An Interview with the King of Sestro

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, decorated with goats' horns, small porcupine tails and other trifles', 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, coastal views and forts, to name but a few - as well as a guide to common words and phrases in a number of African languages.

ADM 7/830A, f. 96 (1681)



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