Alsop, J.D.

English Seamen and Traders in Guinea 1553-1565. The New Evidence of Their Wills
1992 0-7734-9572-X
The first English voyages solely to Guinea were previously known mainly through accounts in Eden and Hakluyt. They can now be seen through a newly-discovered source, the wills of ninety men who died on the voyages. These wills depict in detail the shipboard life of Tudor sailors, and provide the earliest records of any English long-distance seafaring. Of the 1,000 or so men serving on these voyages, some 400 are named in the wills. The wills are printed in full, with extensive annotation. A lengthy introduction deals with the Guinea voyages, 16th-century will-making, and the shipboard life of seamen - terms of service, manning, provenances, possessions aboard (especially clothing), indebtedness and the shipboard economy, evidences of social networks. Apart from throwing further light on the earliest contacts between England and Black Africa, the volume contributes to both the marine and social history of Tudor England.