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What Africans Got for Their Slaves: A Master List of European Trade Goods1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2014


A great deal has been written in recent decades about the Atlantic slave trade, including the mechanics and terms of purchase, but relatively little about what Africans received in return for the slaves and other exports such as gold and ivory. And yet, if one is trying to reconstruct the material culture of, say, the Guinea Coast of West Africa during the slave-trade period, the vast European input cannot be ignored.

The written evidence consists of many thousands of surviving bills of lading, cargo manifests, port records, logbooks, invoices, quittances, trading-post inventories, account books, shipping recommendations, and orders from African traders. English customs records of commerce with Africa during the eighteenth century, when the slave trade peaked, alone contain hundreds of thousands of facts. A thorough analysis of all available data would call for the services of a research team equipped with computers, and fill many volumes. Using a portable typewriter (now finally abandoned for WordPerfect) and a card file, and sifting hundreds of published sources, I have over the years compiled an annotated master list of European trade goods sold on a portion of the Guinea Coast from Portuguese times to the mid-nineteenth century. The geographic focus is the shoreline from Liberia to Nigeria; from it more slaves left for the New World than from any comparable stretch of the African coast. I call the area “Kwaland” for the Kwa language family to which nearly all the indigenous peoples belong.

Research Article
Copyright © African Studies Association 1995

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I am indebted to History in Africa's anonymous readers and Christopher R. DeCorse for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. By “European trade goods” I mean those sold (not necessarily made) by Europeans and also by their American, Caribbean, and Brazilian counterparts.



2. A few notable studies of European trade goods have, however, been published. Herbert's, Eugenia W.Red Gold of Africa (Madison, 1984)Google Scholar devotes considerable space to cuprous imports. See esp. chapter 6, “Manillas, Neptunes, Rods, and Wire,” 123-53. Sundström's, LarsThe Trade of Guinea (Uppsala, 1965)Google Scholar [republished in New York in 1974 as The Exchange Economy of Pre-Colonial Tropical Africa] is strong on cuprous merchandise too (217-51) and also on textiles (147-86) and iron goods (187-216). Curtin's, Philip D.Economic Change in Precolonial Africa: Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade (Madison, 1975)Google Scholar covers the whole range of European commodities (237-66, 309-28) but I found his discussion of iron bars (240-47) especially helpful. The Journal of African History (henceforth JAH) has carried three important articles on the firearms trade: Kea, Ray E., “Firearms and Warfare on the Gold and Slave Coasts from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries,” 12 (1971), 185213Google Scholar; Inikori, J.E., “The Import of Firearms into West Africa, 1750-1807: A Quantitative Analysis,” 18 (1977), 339–68Google Scholar; and Richards, W.A., “The Import of Firearms into West Africa in the Eighteenth Century,” 21 (1980), 4359.Google Scholar For a useful summary of the European bead trade to Africa, see Dubin, Lois Sherr, The History of Beads from 30,000 B.C. to the Present (London, 1987), 100–51.Google Scholar Cowrie imports are fully detailed in Hogendorn, Jan and Johnson, Marion, The Shell Money of the Slave Trade (Cambridge, 1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar British exports to Africa are surveyed in Davies, K.G., The Royal African Company (London, 1957), 165–79Google Scholar; Richardson, David, “West African Consumption Patterns and Their Influence on the Eighteenth-Century Slave Trade” in Gemery, Henry A. and Hogendorn, Jan S., eds., The Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic Slave Trade (New York, 1979)Google Scholar, and Johnson, Marion, Anglo-African Trade in the Eighteenth Century, eds., Lindblad, J.T. and Ross, Robert (Leiden, 1990)Google Scholar, French exports in Berbain, Simone, Le comptoir français de Juda (Ouidah) au XVIIIe siècle (Amsterdam, 1968), 8288.Google Scholar Dahomey's European imports are studied in Peukert, Werner, Der atlantische Sklavenhandel von Dahomey, 1740-1797 (Wiesbaden, 1978), 134-51, 170–78.Google Scholar

