A fascinating antique map of West Africa, hand colored by kingdoms. Includes large decorative cartouche, compass rose and extensive annotations in the map image. This map shows the area after the period of the great empires of West Africa and during decentralization at the peak of the Second Atlantic System.
This map details the kingdoms and countries in the regions of Barbary, Sarra [Sahara], Negroland and Upper Guinea as they stood in the mid-18th century. The map includes an extensive list of coastal settlements, including those in East Guinea which European traders and slavers had already occupied. Settlements are also included along the great rivers of the area, including the Senegal, Gambia, and Niger. Major cities are shown with a small red-colored design. Geomorphological features are shown away from the coast, including mountains, deserts, and woodlands.
The map annotates many of the great states of the period including: the Kingdoms of Benin, Judah, Tafilet, Agades, Zanfara and Bito. Also includes information on minor countries as well as nomadic tribes. The extent of the development of the slave trade can already be seen in parts, especially in the Tooth, Gold, and Slave Coasts.
Notes are extensive and fascinating. For most kingdoms and features, at least some context is provided. For example, the fighting power of the "Duleim Arabs" is noted, as is the etymology of Azagar and the Desert of Barbary. In addition, notes the heritage and ancestry of ethnic groups.
The cartouche depicts the citizens of these states from kings and lords to soldiers. Overall, an essential map for anyone with interest in pre-colonial Africa.
Emanuel Bowen (1694?-1767) was a British engraver and print seller. He was most well-known for his atlases and county maps. Although he died in poverty, he was widely acknowledged for his expertise and was appointed as mapmaker to both George II of England and Louis XV of France. His business was carried on by his son, Thomas Bowen. He also trained many apprentices, two of whom became prominent mapmakers, Thomas Kitchin and Thomas Jeffreys.