This drawing from the journals of Jean Barbot illustrates his meeting with the King of Sestro (now in modern Liberia) to trade for ivory and obtain supplies. The king is shown wearing 'a sort of cap made of straw in the shape of a mitre, and is surrounded by some of his 'ministers'. The seated man in European dress is apparently Barbot himself. Jean Barbot was employed as a commercial agent on a number of slave- trading voyages to West Africa by the French in the 1670s and 1680s. His remarkable journals include a variety of drawings on many subjects - local flora and fauna, scenes from African life.
“Those sold by the Blacks are for the most part prisoners of war, taken either in fight, or pursuit, or in the incursions they make into their enemies territories; others stolen away by their own countrymen; and some there are, who will sell their own children, kindred, or neighbours. This has been often seen, and to compass it, they desire the person they intend to sell, to help them in carrying something to the factory by way of trade, and when there, the person so deluded, not understanding the language, is old and deliver'd up as a slave, notwithstanding all his resistance, and exclaiming against the treachery... Evidence of… Inter tribal relations Evidence of… Economic Motivations Evidence of… Influence of Europeans
Who is Barbot? What are his motivations? Is this evidence reliable? What do we need to prove/disprove this evidence?
Pupils will understand the reasons why and how the slave trade existed within Africa They will analyse primary documents to explore the issues posed by the key question Pupils will critique and explore the provenance of the evidence presented by Barbot