James Africanus Beale Horton

(1835—1883) army medical officer and political economist

Quick Reference

(1835–1883). West African medical doctor, army officer, and political writer born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the son of a liberated slave. He went to school and studied at Fourah Bay Institute with a view to entering the Christian ministry. However, along with two other men, he was selected in 1853 to study medicine in Britain with a view to returning to West Africa as an army medical officer. Horton studied first at King's College London and graduated from Edinburgh in 1859. He was very conscious that he was an African and adopted the name ‘Africanus’. Commissioned into the Army, he returned to West Africa, where he spent twenty years practising as a military doctor and occasionally serving as an administrator. He retired as a lieutenant-colonel in 1880. Early in his career many of his white fellow doctors resented his role and they persuaded the War Office not to appoint further African officers.


From The Oxford Companion to Black British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.

Reference entries