Edward Bartar


Edward Bartar was an Anglo-African man employed by the Royal African Company (RAC) in the 17th century. Some sources report he was a surgeon for the company, but others assert he was one of the most influential slave traders of the time. While being educated in England, he made friends with prominent natural history collectors of the day, including James Petiver.


In his spare time, he collected plants, insects and shells from the Gold Coast region of west Africa. Some of the specimens he collected were considered new to European botany, others with apparent medicinal applications. It is suspected that he used slave labor to aid in these collections that he sent to England, a practice enthusiastically championed by Petiver. This highlights the pervasive link between the Atlantic Slave Trade and natural history collecting.


Pictured: a map of the Gold Coast where Bartar lived.



Sources:

  1. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/hidden-figures-forgotten-contributions-to-natural-history.html

  2. https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1062&context=hist_fac

  3. https://www.americanantiquarian.org/proceedings/44807240.pdf