West Africa in the New Century: a Pattern of Discovery

  • Philip D. Curtin


During the fifteen years in which the Sierra Leone Company unhappily carried out its experiments with colonization and legitimate trade, the British Empire was almost constantly at war, and the fortunes of war profoundly changed the British outlook on the world. Britain and the Allies were unable to hold Napoleon at bay in Europe, but the French were gradually deprived of all the most valuable parts of their tropical empire. Saint Domingue, in chronic civil war since 1791, was permanently lost when the Haitians defeated a French expeditionary force in 1802–03. Disorders in the other French West Indian colonies, combined with interruptions of maritime contact, broke the French segment of the South Atlantic System, at least for the time being. For the British West India interest, a French loss was as good as a British victory. The British sugar islands now held a sellers’ monopoly in tropical staples, and there was less reason than ever to break that monopoly by opening new plantations in Africa.


Slave Trade Gold Coast African Institution Cape Coast Guinea Coast 
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  • Philip D. Curtin

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