Other useful recent publications include Jones, Adam, tr. and ed., German Sources for West African History, 1599-1669 (Wiesbaden, 1983)Google Scholar; idem, tr. and ed., Brandenburg Sources for West African History, 1680-1700 (Stuttgart, 1985); Metcalf, George, “Gold, Assortments and the Trade Ounce: Fante Merchants and the Problem of Supply and Demand in the 1770s,” JAH, 28 (1987), 2741CrossRefGoogle Scholar; idem, “A Microcosm of Why Africans Sold Slaves: Akan Consumption Patterns in the 1770s,” JAH, 28 (1987), 377-94; de Marees, Pieter, Description and Historical Account of the Gold Kingdom of Guinea (1602), tr. and ed. van Dantzig, Albert and Jones, Adam (Oxford, 1987)Google Scholar; Law, Robin, ed., Correspondence from the Royal African Company's Factories at Offra and Whydah on the Slave Coast …, 1678-93 (Edinburgh, 1990)Google Scholar; idem, ed., Correspondence of the Royal African Company's Chief Merchants at Cabo Corso Castle with William's Fort, Whydah, and the Little Popo Factory, 1727-1728 (Madison, 1991); idem, ed., Further Correspondence of the Royal African Company … Relating to the ‘Slave Coast,’ 1681-1699 (Madison, 1992); Makepeace, Margaret, ed., Trade on the Guinea Coast, 1657-1666: The Correspondence of the English East India Company (Madison, 1991)Google Scholar; Tattersfield, Nigel, The Forgotten Trade (London, 1991)Google Scholar; Hair, Paul, Jones, Adam, and Law, Robin, eds., Barbot on Guinea (2 vols.: London, 1992).Google Scholar

3. Marion Johnson computerized the information from gigantic annual ledgers for the years 1699 to 1808. Her labors produced a data set of about 34,000 records containing about half a million figures. Unfortunately, there was no breakdown in the ledgers by African coastal region. See Johnson, Anglo-African Trade. Data on merchandise carried to Africa by 338 British vessels between 1662 and 1700 are also being analyzed. They were obtained mainly from a register of outbound cargoes kept by the Royal African Company, and specify which part of the coast the goods were targeted for. See Eltis, David, “The Relative Importance of Slaves and Commodities in the Atlantic Trade of Seventeenth-Century Africa,” JAH, 35 (1994), 241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

4. The Congo/Angola coast ran this region a close second, and some Africanists would place it first in slave exports. But for me, the weight of evidence favors Liberia-to-Nigeria, once roughly known as “Lower Guinea.”

5. I prefer the term “Kwaland” to “Lower Guinea” (see The European Introduction of Crops into West Africa in Precolonial Times,” HA, 19 [1992], 13) for its greater precision.Google Scholar Many Kwa-speaking peoples are linked not only linguistically but by their primordial yam-and-oil-palm agriculture, their highly developed market systems, their pantheons reminiscent of those of ancient Mediterranean and Indo-European civilizations, their exceptional artistic creativity, and a remarkable strain of individualism.

6. Thornton, John, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 (Cambridge, 1992), 4445.Google Scholar

7. Eltis, David and Jennings, Lawrence C., “Trade between Western Africa and the Atlantic World in the Pre-Colonial Era,” American Historical Review, 93 (1988), 957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

8. West Africans could make cotton cloth, but not in the multitude of weaves, textures, patterns, dimensions, and colors available in India and Europe. Their range of local dyes was so limited they would unravel imported fabrics to obtain colored threads. Their lack of flax, suitable sheep, and requisite moth larvae ruled out production of linen, wool, and silk. West Africans could smelt and forge iron, and cast cuprous objects by the lost-wax process, but manufactured only a limited range of metal products, often using raw material imported from Europe. They relied almost exclusively on Europeans for metal receptacles; Akan kuduo (cast-brass ritual vessels originally of Muslim inspiration) and forowa (shea-butter containers made of European sheet brass) were rare exceptions. West Africans could repair guns but almost certainly not make them, nor gunpowder. In a few places they remelted glass, but there is no firm evidence they could make it from scratch. They could not make a mirror. And so on.

