Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 February 2021
This chapter documents and identifies the presence of several kinds of European medical practitioners in West-Central Africa. It shows that African healers were not the only ones whose practice could come under the scrutiny of ecclesiastical or secular authorities. The legitimacy of white healers was similarly discussed from time to time. In Luanda, ailing patients could theoretically go to a number of Portuguese practitioners, but in reality the number of physicians and surgeons was limited and concentrated on treating the colonial elites and soldiers serving in the military. A fair number of Africans were trained as and served as barbers in Angola and Kongo, pointing to the transfer of European medical technology to Africans. Medical pluralism reflected mostly local African practices and values, but global influences were also present in the form of the charitable brotherhoods, which ran hospitals in Luanda, Benguela and Massangano. It is also evident in the arrival of quina bark from Brazil as early as the 1720s.