Slave Raid on African Village, Senegal, 1780s

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.
previous image return to thumbnails next image

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

This record was last updated on 14 Jun 2016

Image Reference

René Claude Geoffroy de Villeneuve, L'Afrique, ou histoire, moeurs, usages et coutumes des africains: le Sénégal (Paris, 1814), vol. 3, between pp. 56 and 57. (Copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)

Caption, "Vue de Ben dans le pays de Cayor pres de Gorée," shows Africans being captured. Ben was a sea side village on the south side of the peninsula close to the Isle of Gorée from where, Villeneuve observes, the embarkations are usually made for Gorée. He doesn't specifically describe this illustration other than saying it depicts a scene that he witnessed, and that it shows "one of those cruel scenes too frequently witnessed on the coast" (p. 56). Villeneuve lived in the Senegal region for about two years in the mid-to-late 1780s. The engravings in his book, he writes, were made from drawings that were mostly done on the spot during his African residence (vol. 1, pp. v-vi). The same illustration appears in color in the English translation of Villeneuve; see Frederic Shoberl (ed.), Africa; containing a description of the manners and customs, with some historical particulars of the Moors of the Zahara . . . (London, 1821), vol. 2, facing p. 68. This image is strikingly similar, if not identical, to an engraving published in London in 1789, which is captioned "A view taken near Bain, on the coast of Guinea in Africa [sic] . . . dedicated to the feeling hearts in all civilized nations." For a color reproduction and description of this image, held by the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, London), see and D. Hamilton and R. Blyth, Representing Slavery: Art, Artifacts and Archives in the Collections of the National Maritime Museum (London, 2007), pp. 126, 237.