9. Curtin, , Economic Change, 312.Google Scholar

10. See, e.g., Isichei, Elizabeth, The Ibo People and the Europeans (London, 1973), 5154Google Scholar, and Rodney, Walter, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (London, 1983), 111.Google Scholar Such statements, which have been rebutted by a number of Africanists but die hard, ignore the business acumen of African merchants who dealt with European slave buyers. They knew good commodities from bad, and how to play off one European trader against another to their own profit. It was, indeed, a sellers' market.

11. During the eighteenth century, for example, nearly two-thirds by value of exports (or re-exports) from England to Africa consisted of textiles, and metal goods formed the next largest group. Johnson, , Anglo-African Trade, 9, 10, 27.Google Scholar Johnson makes the odd comment that the vast majority of English exports were not “of practical use” because they were “consumption goods,” as if consumption were not the primary end of all economic activity.

12. Hopkins, A.G., An Economic History of West Africa (London, 1973), 111.Google Scholar

13. Ratelband, K., ed., Vijf dagregisters van het kasteel São Jorge da Mina (Elmina) aan de Goudkust (1645-1647), (The Hague, 1953), 385–87.Google Scholar

14. Bosman, William, A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea, new ed., intro., Willis, John Ralph, notes, Fage, J.D. and Bradbury, R.E. (London, 1967), 91.Google Scholar

15. Postma, Johannes M., The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1815 (Cambridge, 1990), 103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar “1728” is misprinted as “1628” in the text.

16. Two sources have been particularly useful for definitions: Irwin, John and Schwartz, P.R., Studies in Indo-European Textile History (Ahmedabad, 1966)Google Scholar, and Chaudhuri, K.M., The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company, 1660-1760 (Cambridge, 1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, appendix. 4. See also Rinchon, Dieudonné, Le trafic négrier d'après les livres de commerce du capitaine gantois Pierre-Ignace-Liévin van Alstein (Brussels, 1938), 100–01Google Scholar; Johnston, John, The Journal of an African Slaver, 1789-1792, intr. Plimpton, George A. (Worcester, Mass., 1930), 56Google Scholar, and Berbain, , Comptoir, 7879.Google Scholar

17. These include armozeens, atchibanees, birds eyes, boelangers, buckshaws, caddy, cambay, cossaes, chicolis, chowtars, coupis, coutils, culgees, cuslees, cutchalee, dimity, dungarees, gujarat, harlequins, hobbantams, hoo-hoos or humhums, jamdannees, madras, morees, nantebas, nillias, paeth, palampores, patnas, pelets, pelongs, sarry, seernickers, sendal, sextrasoys, tajaes, and tapanees. Some, like patnas, madras, and gujarat, refer simply to the city or region the cloth came from. Others may be variant spellings of major items, e.g., chicolis and chercolees.

18. The Hindi word for cloth, pati, was often added to textile names and corrupted by Europeans into peaux, paux, pauts, paats, pants, pouts, pot, potts, pauls, etc.

19. Johnson, , Anglo-African Trade, 29.Google Scholar

20. Bowdich, T. Edward, Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee (3d ed.: London, 1966), 331, 332.Google Scholar

21. Possibly an imitation of a cotton strip cloth made in old Benin (Nigeria), though some sources suggest Indian origins. The Dutch were manufacturing annabas by the 1670s and the English soon copied them.

22. Ryder, Alan, Benin and the Europeans, 1485-1897 (London, 1969), 340.Google Scholar

23. Marees, Description, 231. The author of a description of Benin City, (ibid., 226-32), is identified only as D.R., generally considered to have been Ruiters, who published a trade and navigational guide to Guinea in 1623.

24. Ibid., 39. The so-called “fathom” was somewhere between 28 and 38 inches.

25. Ibid., 27.

26. Ibid., 34.

27. Jones, , German Sources, 170, 203-05, 218, 257.Google Scholar

28. Barbot, John, A Description of the Coasts of North and South Guinea, in Awnsham, and Churchill, John, A Collection of Voyages and Travels (6 vols.: London, 1732), 5:274.Google Scholar Future page references will be to vol. 5 of Churchill. The 1732 version of Barbot has been largely superseded by Hair/Jones/Law, Barbot on Guinea, but this statement was omitted, presumably because it was derivative. I have not been able to find the original source.

