In 1623 Richard Jobson published an account of a 1620-1621 English voyage up River Gambra, during which a party, led by himself, penetrated to a point some 460 miles up-river. The purpose of the voyage was to make contact with the gold trade of the West African interior, but in this there was little success. However, Jobson’s account of the river, its commerce, natural history, peoples, religions and polities, was the earliest to appear in print, in this fullness of detail, in any language. It was also the earliest detailed account of any part of Black Africa, by an Englishman. Jobson’s account, almost entirely original, has special interest in its author’s observations on the African scene, particularly those on the African peoples and individuals encountered. Jobson discusses such topics as local agriculture and trade, the role of Islam, political culture, and the position of women. Despite the limits of his experience, his observations are seemingly accurate and generally perceptive, as well as being (perhaps unexpectedly) often tolerant and even sympathetic.
Routledge is pleased to be the publisher for the Hakluyt Society.
The Hakluyt Society has for its object the advancement of knowledge and education, particularly in relation to the understanding of world history. The society publishes scholarly editions of primary sources on the 'Voyages and Travels' undertaken by individuals from many parts of the globe. These address the geography, ethnology and natural history of the regions visited, covering all continents and every period over the last two thousand years. Such texts, many previously available only in manuscript or in unedited publications in languages other than English, are the essential records of the stages of inter-continental and inter-cultural encounter.
Established in 1846, the Society has to date published over 350 volumes. All editions are in English. Although a substantial number of the Society's past editions relate to British ventures, with documentary sources in English, the majority concern non-British enterprises and are based on texts in languages other than English. Material originally written in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French or Dutch has regularly appeared, material in Russian, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, Chinese, Persian or Arabic occasionally.
All editions contain an introduction and scholarly annotation, giving both the general reader and the student a degree of assistance in understanding the material and providing guidance on the relevance of the episodes described, within the context of global development and world history. Volumes are often generously furnished with maps and contemporary illustrations.
Information about the Society may be obtained from the Administrative Assistant at the following address:
Hakluyt Society, c/o Map Library, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DG, UK