Early in his life Avelino Teixeira da Mota spent four years in what was then Portuguese Guinea. In that time he gained a lasting interest in the region and the role of Portugal in the history of that part of Africa (Teixeira da Mota, 1969: 4). It was only natural given his major contribution — work on Portuguese cartography in the age of discovery — that the centre of his study of west Africa should be the early voyages of Portuguese explorers and traders along that coast.