A. See http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/acko/hd_acko.htm
The Cross Part 4
Substantial evidence exists to support the agreed Christianity Conversion in West Africa...Reference A states that Quote"Missionary documents from the seventeenth century claimed that they had found a people who believed in a single god but did not know his name."Unquote. and clearly the Cross on Swords in the region comes from that situation. This process took an opposite view to the way the Spanish did it by force compelling them to convert in South America and the Portuguese suggested that the West Africans had already found God but simply had not realized it. All they actually needed to do was convince them that this was what they already believed in ...an entirely different approach and one which was highly successful...
What I have trouble with is the time line... Notwithstanding the discussion I admire very much the picture below of the Church being constructed in the early period of Portuguese presence in West Africa which I think is about 1491 although I cannot be certain.This is from #165 on http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...11&page=6&pp=30
Please note the two chieftains at right with swords at the waist in typical West African machete style and consider the hilts in this finely engraved picture which so far as I can see is very accurate. Observe the Lion or big cat hilts.
Sri Lanka, however,was not discovered until 1505 by the Portuguese thus this hilt form must be local by definition. I add that big cats lived in the region of course... and that the regal and powerful symbol of the chieftains was seen as enhanced with hilts of this nature. Top class carvers were common in the African region and multiple group carved examples of a highly complex nature were in fact highly prized trade items for the Europeans even before the advent there of slavery.
The cross insignia was dominant across the spectrum and it is acknowledged that crosses on swords and crucifixes were worn by chiefs deliberating on tribal matters..Ivory carvings were made of Portuguese soldiers (in the traditional African style) adorned with Crosses.
Below the famous scene of the Church being built and another cross decorated weapon from the region is shown for interest.