European Trading Posts at Savi, 1720s


Jean Baptiste Labat, Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais en Guinèe . . .fait en 1725, 1726, & 1727 (Amsterdam, 1731), vol. 2 , between pp. 40-41, In Thomas Astley (ed.), A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels (London, 1745-47), vol. 3, plate 9, facing p. 64.


Detailed plan or prospect of the European factorys shows surrounding town, compounds (factories) of Portuguese, French, and English; also, palace compound and various of its courts and buildings. In Labat (vol. 2, between pp. 40 and 41), this illustration is titled Comptoirs des Europèens a Xavier and about 50 buildings and locales are individually identified and named--far more detail is given than shown here in the Astley edition. The city of Savi . . . was about four miles in circumference. It was so populous that the throngs of people made it difficult to pass along the streets . . . . The daily markets featured all sorts of European and African commodities. Near the European compounds was a square shaded by tall trees where the English, French, Dutch, and Portuguese directors, merchants, and sea captains sat and transacted daily business, much like a European mercantile exchange (Robert Harms, The Diligent [Basic Books, 2002], p. 156). Savi, the predecessor of the town of Whydah (Ouidah), was the capital of the Hueda Kingdom, c. 1670-1727.


Labat, Jean Baptiste

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