Sailors Certificate of Discharge

Contributed by Robert Pool

Sailors Certificate of Discharge

A Certificate of Discharge issued by the Merchant Marine Office, James Watt Street, Glasgow in 1872, this being a duplicate of the original issued in 1869. It shows that William Strathairn, a 17 year old 'Boy' had travelled to 'Old Calabar' on a round journey that lasted 8 months. It does not state the cargo, although as far back as the 16th century, Calabar had been a recognized international sea port, shipping out goods such as palm oil. During the era of the Atlantic slave trade it subsequently became a major port in the transportation of African slaves. The city once served as the seat of Government of the Niger Coast Protectorate, Southern Protectorate and Oil River Protectorate (effectively the headquarters of modern day Nigeria). Most slave ships that transported slaves from Calabar were English, at around 85% of these ships being from Bristol and Liverpool merchants Old Calabar (Duke Town) and New Calabar (Creek Town, 10 miles northeast) were crucial towns in the trade of slaves in that era. The main ethnic groups taken out of Calabar as slaves were the Igbo, although they were not the main ethnicity in the area. Property of Robert Pool

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