The term fetish was based on the Portuguese word feitiço, which derived from the Latin factitius and which was often used in Portugal to refer to ‘magical’ objects; it also came to be used for objects encountered by traders and missionaries in West Africa. On the basis of reports about African feitiços, De Brosses constructed a theory of a primitive phase of religion, preceding to idolatry proper, in which humans revered randomly chosen objects.