Linconia

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Linconia was the name of a proposed Central American colony suggested by United States Senator Samuel Pomeroy of Kansas in 1862, after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln asked the Senator and United States Secretary of the Interior Caleb Smith to work on a plan to resettle African Americans from the United States.[1]

Background[edit]

Since his early political career, Abraham Lincoln supported the American Colonization Society, a group which spawned in the early 19th century to return former African American slaves back to the continent of Africa. They helped to establish the colony of Liberia in 1821.[2] Similarly to Linconia, the name of Liberia's capital Monrovia was derived from the name of the fifth President of the United States James Monroe.[3]

Lincoln desired to return former slaves to Africa or other tropical regions, with their consent and the accord of the authorities of the country where they were to be settled.[4] He repeated his support for colonization numerous times, including during the American Civil War.[1]

The plan[edit]

By 1862, Lincoln had decided that Chiriquí Province in Panama would be an ideal location to start an African-American colony. In August of that year, he invited a group of prominent African-Americans to the White House to discuss the plan. He stated that the area had "evidence of very rich coal mines...[and] among the finest [harbors] in the world." The delegation reacted negatively to the plan. Later that month, The National Republican published an editorial with the title "The Colony of Linconia", which stated that "the necessary arrangements for founding a colony on a grand scale...have been completed" with the project being headed by Senator Pomeroy. Pomeroy proposed that 100 African-American families travel with him to the site as "pioneers" on October 1. In September, Pomeroy received the permission of the government of the Republic of New Granada, and landowner Ambrose W. Thompson of the Chiriquí Improvement Company.[3]

However, the Central American nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras felt threatened and informed Washington that they opposed this plan. United States Secretary of State William H. Seward informed these nations that no plan would continue without their consent, but Lincoln continued to push the plan forward. By late September, after being advised by Seward of the growing international outrage from the Central American nations, Lincoln decided to abandon the idea, angering Pomeroy who had already found 500 "pioneers."[3]

See also[edit]

  • Île-à-Vache (the site of another Civil War–era colonization effort)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b DiLorenzo, Thomas (2002). The Real Lincoln. New York: Three Rivers Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-7615-2646-3. 
  2. ^ "Background on Conflict in Liberia". Friends Committee on National Legislation. June 1, 2004. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Cooke, Jacob E. (1957). Frederic Bancroft - Historian (First ed.). Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 203–226. ISBN 978-1-4067-0689-5. 
  4. ^ Hay, John; Nicolay, John George (1890). Abraham Lincoln: A History, Volume VI. New York: The Century Co. pp. 161, 355–357.