Slave Market in Zanzibar, East Africa, 1873

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This record was last updated on 15 Dec 2016

Image Reference

The Graphic: An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper (London), vol. 7 (1873), p. 412.

Caption, "Slave-dealers and slaves—a Street Scene in Zanzibar." The accompanying article, which is critical of the slave trade (p. 410), notes that the illustration shows a "group of living skeletons, chained neck and neck, being newly-captured slaves from the interior." The engraving was taken from a " sketch,” sent by “ Mr. H. Jacob, formerly of Zanzibar, now of Prince Edward's County, Virginia, U.S.A." Although showing a scene in East Africa, some of the features depicted, such as the captured Africans linked by chains, are similar to what might have been witnessed in West and Central Africa during the nineteenth century. Henry Jacob, a Quaker of Irish origin, had lived in Zanzibar for about a year in 1865 when he worked for a large British trading company. After returning to England, he and his family migrated to the U.S., eventually moving to Prince Edward county in the late 1860s or early 1870s. In 1875-78, Jacob, identified as a surveyor, produced a detailed map of the county, up-dating earlier ones (see Library of Congress). He and his family remained in PE county until at least the early 1880s, and moved to Richmond where Henry worked as a draughtsman for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. He lived in Richmond until at least the mid to late 1880s; by 1890 he was in the area of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died in 1905. There are some indications that Jacob did other sketches of Zanzibar, but their location is unknown. (See, Herbert Bradshaw, History of Prince Edward County, Virginia [Richmond, VA, 1955]; Yvonne Bird, ed., A Quaker Family in India and Zanzibar 1863-1865 [privately printed, England, 2000]).