Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Fans, a numerous and powerful people of West Central Africa, who since the middle of the century have been steadily advancing from the interior towards the coast, where they have been settled for some years in the Ogoway and Gaboon basins. The national name Fan (plural Ba-Fan), means "man," and occurs in several forms, such as Faon, Fanwe, Panwe, Paouin, Pahouin, this last being generally adopted by French writers. On the seaboard they form two great divisions, the Make-Fan or Osyeba, south of the Ogoway, and the Mbele-Fan or Mpangwe, north of the Ogoway, both subdivided into endless tribal groups, all speaking dialects of the same language, which seems to be remotely allied to the Bantu family, and all sharply distinguished in their physical appearance from the surrounding negro populations. The features are feumore regular, the complexion much lighter, and often inclining to a yellowish hue, the hair less kinky, the beard fully developed, the figure tall, slim, shapely, and muscular. They have a sinister look, and seldom laugh; but are brave, intelligent, and even truthful and trustworthy. The Fan domain extends inland for an unknown distance, in the direction of the Niam-Niam people, whom they resemble in their pronounced cannibal tastes, in the manner of dressing the hair, in the use of bark coverings, vegetable dyes- for painting the body, many-pointed iron darts, leopard skins worn by the chiefs, and in many other respects. They are excessively fond of ornaments, intertwining the hair with feathers and beads, encircling neck and waist with strings of cowries and buttons, while many of the women are so overladen with copper bangles, armlets, and anklets, as to make locomotion almost impossible. Nevertheless, they are the most vigorous and industrious of all the peoples on the seaboard, skilled forgers and armourers, potters, boat builders, and husbandmen. In the regions known to the whites they number at least 200,000 souls, and here they are increasing rapidly, both by constant migrations from the interior and by the natural increase of births over deaths. Hence they are much feared by all the neighbouring peoples, whom they tend to crowd out or enslave, and whom they easily overmaster wherever they present themselves. (Capt. Burton, Gorilla Land, i.; Winwood Reade, African Sltetch Book, i.; Oscar Lenz, SMzzen aus W. Afrilta, Berlin, 1878; S. de Brazza, Bull. de la Sac. de Geographie, 1877.) Fanshawe, Sir Richard, born in Hertfordshire in 1608, and educated at Cambridge, was employed by Charles I. as resident-minister at Madrid. In 1641 he returned to take up arms for the king, but, being made prisoner at the battle of Worcester, remained for several years in captivity. After the Restoration he was sent first to Ireland, then to Portugal, where he negotiated the king's marriage, and lastly to Spain, in which country he died in 1666. Among other literary performances he translated Guarini's Pastor Fido and the Lusiad of Camoens into English verse.