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Henry Smeathman, the Flycatcher – Natural History, Slavery, and Empire in the Late Eighteenth Century - Liverpool Scholarship Online
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Henry Smeathman, the Flycatcher: Natural History, Slavery, and Empire in the Late Eighteenth Century

Deirdre Coleman


In 1771 Joseph Banks, John Fothergill and other wealthy collectors sent a talented, self-taught naturalist to Sierra Leone to collect all things rare and curious, from moths to monkeys. The name of this collector was Henry Smeathman, an ingenious and enterprising Yorkshireman keen on improving his position in the world. His expedition to the West African coast, which coincided with a steep rise in British slave trading in this area, lasted four years during which time he built a house on the Banana Islands, married several times into the coast’s ruling dynasties, and managed to negotiate the t ... More

Keywords: Henry Smeathman, natural history, slavery, collecting, the tropics, West Africa, West Indies, Voyages and Travels

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9781786940537
Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786940537.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Deirdre Coleman, author
University of Melbourne