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North Africa: ° Algeria ° Egypt ° Libya ° Morocco ° Sudan
West Africa: ° Benin ° Cameroon ° Congo ° Cote d'Ivoire ° Gabon ° (Republic of the) Gambia ° Ghana ° Guinea ° Liberia ° Mauritania ° Mozambique ° Nigeria ° Sao Tome and Principe ° Senegal (Dakar) ° Sierra Leone
East Africa (The Horn of Africa): ° Djibouti ° Kenya ° Eritrea ° Madagascar ° Somalia ° Sudan ° Tanzania ° Zanzibar


Lieutenant Boet-Willaumez (1808 - 1871) led France into Gabon. At the request of merchants in Marseilles and Bordeaux, in 1837 the Navy Minister put Boet-Willaumez in charge of a reconnaissance trip of the Guinean gulf coasts. On board the Malouine he reached Gabon and signed a treaty with King Denis who allowed him to set up a settlement on the left bank.

M. Savorgnan de Brazza.

Little by little France settled on the coast: Fort d’Aumale was founded on the 11th of June 1843; in 1849 slaves freed from the slave ship The Eliziafounded Libreville. By 1862 France had extended its authority over the delta located between the “pointe de Pungara” and the mouths of Ogoou . As France and the other European powers had set foot on the Gabonese coast, many attempts took place to penetrate into the African continent.

Jules Ferry who entered in the government in 1879, as minister of Foreign Affairs, minister of State Education, and President of the Council. From 1880, he imprinted a decisive orientation to France’s foreign policy and amongst others, he supported Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza’s expeditions into Africa, which included 1875-1878: Discovery of Ogooue; The French Congo 1879-1882 and Colonisation of the Congo from 1886 to 1898.


November 1, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

Pirates Punished.

The news has been received of the British expedition to punish the piratical natives of the Congo river, for murdering the English sailors. The expedttion on the west coast of Africa was engaged, and boats sent up the river. Many villages were destroyed and a large number of natives killed. The British lost one man killed and six wounded.

December 17, 1886, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Great Tributary of the Congo.

Congo and Ubangi (Ubanqui) River Confluence. Mbbandaka, Coquilhatville, Congo. 1885.

Another great navigable tributary of the Congo, which it joins on the right bank at a point between the Obange and the Licona, has been discovered. It is called the Sekoli, and was discovered by an expedition that, starting from Madiville on the Ogowe, proceeding in a north-northeasterly direction for four weeks, journeyed with the greatest difficulty through thick forests and jungle. In latitude 1° 30' north they came on a river, which the natives called Sekoli, at a point, as they afterward learned, about 1° south of its source. Proceeding further, they came into the district of the Janibis, who showed themselves so hostile that the explorers considered it safe to return. They again struck the Sekoli, which they determined to descend; but the natives refused to sell them boats, so they had to make some small boats for themselves. The voyage down the river occupied six weeks.

The river they found is known by different names in different parts of its course. It flows at first in a direction from west to east, and then bends southward. About the equator it receives on its right bank a considerable tributary — the Ambili. The water is brackish at this point — indeed, the soil all around is impregnated with salt, which is gathered by the natives, and forms an article of trade for them. The country abounds in large game — wild oxen, antelopes, elephants, hippopotami, etc.

Boma, Congo River Trading Post. 1892. Taylor, Artist.

Congo River, Boma, Trading Post. 1892.

Below the equator the southerly direction becomes more decided. The river is between 500 and 600 meters broad, and has many islands. In the lower portion of its course it flows through immense grass plains, which feed vast numbers of wild cattle, antelopes and elephants. But the navigation is impeded by the hippopotami. The human population is very thin. At last the expedition reached the Congo. At the confluence there is a great delta almost opposite the former station of Lukolela. The discovery of the Sekoli has added about 600 kilometers to the navigable network of the upper Congo waters. — Zeitung.

June 20, 1887, Waukesha Republican


September 25, 1909, Winnipeg Free Press


West Central Africa.

Leopoldville, Belgian Congo, September 24. --After several postponements, the trial of the two American missionaries, the Rev. Wm. Morrison and the Rev. W. H. Sheppard, on charges of libel, began here today. This suit against the missionaries mentioned is brought by one of the Congo concession companies, which has a monopoly of rubber gathering in the Kasal region. It claims $20,000 damages from each of the men of "calumnious denunciation." The circumstances are such that the suit is considered practically as brought by the Belgian government against the missionaries. Messrs. Morrison and Sheppard arrived at Leopoldville Aug. 5 with witnesses who will testify in their behalf.

February 6, 1890, The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S.A.

Want to Return to Africa.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama, February 8: The following memorial was unanimously adopted at a mass meeting of colored citizens at Bessemer, Alabama, asking congress for the passage of Senator Butler's negro emigration bill:

We, the colored citizens of Bessemer, Ala., favor a complete separation of the races, the emigration of the colored race to the Congo Free State, and we hope Senator Butler's bill will be passed. We believe it will be better in every way for our race to go back to our own country where we belong. We are in great political trouble here, but we cannot help it. Time has brought it on us. Let knowledge have her way. Knowledge says go and we will go if the government will pass the bill.

