Synopses & Reviews
Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) is one of the best known Victorian women travellers, whose solo adventures in West Africa made her a celebrity in England. This, her second book, published in 1899, was an instant best-seller. She travelled extensively, engaging in trade both to fund her trip and to get to know the African people, rather than merely observing as an outsider. Some of her views were considered controversial - she opposed the attempts by missionaries to impose European culture on native people, and defended polygamy and even slavery. She opposed direct colonial rule, and wanted Africans to have more self-determination. Her observations and interests are wide-ranging, and she showed an acute and sympathetic understanding of West African culture and society. For more information on this author, see http://orlando.cambridge.org/public/svPeople?person_id=kingma
This best-selling narrative of an Englishwoman's observations on West Africa was first published in 1899.
First published in 1899, West African Studies was a best-seller. Travelling alone, Kingsley lived and traded with native tribes, to learn more about them, rather than observe as an outsider. Her objections to Western cultural and administrative imperialism and the assumption of European superiority were ahead of their time.
Table of Contents
1. Introductory; 2. Sierra Leone and its surroundings; 3. African characteristics; 4. Fishing in West Africa; 5. Fetish; 6. Schools of fetish; 7. Fetish and witchcraft; 8. African medicine; 9. The witch doctor; 10. Early trade in West Africa; 11. French discovery of West Africa; 12. Commerce in West Africa; 13. The Crown Colony system; 14. The Crown Colony system in West Africa; 15. More of the Crown Colony system; 16. The clash of cultures; 17. An alternative plan; 18. African property; Appendix: 1. A short description of the natives of the Niger Coast Protectorate, with some account of their customs, religion, trade, etc. M. le Comte C. N. de Cardi; 2. A voyage to the African oil rivers twenty-five years ago John Harford; 3. Trade goods used in the early trade with Africa as given by Barbot and other writers of the seventeenth century M. H. Kingsley; Index.