Slave Coffle, Central Africa, 1861


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, facing p. 356; reprinted New York, 1866, facing p. 376).


Men linked by forked logs, children and women attached by chains or ropes, with their African guards armed with guns. Caption reads: Gang of Captives met at Mbame's on their way to Tette. The scene was witnessed in July, 1861. Mbame was a village chief, friendly to Livingstone. Tette/Tete, a village (now a town) on the Zambezi River, located in present-day Western Mozambique was the last Portuguese outpost on the Zambezi. This image was published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (vol. 32 [Dec. 1865-May 1866], p. 719) not long after the appearance of the New York edition to accompany an article, Livingstone's Last African Expedition (pp. 709-23); the article gives a summary account of the Livingstones' Narrative of an Expedition. The captives shown here were destined for the East African trade. Compare this image with image C017 on this website. The image and its historical context, as well as sources in which it is found, is discussed at length in Jerome Handler and Annis Steiner, Identifying Pictorial Images of Atlantic Slavery: Three Case Studies, Slavery and Abolition 27 (2006), 52-54.

Date Created





Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International


IIIF Manifest Download