29. Davies, , Royal African Company, 176.Google Scholar The length of pieces varied so the total yardage is a guess.

30. Marees, , Description, 39, 52.Google Scholar Marees used the term rupinsche, which stumps his translators, but in the 1640s Gold Coasters were reportedly tearing Dutch perpetuanas into strips to make belts. Ratelband, , Vijf dagregisters, cvii.Google Scholar

31. Jones, , German Sources, 203, 205, 257.Google Scholar

32. Marees, , Description, 52.Google Scholar

33. Kea, Ray A., Settlements, Trade, and Polities in the Seventeenth-Century Gold Coast (Baltimore, 1982), 208–09.Google Scholar

34. Marees, , Description, 51.Google Scholar

35. Davies, , Royal African Company, 176.Google Scholar

36. Berbain, , Comptoir, 78, 85.Google Scholar

37. Yes, bandannas originated on the subcontinent, not in the American West. Both longees and sastracundies were sometimes identified as handkerchiefs.

38. Chaudhuri, , Trading World, 503.Google Scholar Indian handkerchiefs used in the French trade are said to have been half an ell square, or 23.4 inches. Rinchon, Dieudonné, Pierre-Ignace-Liévin van Alstein, capitaine négrier, Gand 1733-Nantes 1793 (Dakar, 1964), 18.Google Scholar

39. Dapper, Olfert, Naukeurige beschrijvinge der afrikaensche gewesten (Amsterdam, 1668), 491.Google Scholar

40. Tattersfield, Forgotten Trade, passim.

41. Enfield, William, An Essay Towards the History of Leverpool (2d ed.: London, 1774), 84.Google Scholar

42. Ibid.

43. The European derivation of various garments and shoes is embedded in Kwa languages. In Ghana's Twi, the nineteenth-century German lexicographer J.G. Christaller recorded fraka for frock, koto and kotu for coat, tros for trousers and, along with other observers, kamisa for shirt, from the Portuguese camisa, and asepatere for shoes, from the Portuguese sapato. He also traced the Twi word for handkerchief, duku, to the Danish dug or the Dutch dock. Christaller, , A Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language Called Tshi (Chwee, Twi), (Basel, 1881), passim.Google Scholar

44. Makepeace, , Trade on the Guinea Coast, 32.Google Scholar

45. Davies, , Royal African Company, 236.Google Scholar

46. Ibid., 355.

47. Jones, , German Sources, 87.Google Scholar

48. Ibid., 88.

49. Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 348–49.Google Scholar

50. Barbot, , Description, 274.Google Scholar This statement was omitted in Hair/Jones/Law, Barbot on Guinea, presumably because it was derivative, but I have not found the original source. Ludwig Ferdinand Römer, a Danish trader on the Gold Coast in the 1740s, was told bedsheets were used for menstrual rags. Either the sheets were cut or torn into suitable pieces, or the informant was pulling his leg. Römer, L. F., Le Golfe de Guinée 1700-1750, tr. and ed. Dige-Hess, Mette (Paris, 1989), 176.Google Scholar

51. Davies, , Royal African Company, 355.Google Scholar In 1659 one English ship unloaded 950 rugs at Cormantin. Makepeace, , Trade on the Guinea Coast, 39.Google Scholar

52. Labarthe, Pierre, Voyage à la côte de Guinée (Paris, 1803), 270.Google Scholar

53. Speculation that Africans crossed the Atlantic in sailless dugout canoes (see, e.g., Van Sertima, Ivan, They Came Before Columbus [New York, 1976], 5070)Google Scholar begs the question of why the Cape Verde Islands, less than 400 miles off Senegambia and in the path of ocean currents to the New World, were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived.

