The West African island of Gorée was one of the nodes that connected African trading routes to North Atlantic trade. The varied population included English, French, Portuguese, Manding, Moor, Sereer, and Wolof. The island was notable because many of the categories by which people are identified-gender, race, class-were not strictly defined and did not dictate economic success. At one time, African women constituted the majority of property owners. Whereas many colonial studies focus on urbanism and colonial discourse, this article looks to the domestic sphere. For this inquiry into life on the ground, I cast my net wide and draw on source materials including rental contracts, wills, and probate inventories. My goal is to complicate the perception of how buildings functioned in colonial environments. The primary method is considering a variety of users, including wealthy Europeans, tenants, servants, and those for whom Gorée is most widely known-slaves.

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