Jihad in 19th Century Sudan, Part I

Egypt, Sudan, and Jihad are much in the news today. What follows is a brief overview of some of the history behind the news. We begin with “Part I: The Mahdi’s world: Social and Political Conditions”, to be followed by “Part II: The Mahdi’s world: Slavery, Bedrock of Sudan’s Economy” and “Part III: The Mahdi:  The Rise and Fall of the Mahdist State”. This blog series was written by Judith Schaefer, volunteer more »

Happy 45th Birthday, Warren M. Robbins Library!

The Warren M. Robbins Library at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. From a collection of a few hundred books in Mr. Robbins’ personal collection in 1971, the Library has grown to a remarkable 50,000 volumes. It enjoys the reputation of being the premier library in the United States for the research and study of the visual arts of Africa. Our collection of 5,000 African more »

Swahili Coast: Exploration by French Captain Charles Guillain, 1846-1848. Part 3, Encounters and Partnerships

The blog post, last of three, was written by Xavier Courouble, research assistant for Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and the Indian Ocean, an online exhibition part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa. Charles Guillain’s three-volume work, Documents sur l’histoire, la géographie, et le commerce de l’Afrique orientale and the accompanying atlas folio of lithographs and map engravings, Voyage more »

Swahili Coast: Exploration by French Captain Charles Guillain, 1846-1848. Part 2, Campaign Description

The blog post, second of three, was written by Xavier Courouble, research assistant for Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and the Indian Ocean, an online exhibition part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa. Read the first post in the series here. From 1836 to 1848, successively in command of the corvette “La Prévoyante,” “La Dordogne,” and finally the more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade Part III. The Slaver and the Abolitionist

This the third and final installment of National Museum of African Art Library volunteer Judith Schaefer’s series on David Livingstone. See Part I and Part II. “In Congo, unrelenting violence” “.  .  . violence and insecurity have continued to plague eastern Congo . . . groups have sought to gain power and control over the nation’s vast mineral wealth . . . civilians have been raped and killed . . .” The more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade, Part II: The Arab Slave Trade

This post is the second in a three post series by National Museum of African Art Library volunteer Judy Schaffer. If you missed the first installment, posted right before our shutdown-induced hiatus, check it out here. “. . . this trade in Hell, this open sore of the world . . .” David Livingstone’s first book, Missionary travels and researches in South Africa, published in 1857, was a huge success, not only more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade, Part I.

2013 marks the bicentennial of Scottish explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873).  His explorations in central Africa are well known – – “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”  Less well known is his first-hand encounter with the horrors of the Arab slave trade in East Africa.  Two Smithsonian Libraries – – the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art and the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library at the National Museum of Natural more »

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