Casteel del Mina ten tyde der Portugesen


D. O. Dapper, Description de l'Afrique. . . Traduite du Flamand (Amsterdam, 1686; 1st ed., 1668), between pp. 284 and 285. Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.


"Mina Castle at the time of the Portuguese" (caption translation). This image depicts Elmina castle in the Voltaic region. European ships were in the foreground, African houses/town shown in left hand corner and in various areas around the fort. In an informed discussion of Dapper as an historical source, Adam Jones writes "there is virtually no evidence that Dapper took much interest in what sort of visual material was to accompany his text, and that it was the publisher, Van Meurs, who probably did all the engraving himself." With respect to the plates, in particular, Jones concludes that "for those interested in seventeenth-century black Africa rather than in the history of European perceptions, few of the plates showing human beings and artefacts are of any value. . . [and] originated solely from Van Meurs' imagination. . . [although] they have been used as historical evidence in modern works." See Jones, "Decompiling Dapper: A Preliminary Search for Evidence" History in Africa, 17 (1990), pp. 187-190. See also Christopher DeCorse, An Archaeology of Elmina: Africans and Europeans on the Gold Coast, 1400-1900 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001).

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