Captive Africans Transported by Canoe, Congo, 1880s


E.J. Glave, The Slave-Trade in the Congo Basin. By one of Stanley's pioneer officers. Illustrated after sketches from life by the author (The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1889-1890), vol. 39, pp. 824-838.


The author lived in the Congo for six years, 1883-1889, and provides a vivid account of slaving activities in the Congo basin. The following excerpt describes the illustration (captioned A Slaver's Canoe) shown here, on a tributary of the Congo River: I met dozens of canoes . . . whose owners had come up and bought slaves, and were returning with their purchases. When traveling from place to place on the river the slaves are, for convenience, relieved of the weight of the heavy shackles. The traders always carry, hanging from the sheathes of their knives, light handcuffs, formed of cord and cane. The slave when purchased is packed on the floor of the canoe in a crouching posture with his hands bound in front of him by means of these handcuffs. During the voyage he is carefully guarded by the crew of standing paddlers; and when the canoe is tied to the bank at night the further precaution is taken of changing the position in which the hands are bound and pinioning them behind his back, to prevent him from endeavoring to free himself by gnawing through the strands (Glave, pp. 832-33). (Katherine Prior brought Glave's account to our attention.) Also published in Thomas W. Knox, The Boy Travellers on the Congo (New York, 1887).


Glave, E.J.

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