About the Project
The United States Exploring Expedition, led by Lt. Charles Wilkes, was a scientific expedition that circumnavigated the globe from 1838 to 1842, making observations and collecting specimens that formed the historical nucleus of Smithsonian collections. Expedition members collected many things that suggest the level of global exchange already taking place, but nothing that speaks so poignantly to the darkest side of that exchange - the trade in human lives that brought Africans to Brazil. Transcribe Horatio Hale's handwritten notes on West and Central African vocabulary and facial scarification that he collected from enslaved Africans in Brazil during the expedition.
Horatio Hale served as philologist and ethnologist for United States Exploring Expedition. While in Rio de Janeiro, Hale interviewed "natives of Africa" and obtained notes on more than a dozen languages. He also made drawings of facial scarification marks (cicatrixes) and indicated the particular places associated with each type of mark.