Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-ttngx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-24T16:57:02.553Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

8 - ‘The colony has made no progress in agriculture’: Contested perceptions of agriculture in the colonies of Sierra Leone and Liberia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Bronwen Everill
Affiliation:
University of London
Robin Law
Affiliation:
Professor of African History, University of Stirling
Suzanne Schwarz
Affiliation:
Professor of History, University of Worcester
Silke Strickrodt
Affiliation:
Research Fellow in Colonial History, German Institute of Historical Research, London
Get access

Summary

In founding Liberia and Sierra Leone, anti-slavery colonizationists in Britain and America built on the dreams and ambitions of centuries of agricultural planning for Africa. They hoped to establish self-sufficient colonies that would contribute to the production of tropical goods for import into the metropole (‘legitimate commerce’), bases from which to operate against the slave trade, and refuges for freed slaves. From the start, however, the many advocates of legitimate commerce in both countries were disappointed by the colonists' apparent lack of enthusiasm for plantation agriculture and the failure of their mission in spreading agriculture to the indigenous Africans. Agriculture was a continual theme in writing by anti-slavery activists interested in these colonies, with new plans for its implementation regularly being formed — from the settlement of new American colonies in Liberia to the 1841 Niger Expedition's model farm. It was also a regular target of both pro-slavery forces and immediate abolitionists, who used reports of the failure of agriculture to lambast the projects. The contested perceptions of West Africa's settler agriculture were carried into the secondary literature also. Most historians of the settler colonies of Freetown and Liberia note that they ‘sought wealth through commerce’ rather than plantation-style farming. However, in both anti-slavery literature and subsequent historiography, the term ‘agriculture’ hides the multiplicity of expectations the settlers were expected to meet, from combating the slave trade, to establishing self-sufficient utopian settler communities, to spreading the message of civilisation through commerce, to providing a new free-labour arena for plantation agriculture following the abolition of slavery in the West Indies.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×