CO 1069-91-86

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Description: 29.1.92

Date: 29 January 1892

Our Catalogue Reference: Part of CO 1069/91

This image is part of the Colonial Office photographic collection held at The National Archives, uploaded as part of the Africa Through a Lens project. Feel free to share it within the spirit of the Commons.

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Owner: The National Archives UK
Source: Flickr Commons
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thenationalarchivesuk africathroughalens tna:piecereference=co1069p91 tna:subseriesreference=co1069ss1 tna:iaid=c11443332 tna:seriesreference=co1069 tna:divisionreference=cod32 tna:departmentreference=co wallia oualia guinea anglofrenchboundarycommission

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    • 09/Jul/2014 20:07:57

    This photograph is one of a series that was researched as part of the ‘Archives, Histories, Landscapes: Surveying Sierra Leone’s Cultural Memoryscape’ project funded by the British Academy and led by Paul Basu at University College London. It was taken during the Anglo-French Boundary Commission of 1891-92, which sought to determine the boundary between French Guinea and what would become the British Protectorate of Sierra Leone. The British contingent was led by Captain A. H. Kenney of the Royal Engineers. Other members of the British expedition included Surgeon Major J. J. Lamprey, a Corporal McGregor, a Corporal Lines, and the botanist G. F. Scott-Elliot. Scott-Elliot collected around 2,000 botanical specimens for Kew Herbarium and prepared a parliamentary report on his findings. Due to disagreements between the French and British parties, the Boundary Commission itself was not successful and was abandoned by the French Commissioners. A second, more successful Anglo-French Boundary Commission was organised in 1895-96, which demarcated much of the existing boundary between Guinea and Sierra Leone. At the time of the 1891-92 expedition, the region was being destabilised not only by the expansion of British and French colonial interests, but also by the aggressive tactics of Samory Touré’s Sofa army as it fought to maintain the territory of the Wassoulou Empire. According to Christopher Fyfe’s A History of Sierra Leone, Kenney believed the French members of the Boundary Commission abandoned the expedition because they were reluctant to enter Sofa controlled territory. The British contingent continued inland as far as Farana on the banks of the River Niger, and met with the Sofa general Kemo Bilalé at Heremakono before returning to Freetown. The photographs in this album document the progress of the expedition. Although the locations were not written alongside the photographs, they can be identified with varying degrees of accuracy by comparing the dates with the itinerary described by Scott-Elliot in his botanical report. On 29 January 1892 Scott-Elliot records that the Commission was in the vicinity of 'Wallia' (Oualia), in present day Guinea.