54. Vogt, John, “Notes on the Portuguese Cloth Trade in West Africa, 1480-1540,” IJAHS, 8 (1975), 626-27, 644–45.Google Scholar

55. Ryder, , Benin, 340.Google Scholar See also Makepeace, , Trade on the Guinea Coast, 45Google Scholar; Tattersfield, , Forgotten Trade, 368, 378Google Scholar; Hutton, William, A Voyage to Africa, Including a Narrative of an Embassy to One of the Interior Kingdoms in the Year 1820 (London, 1821), 466.Google Scholar

56. Williams, Gomer, History of the Liverpool Privateers and Letters of Marque with an Account of the Liverpool Slave Trade (London, 1897), 546.Google Scholar

57. Marees, , Description, 116.Google Scholar

58. Jones, , German Sources, 310.Google Scholar

59. Debien, Gabriel, Delafosse, Marcel, and Thilmans, Guy, eds., “Journal d'un voyage de traite en Guinée, à Cayenne et aux Antilles fait par Jean Barbot en 1678-1679,” Bulletin de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire, 40B (1978), 344.Google Scholar

60. Hair, /Jones, /Law, , Barbot on Guinea, 2:531.Google ScholarBarbot, , Description, 267–68Google Scholar, speaks not of “plant roots” but of “a sort of cloth of the bark of trees, having long hairy threads, like the Coco-tree, which they spin and weave into a sort of canvas.” The Barbot on Guinea editors do not explain the change.

61. Isert, Paul, tr. and ed. Winsnes, Selena Axelrod, Letters on West Africa and the Slave Trade: Paul Erdmann Isert's Journey to Guinea and the Caribbean Islands in Columbia (1788), (Oxford, 1992), 136.Google Scholar

62. Donnan, Elizabeth, Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America (4 vols.: Washington, 19311935), 1:262.Google Scholar

63. Ibid., 1:256.

64. Ibid., 2:445.

65. Williams, , History, 550.Google Scholar

66. Davies, , Royal African Company, 351.Google Scholar

67. Gongs served in Kwaland both as musical instruments and town criers' bells.

68. Herbert, , Red Gold, 140–42.Google Scholar

69. Blake, John W., Europeans in West Africa, 1450-1560 (2 vols.: London, 1942), 1:107Google Scholar; Magalhães-Godinho, Vitorino, L'économie de l'empire portugais aux XVe et XVIe siècles (Paris, 1969), 383Google Scholar; Garrard, Timothy F., Akan Weights and the Gold Trade (London, 1980), 73Google Scholar; Herbert, , Red Gold, 126.Google Scholar

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71. Magalhães-Godinho, , Economie, 373–75Google Scholar; Garrard, , Akan Weights, 105, 124n25Google Scholar; Herbert, , Red Gold, 127–28.Google Scholar

72. Vogt, John, “The Portuguese Gold Trade: An Account Ledger from Elmina, 1529-1531,” Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, 14 (1973), 94.Google Scholar Vogt's actual figure is 0.6 kg.

73. Garrard, , Akan Weights, 105, 124n26Google Scholar; Herbert, , Red Gold, 201.Google Scholar

74. Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 500.Google Scholar Another Dutch source puts the figure at 5 1/3 oz.: Ratelband, , Vijf dagregisters, xcviii.Google Scholar

75. Buchanan, K.M. and Pugh, J.C., Land and People in Nigeria (London, 1961), 240Google Scholar; Herbert, , Red Gold, 201.Google Scholar

76. Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 510.Google Scholar He does not say how many manillas to a keg.

77. Nigerian manillas were about 60-65% copper and 25-30% lead. Lead started to be added to the English product by at least the 1720s, and to the Dutch commodity perhaps in the seventeenth century, if a reference by Dapper to “gray copper arm rings” being traded at New Calabar implied a lead alloy. Some Nigerian manillas that were turned in contained traces of silver and gold. Herbert, , Red Gold, 99, 202, 351n75Google Scholar; The Nigeria Handbook (London, 1953), 70Google Scholar; Buchanan, /Pugh, , Land and People, 240Google Scholar; Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 510.Google Scholar

78. For more about manillas see Herbert, , Red Gold, passim, esp. 126-29, 136-37, 139-42, 201–05Google Scholar, and Sundström, , Trade of Guinea, 234–36.Google Scholar

79. Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 510.Google Scholar The Dutch ell was about 27 inches. I have converted Dapper's figure for the weight, 1 1/4 lbs., to the rough avoirdupois equivalent, the Dutch pound equaling 1.09 English pounds. Records of the Brandenburg fort of Gross-Friedrichsburg on the Gold Coast for 1685 and 1686 have rods weighing between a pound and a pound and a half. Jones, , Brandenburg Sources, 101, 132, 136, 137.Google Scholar But English records for the early eighteenth century put the weight at under a pound. Tattersfield, , Forgotten Trade, 360, 368, 374.Google Scholar

80. Ratelband, , Vijf dagregisters, cii.Google Scholar Again I have converted to avoirdupois pounds.

81. Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 510, 511.Google Scholar

82. Ratelband, , Vijf dagregisters, ciiciii.Google Scholar

83. Davies, , Royal African Company, 230.Google Scholar

84. Hair, /Jones, /Law, , Barbot on Guinea, 2: 678, 704n22, 709n49.Google Scholar

85. Dapper, , Naukeurige beschrijvinge, 510.Google Scholar

86. Two feet long, says Waddell, Hope Masterton (Twenty-Nine Years in the West Indies and Central Africa, [2d ed.: London, 1970], 247)Google Scholar, referring to the rod after it was split into wires; about 18 inches, says Northrup, David (Trade Without Rulers: Pre-Colonial Economic Development in South-Eastern Nigeria [Oxford, 1978], 163)Google Scholar, also referring to the wires; somewhat over two feet, says Talbot, P. Amaury (The Peoples of Southern Nigeria [4 vols., new impression, London, 1969], 3:875)Google Scholar; about the size of a small stair-carpet rod, says Burns, Alan C. (History of Nigeria [5th ed.: London, 1955], 289)Google Scholar; about three feet long, says Latham, A.J.H. (Old Calabar 1600-1891: The Impact of the International Economy upon a Traditional Society [Oxford, 1973], 76).Google Scholar

87. For more about the rods, see Herbert, , Red Gold, 137-39, 170, 195200Google Scholar, and Latham, , Old Calabar, 23, 7679.Google Scholar

88. Beecham, , Ashantee and the Gold Coast, reprint (London, 1968), 375.Google Scholar

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90. Donnan, , Documents, 2:539.Google Scholar

91. Garrard, , Akan Weights, 9394.Google Scholar

92. Marees, , Description, 192–94.Google Scholar At least some of it was obtained from European coins.

93. Hair, /Jones, /Law, , Barbot on Guinea, 2: 562n4.Google Scholar

94. d'Elbée, Sieur, Journal du voyage du sieur Delbée, Commissaire général de la Marine, aux Isles, dans la coste de Guynée, pour l'établissement du commerce en ces pays, en l'année 1669. & la présente, appended to Jean Clodoré, Relation de ce qui s'est passé dans les Isles et Terre-Ferme de l'Amérique, pendant la dernière Guerre avec l'Angleterre, & depuis en exécution du Traitte de Breda (2 vols.: Paris, 1671), 2:449.Google Scholar

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96. Fosse, Eustache de La, “Voyage à la côte occidentale d'Afrique, en Portugal et en Espagne (1479-1480),” ed., Foulché-Delbosc, R., Revue Hispanique, 4 (1897), 180-81, 183–84.Google Scholar

97. The biggest shipment that I have come across consisted of 8,542 lbs. of copper basins carried by a Brandenburg slaver that stopped on the Gold Coast in 1698. Jones, ,Brandenburg Sources, 213–14n1.Google Scholar

98. Marees, , Description, 5152.Google Scholar The meaning of fater is uncertain but Marees's translators suggest (52n4) that such basins were used for slow cooking.

