Duarte Lopes

Birth: 1550

Death:1600

The Portuguese merchant Duarte Lopes provided one of the earliest European descriptions of Central Africa. In 1578, he became the ambassador of Congo’s King Alvaro II to the pope and to Philip II of Spain. He argued for the Congo’s need for missionaries and for the advantages of free trade. His papers were published by Fillipo Pigafetta (1533-1604) in 1591, and remained one of the chief sources for information concerning central Africa up to the middle of the nineteenth century.

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