About the book
Capt. Peter Strickland, a little known Connecticut Yankee, crossed the Atlantic 100 times in command of a sailing vessel, traded with French and Portugese colonies during the period of 1864-1905, and served as the first American consul to French West Africa for over 20 years.
Strickland's merchant marine career led him from the east coast of the United States to the west coast of Africa. He introduced American tobacco and wood products into French and Portuguese colonies and on the return trips carried animal hides and peanuts in his 100-ton schooners. He wrote and published a book on behalf of sailors. The U.S. State Department asked him to become the first consul in French West Africa, with residence in Senegal. The captain accepted the terms: he would receive no salary, but he could keep the port fees he collected and continue to practice his import-export business. Living on the former slave island of Goree, Strickland battled epidemics of cholera and yellow fever. His 23-year-old son George accidentally drowned off the coast of Dakar, Senegal. Demoralized and ill, Strickland retired to Boston in 1905 and became a gentleman farmer. At age 77, he copied his entire journal into bound volumes.
This is an ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy book.
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"Capt. Peter Strickland owes much to author Stephen H. Grant.”
—Library of Congress.
“This book offers a vivid picture of the unique career of a New Englander who was a pioneer in the diplomatic field in French West Africa.”
—The Day, New London, Connecticut.
“This is a great new historical source for Senegal, and for 19th century American shipping, trade, and foreign relations.”
—University of Delaware Library.
“[This] interesting and informative book on a little known connection between this area [New London] and the West African country of Senegal . . . opens a window to a neglected aspect of trade in the nineteenth century.”
—New London County Historical Society.
“Grant’s careful blending of historical hindsight with Strickland’s own words brings enormous value to our understanding of U.S. diplomacy.”
—Foreign Service Journal.