The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from:

Open location in Google Maps: 9.938194, -11.363820

6 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

"Guinea" in its various linguistic permutations was the name used in early modern Europe for sub-Saharan coastal Africa, from what is now Senegal to Ivory Coast. "The modern state of Guinea [shown on the Google map, above] did not come into existence until 1898 but the history of the area stretches back much further. West Africa saw many empires rise and fall in the period before European intervention and Guinea fell within many of them....The slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European adventurers in the 16th century. Slavery had always been part of every day life but the scale increased as slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade."

Pedro  •  Link


"the name used in early modern Europe for sub-Saharan coastal Africa, from what is now Senegal to Ivory Coast."

From Terry's post above the term Guiny was used very loosely, and for a position in 1639 ish see Jansson's Atlas and Guinea...

In those days it seems that it was between Benin and The Ivory Coast, in the region of Toga and Ghana. Therefore our google map may not be relevant?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

For a modern summary history see:-

P.E. H. Hair and Robin Law
The English in Western Africa to 1700 (with select bibliography)
in Nicholas Canny ed. The Origins of Empire. British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century [Oxford History of the British Empire Vol 1] Oxford: OUP, 1998 pp. 241 - 263,

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Guinea Company" -- Company of Adventurers of London Trading to the Parts of Africa.

Granted a monopoly of trade 'for ever hereafter' by James I in 1618 for "Guinney and Bynney" - "a formula which encompassed the whole west African coast from Senegal to what is today Nigeria."... although a trading station was established up the Gambia River, this was evidently abandoned after 1621. The company could not enforce its monopoly effectively, due to its dependence on royal favor, and in 1624 its monopoly was declared a grievance by Parliament.

The company was taken over by Nicholas Crispe (1598 - 1666) a London merchant who invested from 1625 and bought a controlling interest in 1628. An additional charter was granted in 1631 to a body called "The Company of Merchants Trading to Guinea" - the wording of the charter implies a new body distinct from the1618 group but those involved were Crispe and the members of the existing company, - given a monopoly for 31 years of trade from Cape Blanco to the Cape of Good Hope. The new charter asserted territorial as well as purely commercial rights and promised government support against foreign competitors, explicitly the Dutch. The company's main concern was now gold; Crisp later claimed to have imported gold to a total value of pounds sterling 500,000, probably over the twelve years. 1633 - 44.

The Guinea Company proved ineffective in challenging the dominance of the Dutch West India Company and English interlopers; in 1634 a Scottish "Guinea Company". was chartered -but by other London merchants. The English company suffered through Crispe's identification with the Royalist cause: in 1640 he was ordered to Parliament to surrender his patent and in 1644 his shares were confiscated in lieu of a debt owed to the state. Control of the Company passed to merchants loyal to Parliament The Company's difficulties with English interlopers lead to a challenge by a group of merchants led by Samuel Vassall which led to a Parliamentary Committee of Trade inquiry, 1650-51. Vassall now joined the Company; the Company's monopoly was extended for a further 14 years but geographically restricted to an area twenty leagues either side of its two principal trading centers - Sherbro Sierra Leone and Kormantin on the Gold Cost - in effect it retained a monopoly of the redwood and gold trades but the trade further east mainly in slaves became free.

It suffered severe financial losses from the depredations of the Royalist fleet under Prince Rupert and the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54. By the mid 1650's the Guinea Company had ceased to function as an effective trading body. In 1657 it leased its rights and factories to the East India Company who were seeking gold and ivory for the India market.

Brief summary, from P.E. H. Hair and Robin Law, above, pp 251 -5
citing "the only substantial account, itself frequently neglected" John W. Blake 'The English Guinea Company, 1618 - 1660' Proc. Belfast Natural History & Philosophical Society, III, 1, (1945/46), pp. 14 - 27

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Vlankenburgh, Jan (1623-1667)

Dutch West India Company Director general of the Coast of Guinea, stationed at Elmina in 1656-1659 and 1663-1667. Portrait, circa 1660-2, with Fort St. George in the background, and biographical details:-…

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