Slave Coffle, Western Sudan, 1879-81

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This record was last updated on 06 Jun 2016

Image Reference

J. W. Buel, Heroes of the Dark Continent (New York, 1890), p. 66; also, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-32008. See Comments, below.

A line of men and women lashed together by ropes, guarded by a horse-mounted slave trader. Although captioned "victims of Portuguese slave hunters," the caption is misleading. The illustration in Buel's volume is, in fact, taken from Joseph Simon Galliéni, Mission d'exploration du Haut-Niger: Voyage au Soudan Francais (Paris, 1885), p. 525, where the caption reads "Le Mana-Oulé et caravan d'esclaves." Mana-Oulé is the rocky geological formation shown in the background (located in, roughly, present-day Mali), and the slave traders are not Portuguese, but Mande-speaking Africans (Soninke [Sarakole] or Dioula [Jula]). We are grateful to Martin Klein for his identification of the primary source from which Buel's illustration was taken.