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Alemam, Joham  

Trevor Hall

of the sixteenth-century slave trading ship Santa Margarida in the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands. Not much else is known about Alemam except that on 27 December 1515 Luis Carneiro, a scribe in the Cape Verde customs house at Ribeira Grande, Santiago Island, described him as “captain.” This information appears in entries of the surviving 1513–1516 Cape Verde customs receipt book transcribed from the original Portuguese manuscript into English by historian Trevor Hall (Before Middle Passage, 2015). In outfitting a slave ship and paying customs duty on a captive he imported from West Africa, Alemam shows the growing involvement of non-Iberian Europeans in the early sixteenth-century slave trade in Cape Verde.

In 1462 another non Portuguese ship owner the Genoese Antonio de nolle Antonio de Noli had colonized the uninhabited Cape Verde Islands for Portugal transforming the islands into the center of the expanding Atlantic slave trade ...

Article

Barchi, Cesare de  

Trevor Hall

based in Portugal whose merchant ships traded between the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands and Valencia, Spain. Nothing is known about his family. Barchi’s reason for renown was that during the last two decades of the fifteenth century his ships transported thousands of enslaved Africans from the Cape Verde Islands to Valencia. Although not much is known about Barchi himself, his business opens a window into the working and scope of the Old World Atlantic slave trade from the Portuguese archipelago in Cape Verde Islands, West Africa to Spain.

During the fifteenth century Portugal had a monopoly over European maritime trade with West Africa. Although the Treaty of Alcáçovas (1479) and the protocol of Tordesillas (1494 prohibited non Portuguese ships from trading with sub Saharan West Africa the treaties permitted European merchants to trade with Portuguese islands off the West African mainland The Portuguese crown established customs ...

Article

Kofi  

Jeremy Rich

anticolonial slave rebel leader, was born somewhere in southern Ghana sometime during the early eighteenth century. His name was extremely common in Akan-speaking communities such as the kingdom of Asante. Kofi was shipped from his homeland across the Atlantic and eventually made his way to the Dutch colony of Guyana. Kofi was said to have been a domestic servant. He worked with Accara and several other men to organize a major revolt along the Kanje River. On 23 February 1763 slaves rose up and burned plantations beginning at the Magdalenenburg settlement They also killed over thirty white settlers A yellow fever epidemic scoured the colony and provided Kofi with the perfect opportunity to launch the attack The goal of the rebels was to flee from the colony A small military expedition ordered by the Guyanese colony s governor Van Hogenheim failed utterly to curb the rebels Settlers from the ...

Article

Makandal  

Jeremy Rich

slave revolt leader in Saint-Domingue (Hispaniola), was born sometime in the early eighteenth century in Africa. Some specialists believe he came from a Muslim community somewhere in West Africa, because he sometimes made references to Allah. However, others have suggested that his name might originally come from a Kongo word for talismans or amulets, makwonda. To make matters more complicated, Makandal probably developed his esoteric spiritual practices in part from traditions he encountered after he was transported to the French colony of Haiti (known as Saint-Domingue before the Haitian Revolution).

Whatever his origins Makandal suffered like so many slaves on the island He was assigned to process sugar on a plantation slaves boiled down sugar cane in infernally hot mills Makandal lost an arm in an industrial accident at the plantation of Le Normand de Mézy in the northern Haitian district of Limbe parish Since he could no longer ...

Article

Peters, Thomas  

Jeremy Rich

leader of African-American settlement in Sierra Leone, was born sometime around 1738. Some sources contend Peters was born in a Yoruba-speaking community in what later became Nigeria, but the lack of documentation makes identifying his origins extremely difficult. These same accounts contended he came from a wealthy family, but that he was captured by rivals and sold to Europeans. It is clear that he was brought to Louisiana by French slave traders around 1760 aboard the ship Henri IV. Since French ships purchased slaves from Senegal to Congo and Madagascar, his background is unknown. Peters managed repeatedly to escape different slave masters in the 1760s and early 1770s Later accounts claimed Peters was branded whipped and tortured for his rebelliousness At some point a wealthy slave owner named William Campbell purchased Peters and put his new acquisition to work at a mill in Wilmington North Carolina ...

Article

Sancho, Ignatius  

Vincent Carretta

author, is now best known for the posthumously published two-volume Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (London, 1782), edited by Frances Crewe, one of his younger correspondents. Virtually the only source of information about the first thirty years of Sancho’s life is Joseph Jekyll’s anonymously published biographical preface to the Letters According to Jekyll Sancho was born on a slave ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to the Spanish colony of New Granada present day Colombia Jekyll reports that the bishop of Granada baptized him naming him Ignatius Shortly thereafter his mother died of disease and his father committed suicide rather than endure slavery The unnamed owner of the orphan brought him to England when he was two years old and gave him to three unmarried sisters in Greenwich They surnamed him Sancho because they thought that the pudgy toddler resembled the fictional Don Quixote s ...

Article

Smart, Gumbu  

Jeremy Rich

runaway slave and slave-raiding warlord, was born with the name Koko around 1750 in the town of Kalangba, later located in the Gbendembu-Gowahun chiefdom in the Sierra Leonean district of Bombali. He belonged to the Loko ethnic community.

According to oral and written accounts Smart accidentally killed one of his brothers and had to flee from Kalangba as a result A group of raiders seized the young man and sold him off to British traders based at Bunce Island on the coast of Sierra Leone Instead of being sold to the Americas like so many unfortunate Africans who were kept in bondage on Bunce Island Gumbu ended up working for British traders His English masters were so impressed by his trading skills that they dubbed him Smart and he used this name for the rest of his life The English traders regularly advanced Smart trade goods such as cloth and ...

Article

Snees, Jantie  

Ray A. Kea

Cape Coast, Gold Coast (later Ghana), trader-broker and officer holder, was also referred to in the documents as “Abee Coffu Jantie Seniees,” “Jan Snees,” “Janque Senece,” or “Johan von Sinesen.” The time and place of his birth are not known. Information about him comes from contemporary trading company records (principally Danish, Dutch, and English) and published texts, which cover a period from the 1640s to the 1670s.

Jantie Snees came from a commoner background and is probably to be identified with a man named Jantie van roeye or Jantie son of the boatman who lived in Kormantse a Fante coastal town where the Dutch West Indies Company had a fort Snees was employed by the company as a trading servant or broker in the 1640s By the late 1650s he was a rich merchant living in Little Komenda a coastal town in the Eguafo polity He was one of the ...