Sierra Leone: The Lessons of Experience

  • Philip D. Curtin


The world-wide strategy of British affairs began to alter markedly in the mid 1790’s. As the possibility of a quick victory over Revolutionary France faded, the global strategy of the eighteenth-century wars for empire was re-established. Where, in the decade of peace from 1783 to 1793, undeveloped regions like West Africa seemed at least potentially valuable, they were now pushed into the background. Old settlements of known value were available for the taking, and their capture could be justified as part of the military effort against France. French colonies in the West Indies and India, Dutch colonies at the Cape of Good Hope and Java—these were the principal objectives. The minimum requirement for West Africa was the protection of the British slave-trade factories and the interception of French shipping. Resources could be diverted to the capture of the French posts or the exploration of the interior only when other circumstances permitted.


Nova Scotia Slave Trade African Culture African Institution Parliamentary Committee 
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© Regents of the University of Wisconsin 1964

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  • Philip D. Curtin

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