Mundo Shields

Who are the Mundo?

Mundo weapons

A Mundo shield in the Pitt Rivers collection

African shields in general

Who are the Mundo?

Extract from Schweinfurth's The Heart of Africa (1878)


The fact is, that Mundo is the name ordinarily given by the Bongo to a small tribe calling itself Bubackur, which has contrived to wedge in its position between the borders of the Bongo and the Niam-niam. On the eastern limit the Bongo denote the Niam-niam themselves by this name of Mundo... (p 99 [vol I])

...All the Niam-niam of whom I was able to make inquiries assured me that the natives of Mundo are a distinct people, differing from themselves both in habits and in dialect; their precise ethnographical position I could never determine, but I should presume that they approximate most nearly to their Mittoo neighbours on the north, and more especially to the Loobah and Abakah. This Mundo or Moodoo is not to be confused with the Mundo to the south of the Bongo, which Petherick reports that he visited in February 1858; it is the western enclave of the scattered Babuckur... (p130 [vol II])

...On my previous wanderings I had skirted about three-fourths of the frontier of the Babucker territory. ... I was able to obtain from the soldiers of the Seriba some particulars of the country of which I had seen the natives largely represented among the slaves of the various settlements at which I had sojourned. The Babucker must either have migrated to their present quarters from the south, or they must be the remnant of a nation that has been constrained to make its way to the north and to the east by the advance of the Niam-niam. It is said that their dialect is found amongst some of the tribes to the south of the Monbuttoo; that is not at all unlikely as, like those tribes, they have an established system of agriculture and give great attention to the breeding of goats. Limited to an area of not more than 350 square miles, the eastern portion of this people is very much exposed to the raids of the Khartoum traders and to the depredations of the Niam-niam chieftains, who for years have considered their land as a sort of outlying storehouse, from which they could at pleasure replenish their stock of corn and cattle. By reason of the perpetual persecutions to which they have been subject, their population has gradually become more and more compressed, and their crowded condition itself probably accounts for the vigorous intensity with which they now ward off any acts of hostility; they are equally warlike and resolute; they will fight till they have shed their last drop of blood; and as cannibalism is commonly reported to be practised among them, their assailants are generally content to carry off whatever plunder is to be secured, as hastily as possible, without waiting to pursue or trying to subjugate them. Their eastern neighbours, the Loobah, though themselves harassed by the oppressors from the north, are continually at war with the Babuckur. The other portion of the Babucker has withdrawn to the frontiers of the Bongo and Niam-niam that lie between the Sway and the Tondy... the complete identity of the race, thus severed only in situation, is verified not only by the one term 'Babucker' being applied indiscriminately to the two sections, but still more by the complete similarity of the dialects, as I afterwards proved by comparing the vocabularies that I compiled. The Bongo call the western division of the Babuckur 'Mundo'...(p154 [vol II])

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Extract from Petherick's 'On the arms of the Arab and Negro tribes of Central Africa, bordering on the White Nile'
(talk given to the Royal United Service Institution at its evening meeting on Monday May 7 1860; JRUSI, iv, 13, p176)

...The Mundo tribe inhabit a hilly and even mountainous country between the equator and the first degree of north latitude: and, in preference to the bow and arrow, use the barbed lance, a shield formed of a single narrow piece of hard wood, with a boss in the centre, as a guard to the hand, and an iron projectile not unlike a bill-hook, or curved sword. Clever in the use of this instrument, the Mundo throws it with considerable address, employing it in the chase for killing antelopes, or even smaller game. If he succeeds in breaking the leg of an antelope, it has but little chance of escape, as the hunter pursues it obstinately, killing it eventually with his lance...

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