Regards croisés: James Henry Dorugu's nineteenth-century European travel account

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This article focuses on the little known travel account: The Life and Travels of Dorugu recorded by James Henry Dorugu in the 1850s. Dorugu was a freed slave, who traveled from Africa to Europe with the German explorer Heinrich Barth in 1855. Dorugu's story is a precious and rare eyewitness account of a nineteenth-century African visitor to London, Hamburg, and Berlin. Most travel writing of the period was done by Western travelers who observed the cultures they visited from a eurocentric perspective. In Dorugu's account, the observed becomes the observer. The stories told by the African guides are indispensable to our contemporary understanding of historical expeditions. Although marginalized at the fringes of official histories, Dorugu played a pivotal role as an informed mediator among European explorers, missionaries, and Africans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • nineteenth-century African travel writing in Europe
  • James Henry Dorugu
  • Frederick Buxton Abbega
  • Heinrich Barth
  • James Frederick Schön
  • colonialism
  • histoire croisée


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