Richard Jobson (explorer)

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Richard Jobson (fl. 1620–1623) was an English explorer. His noted work is The Golden Trade in which he describes his voyages to Ethiopia and the Gambia River during 1620–1621. It is also the earliest known European work to mention the game of Mancala.


He was appointed in 1620 to command an expedition to explore the River Gambia, for a group of adventurers. Former attempts in 1618 and 1619 had been failure, because of consequence of the hostility of the Portuguese and health problems.[1]

Jobson, sailing from England on 25 October 1620, and arriving at the mouth of the Gambia on 17 November, went up the river beyond the Barrakunda Falls, to the Tenda area.[2] He did not find the gold he sought.[1]

Somewhere in Gambia, Jobson refused to purchase some female slaves, stating that "We were a people, who did not deale in any such commodities, neither did wee buy or sell one another, or any that had our owne shapes;"[3]


After his return to England in 1621, Jobson published The Golden Trade.[4] He gives accounts of the Africans, then unknown to Europeans, though they had overland trade to the north coast.[1]


  1. ^ a b c  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Jobson, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. 29. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ Arnold Hughes; David Perfect (11 September 2008). Historical Dictionary of The Gambia. Scarecrow Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-8108-6260-9. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Kay, George Kay, The Shameful Trade Pg45, probably quoting The Golden Trade, although this is not listed in the bibliography.
  4. ^ The Golden Trade, or a Discovery of the River Gambra and the Golden Trade of the Æthiopians; also the Commerce with a great blacke merchant called Buckor Sano, and his report of the houses covered with gold, and other strange observations for the good of our owne countrey, set downe as they were collected in travelling part of the yeares 1620 and 1621; by Richard Jobson, gentleman, 1623.

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 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Jobson, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. 29. London: Smith, Elder & Co.