Joseph Antonio Emidy was born in the area of West Africa then known as Guinea (c.1775). At that time the whole of the West African coastline was referred to, in Europe, as the Gulf of Guinea. This is a huge region of West Africa, which encompasses the contemporary African States of Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and The Gambia, possibly as far as Ghana and Mali.
By the late 18th century the immensely profitable Trans-Atlantic slave trade was in full force. Although originally attracted by the prospect of gold, the Portuguese and subsequently other European Nations, including Britain, soon found another source of wealth in the transition of slaves to the New World to service the huge labour demands of European Industrialisation and the expanding sugar and tobacco plantations in the Americas. The triangular trade saw manufactured goods being shipped from Europe for sale in Africa, slaves being shipped from Africa to the New World and colonial products such as sugar and tobacco being shipped from the Americas back to Europe.