Bai Bureh’s Photo

Bai Bureh is recognized as the leader of a rebellion against British colonial rule in northern Sierra Leone.

Inscribed on the photo is: Bai Bureh, Chief of the Timini when a prisoner at Sierra Leone in 1898. An original photograph by Lieutenant Arthur Greer West India Regiment who died August 7, 1900, when storming a blockade after the relief of Kumassie.

From the Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone:

After the British protectorate was declared over the Sierra Leone interior in 1896, a house tax was imposed, which many of the rulers and their people opposed, in addition to imposing the new laws the British were trying to implement. The British reaction was a forceful show of authority, including arresting, deposing, and brutalizing some of the local rulers. Bai Bureh was believed to be one of the rulers staunchly opposed to the tax and thus faced inevitable confrontation with the British who determined to make an example of him. This led to a major war of resistance in 1898 between the British and a Bai Bureh–led coalition that lasted for 10 months.

This is the only known photograph of Bai Bureh. It was discovered by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Gary Schulze, who found the photo on eBay. Before this, there was only a pencil sketch of Bureh from a British army officer named H.E. Green.