Barbot on Guinea
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Jean Barbot, who served as a commercial agent on French slave-trading voyages to West Africa in 1678-9 and 1681-2, in 1683 began an account of the Guinea coast, based partly on his voyage journals (only one of which is extant) and partly on previous printed sources. The work was interrupted by his flight to England, as a Huguenot refugee, in 1685, and not finished until 1688. When Barbot found that his lengthy French account could not be published, he rewrote it in English, enlarging it even further, and then continually revising it up to his death in 1712. The manuscript was eventually published in 1732. Barbot's book had considerable influence on later European attitudes to Black Africa and the Atlantic slave trade and in modern writings on both subjects is frequently cited as evidence. The French account serves as the base for the present edition and is presented in English translation but additional material in the later English version is inserted. The edition concentrates on Barbot's original information. He copied much from earlier sources - this derived material is omitted but is identified in the notes. The original material, mainly on Senegal, Sierra Leone, River Sess, Gold Coast and the Calabars, is extensively annotated, not least with comparative references to other sources. Apart from its narrative interest, the edition thus provides a starting point for the critical assessment of a range of early sources on Guinea. The edition opens with an introductory essay discussing Barbot's life and career and analysing his sources. Barbot provided a large number of his own drawings of topographical and ethnographical features, in particular drawings of almost all of the European forts in Guinea. Many of these illustrations are reproduced. This volume covers the coast from the River Volta to Cape Lopez. The main pagination of this and the previous volume (2nd series 175) series is continuous. This is a new print-on-demand hardback edition of the volume first published in 1991.