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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


SENEGAL: Sénégal et Gorée: 1835.Map of Senegal. 1835.

In 1681, the French were given Albreda on the north bank of the Gambia River by a local ruler; they sent a detachment from Gorre Island to establish a settlement on the north bank of the river opposite Fort James, which was held by the British and less than two miles away on the opposite bank.

At that time, France and Britain had been almost continuously at war with each other since 1101, including the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453). The fortified settlements in Africa changed hands between the two nations repeatedly during the 18th century.

October 10, 1837, Courier, London, Middlesex, United Kingdom

Among the foreign possessions remaining to the French Crown were the colonies in the East Indies, small in extent but of considerable value. In 1722 it obtained the important trading place, Mahe (8 square miles) on the Malabar coast and in 1739 from the Rajah of Tanjore, Caricalla, with a territory of 312 square miles. In 1769 the Government abolished the privileges of the East India Trading Company, and took possession of its property In land and colonial produce, amounting in value to about 5,367,450 engaging, in return for this, to become responsible for their debt of 3,461,250.

In the seven years' war (1756-1763), by land and sea, France lost the major part of its immense territories in North America. By the first treaty of Versailles, she lost in Africa the colonies on the Senegal and island of Gorre, which is off the coast of the main harbor of Dakar.

By the mid-19th century, Britain was the established European power on the Gambia, with the valuable addition of Bathurst (now known as Banjul). This island in the mouth of the river was used from 1816 as a base against the slave trade.

France held Senegal and the important outpost of Gorre between the two rivers. The French were much more ambitious than the British in pressing inland. They established a station at far up the Senegal, in the 1850s. In 1857, Dakar on the Cape Verde Peninsula opposite the island of Gorre on Africa's Atlantic coast, was founded by the French.

in 1902, Dakar became the capital of the territory (succeeding St. Louis in the role). Senegal remained at the centre of France's west African empire until independence in 1960.

The establishment of Senegal as a French colony was merely one part of the French colonial effort in west Africa during the 1880s and 1890s. By 1895 there were six French colonies in the region, covering a vast unbroken stretch of the continent. They were grouped together as French West Africa. Among them Senegal is the colony with the strongest French presence.

As a result, when the scramble for power in Africa began in 1884, the British were at a disadvantage. When boundaries were agreed between the two nations, in 1889, Britain secured a narrow strip along each bank of the Gambia. This territory was entirely surrounded by French Senegal.

December 24, 1893, Lloyds Weekly Newspaper, London

A Plague Ship

Colonial Africa. British, GErman, French, Madeira, Canaries, Mauritius. Bacon. 1903.

The mate (Mr. Whitehead) and several of the crew of the Plymouth sailing vessel Mendosa, have just arrived at Swansea from Martinique, and report having had a terrible experience while on a voyage from Dakar to Barbados. Dakar was reached safely, but while discharging coal in that port four of the men Straw, the boatswain; Tresis, the cook; Nelson, a seaman; and Morley, a cabin boy, sickened from cholera and died. It was found impossible to ship more men at Dakar, and so the vessel left in ballast for Barbados. When a week out the captain, H. R. Martin, of Plymouth, was taken ill with a terrible disease known as "black vomit," and died six days biter. By this time such heavy storms were encountered that it was decided to alter the vessel's course for Martinique. Several efforts were made to fumigate tho captain's cabin but without success and it was found necessary to barricade it up; but even this did not have the desired effect, and so four men who had been seized with cholera, together with the mate and the three remaining healthy men, lived on deck for a fortnight, when Martinique was reached. Outside the port the vessel struck and foundered just after the sick men had been lowered into the boat. The men sufficiently recovered to proceed to Plymouth, but four of them Whitehead, Owen, Markdal and Morris are still suffering from the effects of exposure and disease.

Gorre Island, a few miles out to sea from Dakar, established itself as a place of transit for slaves and merchandise, and its fate came to be linked to that of the European trading companies.

In the eighteenth century, when the slave trade was at its height, this trading post was the subject of bitter disputes among the various powers vying for its control. Accordingly, the French and the English took turns in taking over until the early nineteenth century. With the proclamation of the end of slavery, Gorre became the base of the naval division in charge of cracking down on illicit slave trading.

January 5, 1895, The Colonies and India

The Union Steamship Company's intermediate Royal Mail steamer Greek, which was ordered to call at Dakar in connection with the Royal Mail steamer Moor, which is lying there repairing machinery, left Dakar for Cape Town at 1 P.M. Wednesday, December 26, and took on a number of passengers ex the Moor. The Union Company's Royal Mail steamer Tartar, which left Southampton on December 22, has also called at Dakar and taken on the remainder of the passengers -- including General Goodenough for whom there was no accommodation on the Greek.

The Diary of Antera Duke: An Eighteenth-Century African Slave TraderAfrican Slave Trader.
TheDiary of Antera Duke.Stephen D. Behrendt, A. J. H. Lathma, David Northrup
In his diary, Antera Duke (ca.1735-ca.1809) wrote the only surviving eyewitness account of the slave trade by an African merchant. A leader in late eighteenth-century Old Calabar, a cluster of Efik-speaking communities in the Cross River region, he resided in Duke Town, forty-five miles from the Atlantic Ocean in what is now southeast Nigeria. His diary, written in trade English from 1785 to 1788, is a candid account of daily life in an African community at the height of Calabar's overseas commerce. It provides valuable information on Old Calabar's economic activity both with other African businessmen and with European ship captains who arrived to trade for slaves, produce, and provisions.

Basil Davidson states that by examining three important areas of Africa in the history of slavery against a general background of their time and circumstance he was taking "a fresh look at the oversea slave trade, the steady year-by-year export of African labour to the West Indies and the Americas that marked the era of forced migration." (Africans were joined by abused laborers from China, "indentured servants" from Ireland, and Britain's hideous prison hulks.)

The Middle Passage: White Ships/ Black CargoWhite Ships, Black Cargo.
Tom Feelings
Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people. 64 paintings.

The Counter-Revolution of 1776:
Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
Slave Resistance.
Gerald Home
The successful 1776 revolt against British rule in North America has been hailed almost universally as a great step forward for humanity. But the Africans then residing in the colonies overwhelmingly sided with London. In this trailblazing book, Gerald Horne complements his earlier celebrated Negro Comrades of the Crown, by showing that in the prelude to 1776, the abolition of slavery seemed all but inevitable in London, delighting Africans as much as it outraged slaveholders, and sparking the colonial revolt.

Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa.
James T. Campbell
Many works of history deal with the journeys of blacks in bondage from Africa to the United States along the middle passage, but there is also a rich and little examined history of African Americans traveling in the opposite direction. In Middle Passages, award-winning historian James T. Campbell recounts more than two centuries of African American journeys to Africa, including the experiences of such extraordinary figures as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, and Maya Angelou. This series is under presiding editor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Africa: Dakar, Senegal

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.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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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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