November 29, 1890, Boston Daily Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

In the Way of Colonizing Congo State -
Stanley's Advice to the Colored Race In America

Henry M. Stanley, in an interview with a Globeman, made public his views upon immigration of the American negro into the Congo Free State, and the opportunities which are there for him and the development ot that country.

Mr. Stanley, expressing himself as being much interested in the subject as suggested in the questions which he was requested to answer, said:

"Yes, I am familiar with the lot that Senator Butler of South Carolina made a proposition to the United States government that the American negroes be deported to the Congo Free States, but that is a matter about which I do not care to express an opinion; it is a matter which must be taken care of by the negroes themselves."

"What advantages would accrue to the negroes if they should immigrate to that country in large numbers?"

"The advantages which would be made to accrue to the American negroes if they should immigrate to the Congo Free State are many. There is any amount of land to be had for the asking; the laws are favorable and calculated to promote happiness and content. The climate is natural, and for the negroes comparatively healthy. The soil is fertile and virgin and the country new, so that the slightest cultivation cannot fail to be followed by the most gratifying results.

In these facts lie the advantages which would follow for the immigrating negroes. Value at the same time must be given to the fact that they would become residents of their native land. Whites, that is the Caucasian race, cannot colonize the Congo Free States.

A White Man While Living

in the Congo valley three years would expend 10 years of vitality, and white women could not retain health. The result of this would be children with puny frames and inferior intelligence. With negroes forming the majority of Its citizenship, it would with proper encouragement make remarkable development and in time become agreat nation."

"Is there any possibility, if the American negro should go to Africa, that he would, because of contact with the savages, retrograde from a condition of civilization, or on the contrary would their presence there have a beneficial influence upon the growth of civilization among the natives?"

"This is very difficult to answer. The laws of the Congo Free State have been made with the thought ol having a 'civilizing effect upon the savages. If the civilized blacks who went into tnat country were developed morally, it is safe to say that their contact with the savages would be happy. If, on the contrary, they were of degraded characters, it would follow that they would deteriorate, practice polygamy, etc."

"What obstacles would they have to overcome belore they would become thriving colonists."

"No very great obstacles would present themselves. Sheep, goats and cattle are of prolific growth and the rivers teem with fish, and to be successful it would only need that the colonists should make that kind ol expression of industry which, deserves success. The immigrant should remember, though, that he is going to a land where desirable results are to be secured only after toll, and that while nature is

Lavish in Her Gifts

yet bread would have to be earned literally with the sweat of the brow."

"Would they have any shore in the conduct of government, the making and the executing of laws, etc., or would the whites attempt to dominate them?"

"At present the Congo Free State's government is entirely in the hands of the whites; but, in my opinion. I think that if any man proved his capacity he would receive all that any could expect. Gov. Jansen had a Lagos negro as his secretary, and an able man: he enjoyed much power in the colony. No, it would only be a question ot the best material."

"Does the Congo Free State or Belgium hold out any inducements to invite immigration?"

"No; nothing special, Emigration has not as yet assumed shape. It has had no development. Tho government has not as yet sought to induce it. It is my belief, however, that if it should be suggested to the Congo Free State that the American negro population could be drawn upon to increase its citizenship something in the nature of an inducement would be offered."

"Would you advise the American negro to go to the Congo Free State, in fact, would you advise them to immigrate to any part of Africa?"

"This is a most delicate matter. I cannot advise the American negro to go to the Congo Free State. It is a case where every individual must decide for himself. They should, however, not jump into something about which they had not been thoroughly advised. They should not forget that as colonists in the new country of Congo land they would not be settling down to repose in a bed of roses."

"A Mr. Taunt, a few months after he was dishonorably dismissed from the United States naval service, was appointed United States consul at Boma; salary, $4000 . The establishing of this consulate at Boma

Was Brought About


by Senator Morgan of Alabama. The senator desired to secure reports from Congo which could be utilized not only for encouraging the Southern blacks to Immigrate to Congo, but also for inducing them to invest capital in the building upof trade between the blacks of the two countries.

From your knowledge of the two people and the conditions which environ them, do you think that a commercial correspondence of this kind Is a possibility?"

'Yes, the lethargy of American merchants in this connection is not only remarkable, but is also deplorable. The Congo valley offers every enoouragement to commercial exploit. "For instance, rattan cane, which is growing scarce in the market, in Africa practically grows in unlimited quantities. Of course there have been many obstacles to prevent the development of the Congo valley trade, the more important of which has been the cost of portage to place of shipment. A railway is now in course of construction which, when completed, will remedy this evil, and those merchants who are now handicapped by the expense of transportation, will reap the benefits which must come as the sequence ot their being on the ground.

"Americans seem to be dead to these opportunities; they ought to be there now and cultivating trade, so that when the railroad becomes in operation to bring the interior nearer the coast, they will be in a situation to reap a fair share of the profits which must follow. The American merchants, though, will probably hold off until too late and not enter into commercial work in this direction until the cream of the trade has been gathered by other nations."

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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