The Greatest Liberians in History - Emile Hoffman






Liberian Slavers and Anti-Slavers
Kandaquali (The Great Kanda) - the Anti- Slaver

One of the most infamous slave traders in the history of the world took an active part in the Great Mane war –with the expectation of being paid with slaves for his services. His name was John Hawkins.

In order to win the Great Mane (Mende) War during the 1560’s, Kandaquali and Flansire II promised to give John Hawkins some of the defeated people of Sierra Leone as slaves. The actual number according to the sixteenth-century Portuguese Historian, De Armada, was 350. John Hawkins and his English forces provided assistance to Kandaquali forces and even participated in the final battle.  Conversely, the Portuguese supported the forces Sierra Leonean Mane(Mende) led by Farma Dogo II and his Uncle called Sasena. Kandaquali (The Great Kanda) served as governor of Quoja (Cape Mount) under the overlordship of Flansire II. He was a member of the Mane-Kru branch of the Quali (Kollie) royal family.  He was the leader of the Mane-Kru military establishment that ruled Cape Mount.

Hawkins had become the richest man in England as the result of his slave trading enterprises. Hawkins and his cousin Francis Drake plundered the West African coast seizing thousands of Africans from their towns and villages. They savagely attacked peaceful fishermen and traders, taking away men and women.

Hawkins’s ships had a practice of bombarding unsuspecting coastal villagers in Liberia and Sierra Leone, usually at night. Taking advantage of the ensuing panic and confusion, the men whom Hawkins had lying in wait would then attack the villages, blasting their guns, killing and maiming at random. Hawkins randomly murdered local leaders and forced them to give up their people. He also used powerful cannons on their coastal towns. Hawkins also enlisted help from local collaborators in his endeavors.

After a long struggle that lasted through the late 1550’s and up until 1567, according to Manual Alvares de Armada, it was with English assistance that Kandaquali defeated the Mane establishment of Sierra Leone. After the victory, Kandaquali immediately reneged on his promise. Kandaquali refused to give the 350 slaves that he had promised to the infamous English Slaver John Hawkins. Following the battle he delayed and stalled, later telling Hawkins to see his overlord King Flansire II of Folgia. Thus, Hawkins sailed to Cape Monsterrado only to be told by the royal administration there that the King was away in Rivercess fighting his brother, King Gammina. Hawkins sailed for Rivercess and could not meet Flansire II.

Hawkins then resorted to raiding the coast and burning towns along the coast of Guinea and the Gambia in order to get some slaves. According to De Almada, Hawkins thought that Kandaquali (Kandaquali) and Flansire II were not men of honor because they used him to help win the war, but reneged on their promise. The crest of the matter is that Mane royalty was fervently anti-slavery.

Kandaquali did not want to sell his new subjects to the English slaver. He told Hawkins to go see his cousin and overlord (Flansire II), and that Flansire would provide him slaves. Naturally, if Kandaquali was a slaver he could have easily given Hawkins 350 slaves since he had captured thousands of prisoners of war. Additionally, he could have given thousands more slaves for guns and other provisions. After this war, Kandaquali  as known as Shere  became one of Sierra Leone’s greatest kings. He is the second most famous Sierra Leonean Mende king after Farma the Conqueror.




  • Pre-1822 Liberian History
  • Mansarico (aka Magbete Quali - Kollie), one of the greatest female conquerors in African history, was described by European and traditional historians of the sixteenth century as a woman of the very highest standing in the Empire of Mali. More...
  • Post 1822 Liberian History
  • Liberia is located on the West Coast of Africa.  Liberia is bordered on the West by Sierra Leone, on the North by Guinea, the Ivory Coast on the East and the Atlantic Ocean on the South. The modern nation of Liberia was established in 1822 as a home of refuge for the descendents of Africans who were taken to the United States as slaves. More...

  • Liberian Slavers and Anti-Slavers Kandaquali (The Great Kanda) - the Anti-Slaver
  • One of the most infamous slave traders in the history of the world took an active part in the Great Mane war –with the expectation of being paid with slaves for his services. His name was John Hawkins. More...

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