Gold Coast, Late Seventeenth Century
Access to the Gold Coast, in present day Ghana, was highly disputed by European powers involved in the slave trade. In the sixteenth century, gold was the main commodity attracting the attention of the early European powers trading on the Gold Coast. However, at the end of the seventeenth century the main commodity became slaves. The image is of an illustration of the Gold Coast in the late seventeenth century when the transition from gold to slaves occurred, based on the accounts of Jean Barbot. It shows several canoes carrying slaves to vessels anchored off the coast. Towards the rear, the illustration shows this traffic occurring under the auspices of several forts lined along the coast. From the left to the right the forts indicated are: Elmina, St. Jago, Cape Corso, and Fort Royal at Manfrow. The image is reproduced courtesy of Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library. Permission required to reproduce.