ARGUIN, an island (identified by some writers with Hanno’s
Cerne), off the west coast of Africa, a little south of Cape Blanco,
in 20° 25′ N., 16° 37′ W. It is some 4 m. long by 2˝ broad,
produces gum-arabic, and is the seat of a lucrative turtle-fishery.
Off the island, which was discovered by the Portuguese in the
15th century, are extensive and very dangerous reefs. Arguin
was occupied in turn by Portuguese, Dutch, English and French;
and to France it now belongs. The aridity of the soil and the
bad anchorage prevent a permanent settlement. The fishery
is mostly carried on by inhabitants of the Canary Isles. In
July 1816 the French frigate “Medusa,” which carried officers
on their way to Senegal to take possession of that country for
France, was wrecked off Arguin, 350 lives being lost.
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