Emanuel Swedenborg, an engineer and mystic of the Enlightenment, prophesied that mankind's spiritual perfection was to be found deep in the heart of Africa. That idea unleashed a flurry of scientific and geographical inquiry among his disciples and other Swedes that has long been neglected. In addition to stimulating an era of romantic colonization in Africa, some of the activity and enthusiasm of the Swedenborgians contributed significantly to the abolitionist agitation that eventually ended the slave trade.

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