In 1815 the African Company of Merchants planned a mission to Ashantee (Asante) in modern Ghana, and appointed Thomas Edward Bowdich the conductor. However, after reaching Cape Coast Castle the council decided he was too you and appointed Mr. James, the governor of Fort Accra the principal instead. However, a series of diplomatic blunders at Coomassie placed Bowdich back in charge who in 1817 managed to form a treaty with the king of Ashantee.

This achievement promised peace in this part of Africa and aided in the extension of British influence as well as in the annexation of the Gold Coast colony. For his part, Bowdich is considered one of the first Europeans to penetrate into the interior of Africa.

This published account of his exploits is the earliest European account of the Asante at the height of their power and splendor; the work is still considered a classic in the field. Bowdich's further criticism of the practices of the African Company led the British government to abolish the company and in 1821 to take over administration of the Gold Coast.

11 plates and plans (2 engraved maps, one folding, wood-engraved and letterpress plan, folding engraved plate, 7 fine hand-coloured aquatint plates after Bowdich), 5pp. engraved sheet music on 3 leaves

Appendix IV contains the list of zoological specimens obtained.

Some of the plates hand-colored and signed: Engraved by R. Havell & Son.


Abbey Travel I, 279; Gay 2861; Tooley 95.

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