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English Liberties, or, The Free-Born Subject's Inheritance (1680)

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The Constitution of our English government (the best in the world) is no arbitrary tyranny like the Turkish Grand Seignior’s, or the French King’s, whose wills (or rather lusts) dispose of the lives and fortunes of their unhappy subjects; nor an Oligarchy where the great men (like fish in the ocean) prey upon, and live by devouring the lesser at their pleasure. Nor yet a Democracy or popular State, much less an Anarchy, where all confusedly are hail fellows well met, but a most excellently mixt or qualified Monarchy, where the King is vested with large prerogatives sufficient to support majesty; and restrained only from power of doing himself and his people harm, which would be contrary to the end of all government....The commonality, too, [are] guarded in their persons and properties by the fence of law, [which] renders them Freemen, not Slaves. In France and other nations the mere will of the prince is law, his word takes off any...head, imposes taxes, or seizes any man's estate, when, how, and as often as he wishes....But in England, the law is both the measure and the bond of every subject’s duty and allegiance, each man having a fixed fundamental right born with him as to the freedom of his person and property in his estate, which he cannot be deprived of, but either by his consent, or some crime for which the law has imposed...a penalty.

Panoramas of Elmina Slave Factory, 1580

1. Aboard fishing boat, Elmina

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2. Elmina Castle

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3. Elmina Castle

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4. Elmina Castle

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5. View of Elmina from Castle

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6. Elmina Castle entry

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7. Cape Coast Castle

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8. Cape Coast Castle courtyard

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Transcript

These interactive, panoramic photographs show the Elmina and Cape Coast slave factories on the coast of western Africa. Europeans remained clustered in a series of forts along the coast while African trading partners, especially the military kingdoms of the Ashanti and the Dahomey, brought them slaves and gold.  During the early colonial period, Africans remained almost entirely in control of their inland areas. Europeans who left the coastal forts faced not only well-organized and well-armed resistance, but also devastating diseases that for centuries precluded any extended European campaigns. Although Africans retained nominal control of the inland area, their societies were terribly transformed by the unequal trade of goods for human beings.  New military societies arose to meet European forces, and entire areas became depopulated due to the ensuing warfare and enslavement.