Today, an American consul receives airline tickers fo r self and family, is met at the airport,
and is whiskedro a furnished residence leased by the embassy.
The governmenr covers medical care and education allowances for children and provides amenities thro ugh the embassy.
Consul Peter Strickland, on the other hand, was on his own. From his home outside Bosron, he had to book passage on a vessel and pay for it himself.
He preferred passage under sail, which lasted abour a month and cosr him $ 100,
whereas rhesreamship voyage ro Wesr Afri ca via Liverpool, Hamburg, or Bordeaux cost $300.
Once in Senegal, he negotiated a lease wirh a local landlord for a residence with a separate room to serve as the consulate.
Perer Strickland was physically loca ted in Africa, bur administratively he was liv ing in France,
WEST AFRICA for Senegal was then a French possession.
For his business and admiraisrrarive dealings, he worked with the Fren ch, not with Africans.
During his first trip to Africa in 1864 in the schooner Indian Queen,
Captain Strickland read over old log books and learned the horrific fact that the vessel “seldom made a voyage without losing one or more of her crew by sickn ess, principally what is called Aftican fever.
This seems to have been caused by her going to differem places in the Rivers along the Coast where malarious influence is present all the time.”
Strickland took quinine as a p rophylacti c against malaria and visited the local hospitals for vaccinations against yellow fever.
Washington and Boston paid close attention to Strickland’s reports on health conditions in the territory-when yellow fever or cholera was detected onboard an arriving ship,
word spread amo ng shipowners and captains to avoid the area or prepare to spend time in quarantine. “The Coast” was considered “the sailors’ graveyard.”
The State Department assigned Captain Strickland to a post known as “GoreeDakar.” Goree and Dakar constitute two nearby, but distinct, places in Senegal.
Goree is a forty-five-acre island off the coast, approximately two mil es from the city of Dakar on the mainland.
WEST AFRICA In 1883, Goree and Dakar made up one municipality, hence the joint name.
The island then served as the major port, the reason why Strickland elected to live there.
On Goree, a natural strategic basalt rock fo rt with cannon and ramparts is still visible today.
The island had been fought over as a strategic military and economi c outpost by the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and the French from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
Senegal remained French until the country’s independence in 1960.
Dakar is the national ca pital and, since 1900, has possessed the country’s largest port.
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