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Mastering the NigerJames MacQueen's African Geography and the Struggle over Atlantic Slavery$
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David Lambert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226078069

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226078236.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Mastering the Niger

Mastering the Niger

(p.1) Chapter One Mastering the Niger
Mastering the Niger

David Lambert

University of Chicago Press

This introductory chapter sets out the central argument that Atlantic slavery – as a practice of subjugation, a source of wealth and a focus of political struggle – was entangled with the production, circulation and reception of geographical knowledge. Three historical contexts for the argument are examined: the struggle between proslavery and antislavery forces over the future of slavery in the British Empire; the intensified interest in West Africa and West African geography, including the effort to explore and map the River Niger; and the emergence and institutionalisation of geography as a distinct discourse and field of knowledge. All three are associated with the period from the 1780s to 1830s. The chapter then goes on to provide a biographical sketch of the life of the geographer, plantation manager, Glasgow merchant and proslavery propagandist, James MacQueen (1778-1870), who is the focus of the book. The chapter ends with a summary of each chapter.

Keywords:   Atlantic slavery, Geographical knowledge, West Africa, African geography, River Niger, James MacQueen, Antislavery, Proslavery

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