Map of the west coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the Colony of Liberia / compiled chiefly from the surveys and observations of the late Rev. J. Ashmun. Philadelphia: A. Finley, 1830 (fold-out plate detached from Annual Report of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Colour of the United States, Washington, 1830)
PHS Call number: MAPCASE 46:34
Reverend Jehudi Ashmun (1794-1828), a minister, was active in the American Colonization Society and was a colonial agent of Liberia from 1822 to 1828. Note the year of Ashmun’s death—he died in Connecticut, probably of a disease caught in Liberia—two years before his map was printed in Philadelphia.
- The coastline of Liberia is labeled in several places with “country of the Bassas” “country of the Deys,” etc. What do you think these designations mean? What do they tell you about the land the African American and white American colonists were settling on?
- Based on the plan for the town of Monrovia, what are the priorities of the settlement?
- Why do you think the colonists chose the spot that they did to build the town of Monrovia? What were the advantages of this location?
- Observe the location of Millsburg and of Caldwell, two towns mentioned in Brown’s testimony about his time in Liberia. Why do you think those particular locations were chosen for the towns?
- Who created this map? What was the mapmaker’s perspective on colonization? Can a map be biased? Why or why not?
- What do you think was produced in the “colonial factories” mentioned on that map? Does their mention on the map refute Brown’s testimony that there weren’t factories to speak of in Liberia?