The Royal African Company and the African Company

The Royal African Company was originally known as the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa was a private company that traded Gold, Silver, Ivory, and later slaves with Africa. The Charter was founded 1660 in London England by the House of Stewart (British Royal Family) and was led by James II, Duke of York and Charles II. Company of Royal Adventurers was grant a monopoly over English trade with West Africa. With help of the Navy and Army, they established forts on the West African coast that served as staging and trading stations and was responsible for seizing any English ships that attempted to operate in violation of the company’s monopoly.

The Company of Royal Adventurers fell deeply into debt in 1667, during the war in Netherlands the same war itself started in 1664. The company had lost most of its forts on the African coast except for Cape Corse.

In 1672 the original company re-emerged, Re-structured and with a new charter from the king, as the new Royal African Company. Its new Charter was broader than the old one and included the right to set up forts and factories, maintain troops, and exercise martial law in West Africa, in pursuit of trade in Gold, Silver, Ivory, and slaves.

In 1680 the company was transporting about 5,000 African slaves a year across the Atlantic. Many slaves were branded with the letters ‘DY’ for its Governor, the Duke of York and others was branded on their chest ‘RAC’ for the Royal African Company.

Between 1672 and 1689 the company transported around 90,000 to 100,000 slaves. Its profits contribution to the increase in the financial power of those who controlled the City of London.

In 1689, the company acknowledged that it had lost its monopoly with the end of royal power in the Glorious Revolution, but the company continued to trade.

From 1694 until 1700, the company was a major participant in the Komenda Wars in the port city Komenda in the Eguafo Kingdom, modern day Ghana. The company allied with a merchant prince named John Cabess and various neighboring African Kingdoms to depose the King of Eguafo and permanently establish a fort and factory in Komenda.

The company continued purchasing and transporting slaves until 1731, when it abandoned slaving in favour of ivory and gold dust.

The African Royal Company’s logo depicted an elephant and castle.


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