A Dutch account of the Pepper Coast
in the Seventeenth Century:
Chevalier des Marchais

After the wars of Louis XIV were over, France and Holland somewhat drew together in their common policy; so much so, that in the middle of the eighteenth century the informal alliance between them at the Cape of Good Hope became a danger to the British East India Company, and led to abortive attempts on the part of the British to seize the Cape of Good Hope. Under the Orleans Regency, advantage was taken of this friendlier feeling with the Dutch to call at the Dutch settlement on the Gold Coast, and the French began to think of creating depôts for trade in slaves and even for colonisation far to the east of their establishments in Senegambia1. In tropical South America, as well as in Africa, the Dutch and the French were in friendly relations, and in 1725 and subsequent years the Chevalier des Marchais was sent by the French Government to visit the West Coast of Africa and the South American settlement of Cayenne (Guiana), and report on the trading prospects of both regions. The following is an abridgment of Chevalier des Marchais’ description of his visit to Cape Mesurado (the modern Monrovia).


Other explorers

A Dutch account of Liberia in the seventeenth century








1 Which had been commenced (perhaps) in 1360 by the Dieppe adventurers, recommenced in 1637, and definitely established by the building of Fort St. Louis du Sénégal in 1662. In 1677-8 the French captured from the Dutch the forts of Beguin (South-west Sahara coast) and Gorée (Dakar).



© fpm van der kraaij