Willem Bosman

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Portrait of Willem Bosman from 1704
Edition of the "Nauwkeurige Beschrijving ..." from 1709

Willem Bosman (born January 12, 1672 in Utrecht -?) Joined the Dutch West India Company very early . In 1688, at the age of 16, he came to what was then the Gold Coast (now Ghana ) and later became the top representative of the company in Elmina , the capital of the Dutch here. Bosman spent 14 years on the Gold Coast, during which time he also traveled to other parts of the Guinea Coast , for example Liberia , before returning to the Netherlands in 1702.

He became famous through a book in which he wrote down his experiences on the Gulf Coast: “ Nauwkeurige Beschrijving van de Guinese Goud-, Tand- en Slavenkust ” published in 1704 in Amsterdam. In 1708 a German edition followed under the name “ Boßmann, Wilhelm: Reyse nach Guinea, or a detailed description of the gold pits / elephant teeth and slave trade / along with their inhabitants customs / religion / regiment / wars / heyraths and burials / also old ones animals located here / so previously unknown in Europe. “And other editions in English and French.

In it, he describes in great detail his experiences, but also the customs and traditions of the places he visited. The work is considered the standard work on the Guinea coast of its time. It was not until 1974 that Albert van Dantzig reported doubts about some representations ( Willem Bosman's "New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea": How Accurate Is It?. In: Albert van Dantzig: Willem Bosman. History in Africa . Volume 1, 1974, Pp. 101-108).

An older Dutch description of the Gold Coast (1602) comes from Pieter de Marees .

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