Transcript

The Royal African Company Trades for Commodities
Along the West African Coast
CO 268/1, ff. 5-6


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Accompt of the Limits & Trade for ye African Company. The Royal African Compa[ny]'s Limits for Trade granted them by His Ma[jes]ties Charter, doe begin at Sally in South Barbary neer Tangier; and end at Cabobuen Esperança, where the limits of the East India Company take place.
Barbary. The Trade for Barbary, is hitherto followed, by particular persons, because the Royal Company have not thought fit, as yet, to take it up. From thence comes Bees-wax, Copper, Goatskins, Gold, Oyles, Corne, Feathers, Jumms, and many other Comodities.
Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are within the Company's charter, but they have not alsoe, hitherto, thought fit to take up that Trade, but leave it, to bee followed by particular persons.
Guinny. Next begins the North Coast of Guinny, neer the Cape de Verde Islands.
River Gambia In the River Gambia, upon James Island, the Compa[ny] have built a Fort, where seaventy men, at least, are kept. And there is a Factory from whence Eliphants Teeth, Bees-wax, and Cowhides are exported in very considerable quantities. The River Gambia is very large, and runs up very high (much higher than any discovery hath bin made) and it is supposed the Gold comes most from places, at the head of this River.
Rio Noons, Riopongo Calsamança, Rio Grande & Catchao. The Company have several small factorys in this River, vizt, at Rio Noones, Riopongo, and Calsamança, and doe trade by their Sloops, to Rio Grande and Catchao, for those Commodities, and alsoe for Negro's.
Sieralion. The next River, where the Compa[ny] doe trade at, is Sieralion, where a factory is setled, for buying the same Comodities.
Sherbero. Thence they sail into another River called Sherbero, where alsoe a factory is setled, and the Trade there is cheifly for Red-wood, useful in dying; of which sometimes Three hundred Tonns per ann, may bee got, and some Elephants Teeth.
Cape Mount & Cestos. Thence they trade to Cabe Mount, and Cestos, for Elephants-teeth; and there hath been formerly a factory setled alsoe.
Graine & Luaqua - Coast. And all along by Ships staying, sometimes a day, sometimes more, they trade in the Graine and Luaqua Coast, for Guiny-grains, or Mallaguette (which is phisic for Negro's) and for quaqua-cloths which are carried to sell at the Gold-coast, and for Teeth.
Cape Trespontes. Then, at Cape Trespontes begins the Trade for Gold, and soe along that coast, they have several Factories, but their names are not laid downe in ye Mapps, vist. Ashinee, Abinee, Dixiscove, Anashan, Anto, Succondee, Anamaboo, Wyamba, and Aga.
Cormentine. They had Cormentine, but it was taken from them in the first Dutch - warr, when Mr Selroyn was Agent; at the same time the English took Cabo-Corso, from ye Dutch.
Cabo-Corso-Castle. At Cabo-Corso-Castle is now their Cheife port, and place of Trade, having there about one hundred English besides Slaves. It's the Residence of their Agent General, who furnisheth, from thence, all their several under-factories with goods, and receives from them, Gold, Elephants-Teeth, and Slaves.
Castel de Mina. Neer Cabo-Corso is the Great Castle called the Mina, belonging to the Dutch.
Acra. Then, more Leewardly, the Company hath another factory at Acra, for gold, to be sent thence to Cabo-corso.
Ardra. Their next place of Trade is at Ardra only for Slaves, which are there very plentifull, and a factory is setled there alsoe.
Benin. Next follows Benin, where a factory is setled for buying cloths made of Cotton, of which they procure great quantitys, and bring them to Cabo-corso, to sell there, and on the Gold-Coast.
Bite.
New & Old Calabar.
Then, more Leewardly, lyeth he Bite, whither many Ships are sent to Trade at New and Old Calabar, but those places being very unhealthy, there are noe factories setled, and only a Trade used by the Masters of Ships for Slaves and Teeth, which are there to bee had in great plenty, and alsoe in the Rivers Cameroones and Gaboones, which are neer.
Angola. A Trade for Angola is begun, and they have Ordered a factory to settle neer the Portugal's cheife Citty at Sunio Whence it's hoped quantities of Slaves may bee got and much Copper.
  They have not yet discovered any other places within the limits of their Charter.
  The Slaves they purchas[e]d are sent, for a Supply of Servants, to all His Ma[jes]tie's American Plantations which cannot subsist without them.
  The Gold and Elephants Teeth, and other Commodities, which are procured in Africa, are all brought into England. The Gold is always coined in His Ma[jes]tie's Mint. And the Elephants = Teeth, and all other goods, which the Company receives, either from Africa or the Plantations, in returne for their Negros, are always sold publicly at a Candle.

Modern equivalents of place names

Sally  Salé - just north of Rabat, Morocco.

Barbary [States]  North of Africa - now parts of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Cabo buen Esperança  Cape of Good Hope.

Guinny  Guinea. Refers to a stretch of the west coast of Africa, never very well-defined, but much larger than the area of the coast now occupied by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

Rio Noons  Rio Nunez. River estuary - now in Guinea.

Rio-pongo  Rio Pongo. River estuary - now in Guinea.

Calsamança  Casamance. This appears to refer to the river rather than the region of this name - now in Senegal.

Rio Grande  Appears to be the Corubal river, now in Guinea-Bissau.

Catchao  Cacheu (town and river - now in Guinea-Bissau) or Catió (town in Guinea-Bissau). The former is more likely, as it is south of the Rio Grande/Corubal, whereas Cacheu is north, and the list seems to be running generally north to south.

Sieralion  Sierra Leone. This reference appears to be to the river.

Sherbero  Sherbro river. Now in Sierra Leone.

Cape Mount  Grand Cape Mount. Now in Liberia.

Cestos  Cess river. Now in Liberia. The river used to be called Cestos, but is now the Cess (although there is still a Cestos Point).

Graine  Grain Coast. Now in Liberia.

Luaqua  Probably 'Quaqua' (not located).

Cape Trespontes  Perhaps Cape Three Points, in Ghana.

Cormentine  Kormantyn (Cormantyn or Kormantine), Dutch fort, built 1631, W of Saltpond - now in Ghana.

Cabo-Corso-Castle  Cape Coast Castle, Ghana.

Castel de Mina  Elmina, in Ghana. This was a British fort in the 17th century.

Acra  Accra. Now in Ghana.

Ardra  Probably Ouidah, now in Benin.

Benin  Benin - kingdom and city (not the modern country).



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