This chapter examines how James MacQueen constructed his Niger theory by considering the West Indian and West African people and places that informed, and can be identified from, his geographical writing. His first efforts to complete Mungo Park’s discoveries were undertaken while working on a slave plantation in Grenada. When he arrived, the island was recovering from a devastating revolt known as Fédon’s Rebellion. This event had a deep effect on MacQueen, contributing to his views about African ‘savagery’ and profound Francophobia. The chapter then investigates the contribution of enslaved people and their ‘captive knowledge’ to MacQueen’s Niger theory in three ways. It begins by considering the relationship between MacQueen and one particular African informant, a ‘Mandingo boy’, who is singled out in accounts. It then analyses MacQueen’s work for traces of knowledge that may have come from the enslaved informants. Finally, the chapter turns to West Africa itself and attempts to recover something of the cultures and histories of his Mandinka informants.
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