Pygmies


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Pygmies

 

a small people inhabiting the forests of tropical Africa. The earliest information about them is contained in ancient Egyptian inscriptions of the third millennium B.C. Other early information is obtained from ancient Greek sources, such as Homer’s Iliad and the writings of Herodotus and Strabo.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Pygmies were mentioned as Matimba in accounts of travels through West Africa. Their existence was confirmed only in the 19th century, by the German explorer G. Schweinfurth, the Russian explorer V. V. Iunker, and others who explored the forests of the Ituri and Uele river basins, where the Aka (Akka), Tiki-Tiki, Bongo (Babonga), and Twa (Batwa) Pygmies lived. Important groups of Pygmy tribes were discovered by P. Schebesta, who discovered the Bambuti Pygmies (1929–30), and M. Gusinde, who discovered the Efe and Basua Pygmies (1934–35).

Pygmies live in the forests of Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Zaire, and Rwanda. They live among the larger tribes and peoples of the Negroid race, from whom they differ physically by virtue of their short stature (between 144 and 150 cm for adult men), light brown skin, dark curly hair, comparatively thin lips, large torso, and short arms and legs. The physical type of the Pygmies represents a distinct race (Pygmoids). The total number of Pygmies has not been determined but is estimated to be between 40,000 and 200,000. Their chief occupations are hunting and gathering. Pygmies do not make stone implements, and until recent times they did not make fire but carried it with them. Their hunting weapon is a bow with iron-tipped arrows, often poisoned. They trade for iron with their neighbors.

Pygmies speak the languages of the peoples surrounding them, including Efe, Aswa, and Kimbuti. Pygmy dialects have certain phonetic distinctions, but so far no distinct Pygmy language has been identified.

D. A. OL’DEROGGE

References in classic literature ?
As for the Pygmies, their capital city was laid in ruins by the concussion and vibration of the air; and, though there was uproar enough without their help, they all set up a shriek out of three millions of little throats, fancying, no doubt, that they swelled the Giant's bellow by at least ten times as much.
But once more Hercules warded off the stroke with his club, and the Giant's pine tree was shattered into a thousand splinters, most of which flew among the Pygmies, and did them more mischief than I like to think about.
What a wailing did the poor little Pygmies set up when they saw their enormous brother treated in this terrible manner
As soon as the Pygmies saw Hercules preparing for a nap, they nodded their little heads at one another, and winked with their little eyes.
It was finally decided that the whole nation of Pygmies should set to work to destroy Hercules; not, be it understood, from any doubt that a single champion would be capable of putting him to the sword, but because he was a public enemy, and all were desirous of sharing in the glory of his defeat.
Accordingly, all the fighting men of the nation took their weapons, and went boldly up to Hercules, who still lay fast asleep, little dreaming of the harm which the Pygmies meant to do him.
As a great many thousand Pygmies were employed in this task, they soon brought together several bushels of inflammatory matter, and raised so tall a heap, that, mounting on its summit, they were quite upon a level with the sleeper's face.
At last, however, looking narrowly on the ground, he espied the innumerable assemblage of Pygmies at his feet.
Some writers say, that Hercules gathered up the whole race of Pygmies in his lion's skin, and carried them home to Greece, for the children of King Eurystheus to play with.
UMOJA Festival," a peace festival to end conflict between the Pygmies and Bantus will be held from July 26 to 28 near Bukavu, a city in the eastern part of Congo.
I also set my own research among the Sua Pygmies of Uganda against these other examples.
between the large Luba ethnic group and minority Pygmies in