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The Dutch Slave Castle at Elmina, on the Gold Coast, Ghana.

Dapper, Olfert. Jacob van Meurs. Castle Mina. "Casteel del Mina." Amsterdam Wolfgangh, Waesbergen, Boom. Someren en Goethals 1686
Copper engraved double page view of the castle of Elmina, Ghana, from Olfert Dapper's "Description de l'Afrique," the first edition in French; black and white, verso blank.
The view shows the Dutch castle of Elmina with the fort of Coenraadsburg on the Gold Coast, Ghana with ships to the foreground exchanging fire; title on decorative banner to sky.

Elmina Castle was erected by Portuguese in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine) Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, and took over all the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814; in 1872 the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of the British Empire.
By the seventeenth century, most trade in West Africa concentrated on the sale of slaves. São Jorge da Mina played a significant part in the Atlantic Slave Trade. The castle acted as a depot where slaves were bought in bartering fashion from local African chiefs and kings. The slaves, often captured in the African interior by the slave-catchers of coastal tribes, were sold to Portuguese traders in exchange for goods such as textiles and horses.
The slaves were held captive in the castle before exiting through the castle's infamous "Door of No Return" to be transported and resold in newly colonized Brazil and other Portuguese colonies. In 1637 the fort was taken over by the Dutch, who made it the capital of the Dutch Gold Coast. During the period of Dutch control, they built a new, smaller fortress on a nearby hill to protect St. George Castle from inland attacks. This fort was called Fort Coenraadsburg. Dark impression; light toning; paper fault close to title causing small hole; some spotting ; old ink number to upper margin.; chips to lower edges.

Olfert Dapper (1639-1689)
was a Dutch physician and scholar devoted to historical and geographical studies.
He produced several finely illustrated volumes describing travels in Africa, Asia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, drawing upon the most reliable eye-witness accounts as well as his own library of travel books. His works were authoritative and very popular, and especially noteworthy for their excellent illustrations and maps.

First edition in French of Dapper's"Description de l'Afrique, contenant Les Noms, la Situation & les Confins de toutes ses Parties, leurs Rivières, leurs Villes & leurs Habitations, leurs Plantes & leurs Animaux ; les Moeurs, les Coûtumes, la Langue, les Richesses, la Religion & le Gouvernement de ses Peuples. Avec Des Cartes des Etats, des Provinces & des Villes, & des Figures en Taille-douce, qui représentent les habits & les principales Ceremonies des Habitans, les Plantes & les Animaux les moins connus. Traduite du Flamand"originally published in Dutch in 1668 as "Naukeurige Beschrijvingen der Afrikaensche gewesten" & "Naukeurige beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche Eylanden "


Dapper's Description of Africa:"covers the entire continent - the Islamic north, from Morocco to Egypt, Abyssinia, central and southern Africa, and Madagascar, Malta, the Canaries and other islands of the African coast" (Alastair Hamilton, Europe and the Arab World, page 26). Although he had never visited Africa, Dapper's book is still of considerable value, because he made use not only of published sources (especially De Marees), but also of manuscripts which have now been; lost he relied very heavily on records of the Dutch West India Company, especially a collection made by Samuel Bloomaerts, one of its officials.
His work became well-known, and is still a key text for Africanists.
It was translated into English by John Ogilby and published in 1670, when a German translation was also published. There was a second Dutch edition in 1676 and the first French translation was published ten years later.
Mendelssohn I, p.413. Cox I, p. 361; Gay 219. 225 by 332mm (8¾ by 13 inches).   ref: 2467  €150

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