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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The schools of the American Protestant mission in Gabon, 1842-1870
Author:Gardinier, D.E.ISNI
Periodical:Revue française d'histoire d'outre-mer
Geographic term:Gabon
Subjects:missionary history
Christian education
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/outre.1988.2659
Abstract:The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) of Boston, between 1842 and 1870, laid the foundations of Protestantism in the Gabon Estuary among the Mpongwe, Séké, and Bakèlè peoples. With the aid of Afro-American and West African assistants, the white missionaries opened schools to teach both boys and girls religion, numeracy, and literacy in both indigenous languages and English, the regional trading language. The circumstances of trade in Estuary society reinforced local customs such as polygyny, consumption of alcohol, and Sabbath work that hindered conversions and retention of converts. Missionary unwillingness to pay Gabonese teachers and other assistants on a par with Afro-American and West African ones indirectly contributed to their departure to take up trade. ABCFM opposition to teaching agriculture and skilled trades, which might have provided alternatives to commerce, further limited Christian influence. Nonetheless, it was the schools rather than the steady efforts at evangelization among adults that proved to be the main agency in the long term for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the Estuary peoples. Note, ref., sum. also in French.