six more came to minister at Sao Tome the following year, but two of them were killed by Arrochelezian heretics while disembarking.
Portuguese Augustinian involvement in Africa and the Gulf followed on the heels of Portuguese territorial footholds in the region. Naval explorer and seafarer Vasco de Gama, sailing from Lisbon on 8th July 1497, sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and anchored at Mozambique in March 1498. He proceeded thence to Kilwa and Mombasa, then flourishing cities, and to Malindi. From there he sailed to Calicut in India (28th May 1498).
In 1499 de Gama returned and took possession of Zanzibar, where he established an Augustinian convent. These religious settled at Paté and Mombasa, while the Dominicans settled at Mozambique and the Jesuits in the valley of the Zambesi. This was not a vision of Christian mission with the more noble nature of later centuries. The Portuguese mentality of the day was predatory more than developmental, and some of its citizens were ready to use the "advancement of Christian religion" as a cover for getting rich quickly by plundering the Muslim ports. The Portuguese attitude towards the Muslim religion was hostile because of the negative collective memory of the Muslim occupation of Portugal not many generations beforehand.In 1499 the sailor and explorer Vasco de Gama returned to the Indian Ocean and took possession of Zanzibar, where he established an Augustinian convent. After initial Portuguese action against Kilwa and Mombasa, Afonso de Albuquerque took over the fleet in 1506 and attacked Arab shipping, turning the Indian Ocean into a Portuguese lake. In 1507 the Portuguese took Soqotra, and island inhabited by Christians off the horn of Africa, Hormûz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and on the Arabian side of the gulf, Suhâr and Muscat in `Umân. In 1510 the Portuguese took Goa (now part of India). They made it a base for operations in Africa and the Far East. In 1513 they took Karaman, an island at the entrance to the Red Sea.
Augustinians on the East African Coast: Mombasa (the island of "Old Mombasa", today part of Kenya) in 1597 by Pedro de Nazareth O.S.A., Melinde (today in Tanzania), Muscat (today in Oman) in 1597, Mogadishu (today in Somalia), Zanzibar (an island, today part of Tanzania: http://www.zanzibar-island.com/zanzibar/zanzibar.gif )
Location of former Augustinian missions:
Pemba is an island just north of Zanzibar: http://www.zanzibar-island.com/zanzibar/zanzibar.gif Melinde (on mainland) = Malindi in today's Kenya Kilwa is an island 2 kms off Tanzania Mogadishu is in Somalia Zanzibar an island, part of Tanzania Suhar and Muscat are in Oman, in the Middle East rather than on the African continent.
For the first time in its history the Augustinian Order came to the Republic of South Africa in the early years of this century. At the invitation of Archbishop Wilfred Napier, O.F.M., and following the prayers of the Augustinian Sisters at Botha's Hill, the Order of Saint Augustine established a mission within the Diocese of Durban. Having the Augustinian Sisters already there was an additional incentive for the friars to accept Bishop Napier’s invitation. By February 2003 the Augustinians had a parish assigned to them, Augustinians from the Eastern U.S. (Villanova) Province were responsible for the mission, but initially were assisted by Augustinians from the Anglo-Scottish and Irish Provinces, and later by the Cebu Province (Philippines).
They assumed responsibility for the Parish of Our Lady of Mercy, and bought a house as their residence in Botha's Hill, a nearby district. Botha's Hill is thirty kilometres outside of Durban, and fifty kilometres from Pietermartizburg. The Diocese of Durban contains over 160,000 Catholics but has too few priests to minister to them all. The parish given to the Augustinians has a number of Zulu mission stations attached to it. The all-too-frequent factor of a shortage of priests in the Augustinian Provinces saw the Order reluctantly withdraw from South Africa after ten years.Other African nations
There are separate Augnet pages in this website about the following six African nations: Algeria, Benin, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Timeline of Portuguese Activity in East Africa, 1498-1700. Copyright 1998 by Jim Jones of West Chester University, United States of America http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his311/timeline/t-port.htm
Map of Africa. On a map of this small magnification, centres where Portuguese Augustinians ministered in the 17th-18th centuries are not marked. Moving anti-clockwise from left to right (i.e., west to east), these places are: Sao Tome, an island in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Gabon, in the Congo and Angola on the mainland just south of today's Gabon, Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania, Mombasa, an island slightly further north, off the coast of Kenya, Muscat (Oman) in the Gulf of Oman at the top of the Arabian Sea. http://www.africaguide.com/afmap.htm