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Robert Norris, d. 1791
Memoirs of the Reign of Bossa Ahadee, King of Dahomy, an Inland Country of Guiney. To Which Are Added, the Author's Journey to Abomey, the Capital; and a Short Account of the African Slave Trade
London: Printed for W. Lowndes, 1789.


Robert Norris, an Englishman, was a trader in West Africa from the 1750s to the 1780s. In the late 1780s, Norris represented Liverpool slave traders by appearing before governmental investigative committees. Through his work during the investigation and his defense of the slave trade in his Memoirs, published in 1789, Norris was influential in preventing heavy regulation of the slave trade through the early 1790s. He died in Liverpool, England in 1791.

Norris's work covers the politics, culture, and conflicts of Dahomy, an African nation east of the Gold Coast. While chronicling the violence and turmoil of royal politics, Norris also gives details about various government and military personnel and positions. There are descriptions of African life, attitudes, and relations between the king and his subjects interspersed throughout the narrative. Norris then describes a visit he made to King Bossa Ahadee of Dahomy in 1772, and concludes with an account of the African slave trade.

Work Consulted: Finkelman, Paul and Joseph C. Miller, eds., Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery, New York: Macmillan Reference, 1998.

Monique Prince

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