Arguin

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The Dutch fort of Arguin in 1721.
Plan of Arguim (1721).

Arguin (Portuguese: Arguim) is an island off the western coast of Mauritania in the Bay of Arguin. It is approximately 6x2 km in size, with extensive and dangerous reefs around it.[1] The island now part of the Banc d'Arguin National Park.[2]

History[edit]

The island changed hands frequently during the colonial era. The first European to visit the island was the Portuguese explorer Nuno Tristão, in 1443.[3] In 1445, Prince Henry the Navigator set up a trading post on the island, which acquired gum arabic and slaves for Portugal. By 1455, 800 slaves were shipped from Arguin to Portugal every year.[4]

In 1633, during its war against Spain (which then controlled Portugal), the Netherlands seized control of Arguin. It remained under Dutch rule until 1678, with a brief interruption by English rule in 1665. France took over the island in September 1678, but it was then abandoned until 1685.[5] Arguin's aridity and its lack of a good anchorage made long-term European settlement difficult.[1]

Arguin was a colony of Brandenburg-Prussia from 1685 to 1721. France then took control of the island, only to lose it again the following year to the Netherlands, regaining it in 1724. This period of French rule lasted four years; in 1728, it reverted to the control of indigenous peoples.[5] The island was included in the territory of the French colony of Mauritania, and it remained under Mauritanian rule when that country became independent in 1960.[2]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Arguin. 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, V. 2, p. 482
  2. ^ a b Le Parc National du Banc d'Arguin
  3. ^ Huish, John. Travels of Richard and John Lander into the interior of Africa. [1]
  4. ^ Slave Routes - Europe Portugal
  5. ^ a b [2]

Coordinates: 20°36′N 16°27′W / 20.600°N 16.450°W / 20.600; -16.450