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New Calabar and Bonny were two important slaving outlets in the Bight of Biafra, in today's eastern Nigeria. The “Carte de la Riviere de Kalbar” contains information collected from ship pilots in 1699, and was published in English in 1732 in volume five of Churchill’s collection of voyages and travels. That map and the one reproduced here, printed in French in the late 1740s, illustrates the Real River and adjoining creeks, and locates the village of New Calabar (“Ville du Nouveau Kalabar”) and Bonny (“Ville de Bandi”). It also places the village of Old Calabar (“Vieux Kalabar”) between New Calabar and Bonny, indicating that in the later 1600s there were two “Calabar” villages in the Rio Real. Old Calabar—“Calabar” in the Voyages Database and Calabar, Nigeria today—is located fifty miles east and a further forty-five miles up the Cross River. This map also shows Foko Island (Fockey in the Voyages Database) and the Doni River and village (Andony). In the 1600s New Calabar was the most important slaving and ivory location in the Bight of Biafra; by the 1730s Bonny emerged as the leading regional slaving port. The Bight’s ivory trade had then shifted east to Old Calabar and Cameroon.
Steve Behrendt, private collection