- Africa, West
- Festivals (3)
- Religion (3)
- Dance (2)
- Dance, Religious aspects (2)
- Sahara (2)
- Africa, North (1)
- Arabic calligraphy (1)
- Arabic manuscripts (1)
- Costumes (1)
- Description and travel (1)
- Ethnic costume (1)
- Gambia River (1)
- Islamic law (1)
- Islamic manuscripts (1)
- Recreation (1)
- Shango (1)
- Slavery (1)
- Timbuktu manuscripts (1)
Type of Item
Africa, or Greater Libya
This map of Africa by Nicolas Sanson, royal geographer to Kings Louis XIII and XIV, and commonly known as the father of French cartography, was published by Sanson’s own house in 1679 in Paris. The map was based, according to Sanson, on a composite of information drawn from other maps as well as “upon the observations of Samuel Blomart.” It also may have drawn on the Dutch writer Olfert Dapper’s work of 1668, Naukeurige Beschrijvingen der Afrikaensche gewesten (Description of Africa). The continent is presented as “Greater Libya ...
Guinea Itself, as Well as the Greatest Portion of Nigritia or the Land of the Blacks, the One Called Ethiopia Inferior by Modern Geographers, the Other Southern Ethiopia
This 1743 map shows western Africa from the territory of present-day Gabon in the south to Niger, Mali, and Mauritania in the north. The map was published in Nuremberg, Germany, by the firm of Homännische Erben, meaning the successors of the Nuremberg engraver and publisher Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) and his son, Johann Christoph Homann (1703-30). It is based on an earlier work by the great French mapmaker Jean Baptiste d’Anville (1697-1782). The illustration at the lower left depicts an African village. Items such as dress, houses and other ...
Candomblé in Bahía (Brazil) Ritual Dance
This photograph from Brazil shows a group of women in traditional dress of African origin performing a ritual dance. The dance and dress are associated with Candomblé, a religion based on African traditions, with elements borrowed from Christianity, that is practiced chiefly in Brazil. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas, many taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established ...
Candomblé in Bahia (Brazil) Omolú Daughter
This photograph from Brazil shows a woman performing a dance wearing an elaborate costume made of grass and shells, with a portion of it covering her face, and holding a broom, the handle of which is also decorated with shells and grass. The dance and the costume are associated with Candomblé, a religion based on African traditions, with elements borrowed from Christianity, that is practiced chiefly in Brazil. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 ...
This photograph from Grenada shows a group of onlookers at the performance of a Shango ceremony. In African mythology, Shango was elevated from famous warrior and king of the Yoruba of the Oyo Kingdom to the god of thunder and lightning. The Shango ceremonies performed in Latin American and the Caribbean are based on the traditional Shango ceremony of ancient Oyo. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in ...
Map of Barbary, the Nigrita, and Guinea
As late as the Renaissance, European knowledge of Africa was largely limited to the Mediterranean and coastal areas. It was also still heavily influenced by classical sources. Between 1570 and 1670, the Dutch, who dominated European mapmaking at the time, began translating reports from Portuguese sea captains, as well as earlier North African sources, to expand their knowledge of the continent. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the French Royal Academy of Sciences gave new impetus to the mapping of Africa. This 18th-century map by Guillaume de l ...
Map of the Western Sahara
This map by Ernest George Ravenstein (1834-1913) appeared in the London Geographical Magazine in 1876. Ravenstein was a British geographer and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is best remembered for his pioneering Laws of Migration, published in 1885, which provided the theoretical underpinning for much subsequent scientific work on migration. This map shows the Sahara Desert, from present-day eastern Mali to the Atlantic Ocean. Shown in red are the tracks of the important 19th-century explorers who crossed the desert, including the Frenchman René-Auguste Callié (1799-1838), who in 1827-28 ...
Travels into the Inland Parts of Africa: Containing a Description of the Several Nations for the Space of Six Hundred Miles up the River Gambia
Francis Moore was a clerk, and later a factor, for the Royal African Company. Moore lived on the Gambia River from November 1730 to May 1735, and represented the commercial interests of the company. This work consists of the personal journal that Moore kept at the time, which remains an important source of information about pre-colonial Gambia. Moore’s journal includes discussions about natural history, descriptions of the different ethnic groups living along the river, and observations on everyday and economic life. Also included are accounts of the slave trade ...
The Ladder of Ascent in Obtaining the Procurements of the Sudan: Ahmad Baba Answers a Moroccan’s Questions about Slavery
Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. Ahmad Baba ibn Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Muhammad Aqit al-Tumbukti discusses slavery as it existed in West Africa during ...