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    Joshua Montefiore

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    August, 10, 1762 – June, 26, 1843

    The story of Liberia, Africa's country settled by free slaves, is well known. But it wasn't the first attempt to create a haven for those who suffered from bondage. A lesser known attempt came on Bolama a good three decades before Liberia's founding.

    Bolama (also known as Bulama or Bulam) is an island off the west coast of Africa, in what is now Guinea-Bissau. Back in 1791, a group of English adventurers tried to colonize it without any usage of slave labor. Among the English leaders was Joshua Montefiore, a Jewish lawyer who was nevertheless put in charge of the expedition's military.

    Alas, the natives didn't take kindly to the colonizers, and, after a couple of years, the Englishmen departed. Montefiore eventually made his way to America, where he went into publishing. He tried to turn the expedition's failure into a book, "An Authentic Account of the Late Expedition to Bulam".

    Needless to say, the Bolama story has been pretty much lost to history. Maybe Montefiore should have come up with a snappier title...

    Verdict: Jew.

    February 26, 2021

    See Also

    Joachim Gans

    Diego de Montemayor

    Emin Pasha

    Charles Schomberg

    Charles Taylor
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