Forked Stick Used on Captured Africans, 1860s


David and Charles Livingstone, Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries; and of the Discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa, 1858-1864 (London, 1865, p. 125)


Caption: Goree, or Slave-Stick. Livingstone does not appear to describe this slave stick, but a French naval officer, in the Angola region in the late eighteenth century, describes how slave traders used a forked branch which opens exactly to the size of a neck so the head can't pass through it. The forked branch is pierced with two holes so that an iron pin comes across the neck of the slave . . . so that the smallest movement is sufficient to stop him and even to strangle him (see LCP-12 on this website; also, PRO-4, Mariners09). The term Goree refers to Goree Island (in present-day Senegal), from which French slavers transported captured Africans.

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