In Search of Yanimarew

“And The Children’s Teeth are Set on Edge” portrays S. Paul’s Church in Caton in Lancashire as a monument to Slavery and Abolition through its association with the Hodgson family in the 18th and 19th Centuries. A number of other monuments from this era have also featured either in the book or more recently on the Comments page, including St George’s Everton, and the buildings associated with St Andrews church in Liverpool financed by the wealth of John Gladstone. Of especial importance is the work being done to preserve and regenerate St James in the City in Liverpool as a national monument to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The idea that these buildings, and others like them, represent monuments to slavery emerges organically from their history. However what they really represent are investments made by communities and individuals part of whose wealth derived from the slave trade or its products, cotton and sugar. Despite the fact that, for example, numerous Africans are buried in St James, a tangible connection with the slave trade is somehow lacking simply because slaves were neither procured here nor brought here in significant numbers. The real memorials lie elsewhere. Given the very real difficulties of financing the restoration and preservation of our own historic buildings and particularly our old churches this seems to beg a few questions regarding the memorialisation of the slave trade.

Between 1767 and 1772 Thomas Hodgson was Miles Barber's agent on the African coast at a slave factory in the River Gambia called Yanimarew. Trade in the River Gambia was controlled from James Fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and thus already considered to be a site of prime importance in the memorialisation of the slave trade. So in that spirit of local history in which local is global Tioli went "In Search of Yanimarew" to see what the history of the African Slave Trade looks like on the ground where it occurred over a period of three centuries.


1. Roots - The Liverpool Connection. pdf Some historical background to Thomas Hodgson's stay on the African coast. Coincidentally he was in the Gambia River at roughly the same time that Alex Haley, in his famous book "Roots", claimed his ancestor, Kunta Kinteh, was kidnapped near Juffureh in the African Kingdom of Barra at the entrance to the River Gambia close to James Fort.

2. Roots - A Visit to Juffureh. pdf A critical look at the "Roots Tour" to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of James Fort / Albredah / Juffureh which is offered to the majority of tourists visiting The Gambia.

3. A Brief and Incomplete History of Yanimarew. pdf Some rough notes on what little information has turned up about the history of this once important Slave Factory and Trading Post.

Slide Shows

A photographic record of "The Search for Yanimarew". Three Slide Shows in Adobe Flash Player format (.flv). The music is by Tata Dindin Jobarteh and Copyright © Sam Productions 2008 and used with their kind permission. Tata's Album "Kanake" is available at Amazon UK and Amazon USA. The Map of Africa is Copyright © Cartography Associates 2009 and used by their kind permission under a Creative Commons License.

In Search of Yanimarew
Part One
The Road to Juffureh.

Gambia's "Roots" tour to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of James Fort, Albredah and Juffureh.

In Search of Yanimarew
Part Two
The Road to Jangjanbureh.

A trip to colonial Georgetwon inclluding a cruise up the Gambia River.

In Search of Yanimarew
Part Three
The Road to Yanimarew.

From Jangjanbureh to Wassu and through the bush to the Port of Yanimarew.

The Making of Yanimarew.

Behind the scenes account of the making of "Yanimarew".

The Making of Yanimarew. pdf


1. 1789 Map of The Gambia.
Although dated 1789 much of the information is of earlier date. Available as a zip file the image is very large, almost 14Mb, and consequently the detail resolved is stunning. It is hosted by David Rumsey Cartography Associates ( and made available under a Creative Commons license.

2. Collection of David P. Gamble.
This valuable collection of resources seems to represent a lifetime's work on the history, culture and languages of the Gambia River area. It is hosted by the Gambia Studies Signiture Program of St. Mary's College, Maryland, USA.

3. The Music of Tata Dindin Jobarteh.
Links to Tata's album "Kanake" at Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Excellent music from the famous Gambian Kora musician.

Web Page Banner Images of Africa from the map
"The western coast of Africa from Cape Blanco to Cape Virga, exhibiting Senegambia Proper. By T. Jefferys, 1789,
(c) Cartography Associates 2009
Used under a Creative Commons License by kind permission of Cartography Associates (

Page last updated 02/03/2011

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