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Number: 1395
Continent: Africa
Region: West
Place Names: Whidah,
Year of Origin: 1747 (estimated)
Title: Carte du Royaume de Juida, ou Whidah
Sub-Title: Kaart van 't Koningryk Whidah, of Juida, uit des Marchais
Language: Dutch
Publish Origin: Amsterdam
Height: 20.3
Width: 26.6
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Color Type: Full Color
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Engraver: Jacob van der Schley
Publisher: Pieter Pierre de Hondt
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude:
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Notes: Kapp;from "Histoire Generale Des Voyages, ou Nouvelle Collection de Toutes les Relations de Voyages.." ; slave trade site; A striking and highly detailed fine unusual 1747 Jacques-Nicolas Bellin's copper engraved map of the Kingdom of Whydah, modern day Benin. The map is filled with excellent topographic details. The Kingdom of Whydah (also spelt Hueda, Whidah, Ajuda, Ouidah, Whidaw, Juida, and Juda) was a kingdom on the coast of West Africa in what is now Benin. It was a major slave trading area The Kingdom of Whydah was centered in Savi. The last ruler of Whydah was King Haffon, who was deposed in 1727, when Whydah was conquered by the Kingdom of Dahomey. Whydah exported some thousand slaves a month, mainly taken captive from villages in the interior of Africa. For this reason, it has been considered a "principal market" for human beings. When the king could not supply the European traders with sufficient slaves, he would supplement them with his own wives. Robbery was common. Every thing in Whydah paid a toll to the king, but corruption amongst collectors was endemic. Despite this, the king was wealthy, and clothed in gold and silver-goods of which little was known in Whydah. He commanded great respect, and, unusually, was never seen to eat. The color red was reserved for the royal family. The king was considered immortal, although successive kings were recognized as dying of natural causes. Interregna, even of only a few days, were often occasions of plundering and anarchy by the populace. The patriarchal society isolated women, "protecting" them from the larger society (or other men). Fathers were recorded with more than two hundred children by their numerous wives. The king could field 200,000 men. In comparison, other estimates range upward from twenty thousand, although contemporary interpretation is generally that these armies were of "overwhelming size". Battles were normally won by strength of numbers alone, with the weaker side fleeing. With King Haffon's rise to power in 1708, European trade companies had established a significant presence in Whydah and were in constant competition to win to King's favor. The French Company of the Indies presented Haffon with two ships worth of cargo and an extravagant Louis XIV-style throne, while the British Royal African Company gifted a crown for the newly appointed King. Such practices illustrate the high level of dependence European traders had on native African powers in the beginning of the 18th century, and also the close relationship that emerged between the two entities. This association is further reiterated by the fact that Dutch, British, French, and Portuguese trading company compounds all bordered the walls of Haffon's royal palace in the city of Savi. These compounds served as important centers of diplomatic and commercial exchange between European companies and the Kingdom of Whydah. While company compounds facilitated the interaction between European traders and native Africans, the true centre of European operations in Whydah were the various forts that existed along the coast near the town of Glewe. Owned by the Portuguese Crown, the French Company of the Indies, and the British Royal African Company, the forts were mainly used to store slaves and trading merchandise. Made up of mud walls, the forts provided tolerable protection for the Europeans but were not strong enough to withstand a legitimate attack from the natives. Furthermore, because the forts were located more than three miles inland, cannons could not effectively protect European ships in the harbour and anchored ships could not come to the aid of the forts in times of need. In this sense, while the forts showcased some degree of European influence, the reality was that the Europeans relied heavily on the king for protection and local natives for sustenance and firewood. This relationship would take a drastic turn with the decline of royal authority and increase of internal power struggles throughout the 18th and 19th centuries that gave way to French colonization of the region in 1872. This map was published in the First French edition of Abb?Presvost's "Histoire G??ale des Voyages", published by Didot at Paris, 1746-1758. Very strong impression on good paper. Paper with chains. Map modern hand-coloured. Wide margins. Published: 1750 ( undated ) by Mapmaker: Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 1772) who was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years
Last updated: Jul 21, 2020