Slave ports on the African Coast
By [SMITH, William] Royal African Company, 1744
A new & correct map of the coast of Africa from Cape Blanco, lat. 20° 40′ N. to the coast of Angola, lat. 11° S.
- Author: [SMITH, William] Royal African Company
- Publication place: [London]
- Publication date: 1744.
- Physical description: Engraved map with one inset, with fine original hand-colour, with manuscript annotations in ink, old folds, some with minor splitting, a few small repairs to nicks at extremities, the left margin reinforced verso, some handling creases and minor surface dirt.
- Dimensions: 490 by 660mm. (19.25 by 26 inches).
- Inventory reference: 16503
Employed as a surveyor by the Royal African Company during the 1730s and early 1740s, William Smith published a number of works associated with the continent. These included an account of his travels entitled ‘A New Voyage to Guinea’ , which was published posthumously in 1744, and a map of West Africa, published the same year. The map extends from Cape Blanco, in modern day Mauritania, to Cape Ledo in the Luanda Province of Angola.
Islands, ports, bays, rivers, hills and woodlands are represented along the coastline, with arrows besides the Gabon shore describing seasonal winds. Ships appear on the waters, and there is a compass rose above the dedicatory cartouche. On the chart, a key to the left of the land identifies the colours used to represent French, English, Dutch and. Danish colonial bases, many of which were heavily involved with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. A large inset in the upper right shows details of the Gold Coast, including its roadways, settlements and colonial bases, also identified by national flag.
The map was originally published by E. Say in the second edition of Deputy Hayes’s ‘The Importance of Effectually Supporting The Royal African Company of England Impartially Considered…’ in 1745. It was later expanded by R.W. Seale for Malachy Postlethwayt’s 1755 ‘Dictionary of Commerce’.