Slave Yard at Goree, Senegal, 1805

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This record was last updated on 18 Jan 2011

Image Reference

Francis B. Spilsbury, Account of a voyage to the Western coast of Africa; performed by His Majesty's sloop Favourite, in the year 1805 (London, 1807), facing p. 14 (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

Captioned, "View of a slave yard at Gorée," this illustration shows several men, women, and children; a man on the left appears to be having lice picked out of his hair, two women are shown with infants on their backs (one is pounding meal, using a wooden mortar and pestle). "The riches of the inhabitants consists of slaves," the Spilsbury writes, "each house having a slave yard, with huts for them; among the female slaves are many elegant figures . . . The slaves of both sexes are naked, except the piece of cloth which passes round their loins. The females do all the drudgery , such as beating corn, etc. and their children at their backs: this operation is performed in a wooden mortar, with a large pestle; and to show their agility, the women clap their hands while it flies upwards" (p. 12). The author, a surgeon aboard the Favourite, made the "various sketches from which the accompanying engravings have been produced . . . the drawings and portraits were made on the spot" (pp. iii-iv).