99. Ibid., 189.

100. Landolphe, Jean François, Mémoires du capitaine Landolphe, contenant l'histoire de ses voyages pendant trente-six ans, aux côtes d'Afrique et aux deux Amériques, ed. Quesné, J.S. (2 vols.: Paris, 1823), 1:118.Google Scholar

101. Jones, , German Sources, 172.Google Scholar

102. Ibid., 157, 214, 257; Marees, , Description, 171, 181Google Scholar; Doublet, Jean Francois, Journal du corsaire Jean Doublet de Honfleur, lieutenant de frégate sous Louis XIV, ed. Bréard, Charles (Paris, 1883), 255.Google Scholar

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105. Phillips, Thomas, “A Journal of a Voyage Made in the Hannibal of London, Ann. 1693, 1694, from England, to Cape Monseradoe, in Africa; and Thence Along the Coast of Guiney to Whidaw, the Island of St. Thomas, and So Forward to Barbadoes,” in Churchill, /Churchill, Collection, 6:272.Google Scholar

106. Landolphe, , Mémoirs, 1:98.Google Scholar

107. Ratelband, , Vijf dagregisters, 390–91.Google Scholar

108. Ryder, , Benin, 144.Google Scholar

109. Accounts of the Portuguese factor at Elmina Castle for 1504-07 list 3,192 chamber pots. Blake, , Europeans in West Africa, 1:107.Google Scholar

110. The Fugger contract of 1548 called for 24,000 brass urinals. Herbert, , Red Gold, 127.Google Scholar

111. Marees, , Description, 52.Google Scholar

112. Band-kettles carried in the Brandenburg trade in the 1680s weighed 6 to 7 1/2 lbs. Jones, , Brandenburg Sources, 111, 116, 139.Google Scholar

113. Marees, , Description, 52.Google Scholar

114. Ibid.

115. Davies, , Royal African Company, 356.Google Scholar Earlier, in 1662, a single English ship carried 24,612 “Boatswaines Knives” plus two hogsheads of Sheffield knives to Cormantin. Makepeace, Trade on the Guinea Coast, 120.

116. Hair, /Jones, /Law, , Barbot on Guinea, 2:560.Google Scholar

117. Jones, , German Sources, 222, 171, 204.Google Scholar

118. Landolphe, , Mémoires, 1:123–24.Google Scholar

119. Marees, , Description, 282.Google Scholar

120. Ratelband, , Vijf dagregisters, 387.Google Scholar

121. Hair, /Jones, /Law, , Barbot on Guinea, 2:680.Google Scholar

122. Barbot does say that on the Gold Coast, goldsmiths “use tools of their own designing” but could not make hammers (or anvils) which “they normally buy from the Dutch.” Ibid., 2:527. See also ibid., 2: 559, 561n2.

123. Jones, , German Sources, 254.Google Scholar

124. Garrard, , Akan Weights, 225-31, 233.Google Scholar See also Tattersfield, , Forgotten Trade, 371, 375, 377.Google Scholar

125. But those early trumpets were valveless.

126. Jones, , German Sources, 12.Google Scholar The exchange was appropriate since Kwalanders already made trumpets out of elephant tusks.

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167. See, e.g., Rodney, , How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, 111.Google Scholar Elizabeth Isichei seems to share this view when she describes trade “trinkets” as “rubbish.” Ibo People, 51. P.E.H. Hair traces this particular myth to the slave-trade era. “Abolitionists and their heirs,” he writes, “have dismissed the bead trade as exploitation through ‘trinkets and trash’, an unfeeling and censorious judgement which ignores the weight of African demand.” The Atlantic Slave Trade and Black Africa (Liverpool, 1989), 15.Google Scholar

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169. Also marguerites, margarits, margrieten, margriettes, margaritas, margaridetas. The Spaniards named a Caribbean island Margarita for its rich pearl fisheries, and African slaves were brought to do the diving.

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176. Ryder, , Benin, 61.Google Scholar Generally cowries would be carried from the Indian Ocean to Europe as ballast, then forwarded to West Africa in barrels and casks.

177. Ibid. The figure used was 3,000 quintals, or 324,000 lbs., which works out to 129,600,000 shells at a rule-of-thumb 400 Maldive cowries to the pound.

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180. Berbain, , Comptoir, 83.Google Scholar

181. An anker is usually defined as about 10 U.S. gallons, but it ranged from perhaps 4 or 5 to 16 gallons in the slave trade records.

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185. Ibid., 3:175.

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187. Richardson, David, “Slave Exports from West and West-Central Africa, 1700-1810: New Estimates of Volume and Distribution,” JAH 30 (1989), 911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar I have subtracted his figures for the decade, 1800-09.

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