Both daggers have hilts and sheaths of wood with a thin brass covering on which is a raised dotted design. They are from Fernando Po, West Africa and were brought back to Canterbury by Captain Thomas Boteler RN in the 1820s.
Captain Boteler represents the importance of the Royal Navy and its role in mapping the world. He gave items to Canterbury Philosophical and Literary Institution Museum, “which reflects so much credit on the city, and in which I shall ever feel the greatest interest” leaving a cultural legacy that survives today.
Captain Thomas Boteler RN (1797- 1829) was Lieutenant and Assistant Surveyor aboard HMS Leven on a naval survey around Africa that took five years, covered 56,000 km of coast and involved apprehending several slave ships. During the voyage he formed ‘a large and valuable collection of natural curiosities’ and artefacts. In 1828 he sailed as Captain of HMS Hecla to continue survey work in West Africa but died of fever, along with most of his crew.
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