Pepper Coast

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Map by Herman Moll, London, 1729, showing the Grain Coast Negroland and Guinea with the European Settlements, 1736.jpg
Map by Herman Moll, London, 1729, showing the Grain Coast

The Pepper Coast or Grain Coast was a coastal area of western Africa, between Cape Mesurado and Cape Palmas. It encloses the present republic of Liberia. The name was given by European traders.

Contents

Origin of the name

The Pepper Coast got its name from the availability in the region of the melegueta pepper (Aframomum melegueta), also known as the "grain of paradise", which in turn gave rise to an alternative name, the Grain Coast. The importance of the spice is shown by the designation of the area from the Saint John River (at present-day Buchanan) to Harper in Liberia as the "Grain Coast", in reference to the availability of grains of paradise. [1] In some cases (as shown on the map pictured above), this term covers a wider area incorporating Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast.

See also

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<i>Aframomum melegueta</i> Species of flowering plant

Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, and closely related to cardamom. Its seeds are used as a spice ; it imparts a pungent, black-pepper-like flavor with hints of citrus. It is commonly known as grains of paradise, melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, ossame, or fom wisa. The term Guinea pepper has also been used, but is most often applied to Xylopia aethiopica.

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African pepper is a name for several unrelated pepper-like spices traded from the general region of West Africa:

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Alligator pepper

Alligator pepper is a West African spice made from the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, A. citratum or A. exscapum. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum melegueta or "grains of paradise". Unlike grains of paradise, which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds.

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References

  1. Laurie's Sailing Directory for the Ethiopic or Southern Atlantic Ocean to the Rio de la Plata, Cape Horn, and the Cape of Good Hope etc., including the Islands between the two coasts (4th ed.). 1855.

Coordinates: 5°12′N9°30′W / 5.2°N 9.5°W / 5.2; -9.5 (Pepper Coast)