The letter-books of the Royal African Company of England form the most substantial and important source of material on English trade in West Africa in the late seventeenth century. The Royal African Company held a legal monopoly of English trade with West Africa, principally in gold and slaves for the American colonies. The correspondence among the Company's local agents is exceptionally detailed in its coverage of the day-to-day operation of their trade and theirinteractions with local African societies - especially on the Gold Coast (Ghana). The letter-books, never previously printed, cover the period 1681-1699. The original texts are being published in full, with extensive explanatory commentary, in three or four volumes. This first volume contains the letters for the years 1681-1683.