Bunce (Bance) Island and Fort, Sierra Leone, 1727

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This record was last updated on 05 Jul 2017

Image Reference

William Smith, Thirty different drafts of Guinea (London, 1727), plate 7.

Caption: "The North-west Prospect of Bense [sic] Island on the River Sierra-Leone." Also, referred to variously as Bence, Bense, Bance, the island is situated in the Sierra Leone river, near Freetown. It was important to the British slave trade in the mid 18th century. Smith, a surveyor, was hired by the Royal African Company in 1726 to survey its forts in West Africa. The caption provides some details on the "factory," its location, and the naming of Sierra Leone; "the chief trade of these parts are slaves, ivory, and camwood." See also image "mariners18". Another view of the island is shown in an 1805 watercolor held by the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich). For a description of British slave trading activities and the island's importance in the mid-18th century, see Sean M. Kelley, The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016), passim.