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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Drake's Fake: A Curiosity Concerning a Spurious Visit to Asante in 1839
Author:McCaskie, Thomas C.ISNI
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:slave trade
Ashanti polity
historical sources
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171635
Abstract:A wholly fraudulent source is an unusual occurence in historical research. Much more common is the discovery of a source that skilfully combines spurious invention with some regard for accuracy and convincing detail. The present note deals with a document of this type that, among other things, purports to offer a brief first-hand account of life in Kumase in 1839: 'Revelations of a Slave Smuggler: being the autobiography of Captain Richard Drake, an African Trader for Fifty Years - from 1807-1857; during which period he was concerned in the transportation of half a million blacks from African coasts to America, With a Preface by his Executor, Rev. Henry Byrd West of the Protestant Home Mission' (New York: R.M. DeWitt and Co., 1860). The present author is chiefly concerned here with the accuracy or inaccuracy of this piece of reportage; and - unusually for precolonial Africa - the document presently under review can be directly compared with a number of other precisely contemporary written accounts of life in Kumase. Notes.