Viewed from a Distance: Eighteenth-Century Images of Fortifications on the Coast of West Africa

  • Emily Mann
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


In the early 1700s, a series of publications based on European sources provided English-speaking audiences with images of the fortifications that had been built and fought over in West Africa. They include Willem Bosman’s New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea (1705), William Smith’s Thirty Different Drafts of Guinea (1729) and Jean Barbot’s Description of the Coasts of North and South-Guinea (1732). The topographical views and plans have become valuable historical sources, commonly used as evidence of the shape and scale of European military and economic intervention in this part of the Atlantic world at a crucial stage in its formation. This chapter examines the creation and consumption of these images, and reappraises the nature of the pictorial evidence they provide.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Mann
    • 1
  1. 1.Courtauld Institute of ArtLondonUK

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