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Sara Forbes Bonetta

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Cause of death  tuberculosis
Home town  Abeokuta
Ethnicity  Yoruba

Other names  Aina
Nationality  Nigerian-British
Name  Sara Bonetta
Sara Forbes Bonetta 3bpblogspotcomHUQs7OFAGoTm8es5OanxIAAAAAAA
Born  1843 (age 36–37), Oke Odan Ogun State
Resting place  Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal
Residence  London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, Lagos Colony, Colonial Nigeria
Died  15 August 1880 (aged 36–37) Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal

Similar  James Pinson Labulo Davies, Dido Elizabeth Belle, Sarah Rector

The Incredible True Story of an African Princess in Victorian England (1999)

Sara Forbes Bonetta (1843 – 15 August 1880) was a West African Egbado omoba of Yoruba royalty who was orphaned in intertribal warfare, sold into slavery, and in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria. She was married to Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist.


Sara Forbes Bonetta James Pinson Labulo Davies and Sarah Forbes Bonetta Art

SARA FORBES BONETTA - WikiVidi Documentary

Early life

Sara Forbes Bonetta You39ll Never Guess Who This Woman39s Godmother Was

Originally named "Aina", Sara was born in 1843 at Oke-Odan, an Egbado village. In 1848, Oke-Odan was raided by a Dahomeyan army; Sara's parents died during the attack and she ended up in the court of King Ghezo as a slave at the age of five. Intended by her captors to become a human sacrifice, she was rescued by Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria; "She would be a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites," Forbes wrote later.

Sara Forbes Bonetta Queen Victoria and the African Princess historywomenbrighton

Forbes named her Sara Forbes Bonetta, Bonetta after his ship the HMS Bonetta. Victoria was impressed by the young princess's exceptional intelligence, and had Sara raised as her goddaughter in the British middle class. In 1851 Sara developed a chronic cough, which was attributed to the climate of Great Britain. Her guardians sent her to school in Africa in May of that year, when she was eight, and she returned to England in 1855, when she was 12. In January 1862 she was invited to and attended the wedding of the daughter of Queen Victoria.

Marriage and children

Sara Forbes Bonetta You39ll Never Guess Who This Woman39s Godmother Was

She was later given permission by the Queen to marry Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies at St Nicholas' Church in Brighton in August 1862, after a period that was to be spent in the town in preparation for the wedding. During her subsequent time in Brighton, she lived at 17 Clifton Hill in the Montpelier area.

Captain Davies was a Yoruba businessman of considerable wealth and the couple moved back to their native Africa after their wedding where they had three children: Victoria Davies (1863), Arthur Davies (1871), and Stella (1873). Sarah Bonetta continued to enjoy a close relationship with Queen Victoria, to the point such that she and Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther were the only Lagos indigènes the Royal Navy had standing orders to evacuate in the event of an uprising in Lagos. Victoria Matilda Davies was also a goddaughter of the Queen of the British Empire. She married the successful Lagos doctor John K. Randle. Many of her descendants (and her daughter's) now live in either England or Sierra Leone, while a separate branch, the aristocratic Randle family of Lagos, remains prominent in contemporary Nigeria.


Sarah Forbes Bonetta died of Tuberculosis on 15 August 1880 in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, a Portuguese island.

Her husband, Captain Davies, erected a granite obelisk-shaped monument more than eight feet high in memory of Sarah Forbes Bonetta at Ijon in Western Lagos, where he had started a cocoa farm. The inscription on the obelisk reads:



Sarah's grave is number 206 in the British Cemetery of Funchal near the Anglican Holy Trinity Church, Rua Quebra Costas Funchal, Madeira. There is currently no headstone.


Sara Forbes Bonetta Wikipedia