GHANA,FROM SLAVERY TO COLONIALISM
April 10, 2011 § 10 Comments
Subject Kwame slave AAA
KWAME-THE LAST ENSLAVED FROM- GHANA, WEST AFRICA AND NEOETHOSM
GEIOFFREY KOFI AKUAMOA
KWAME THE LAST ENSLAVED FROM –
GHANA, WEST AFRICA
KWAME, THE LAST ENSLAVED FROM
GHANA -WEST AFRICA
GEOFFREY KOFI AKUAMOA
This is a work of history. Only few of the names described here have been altered and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions of thoughts of the publisher.
KWAME- THE LAST ENSLAVED FROM GHANA
Copyright c 2011
Geoffrey Kofi Akuamoa
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or part by means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and review
Printed in Norway
This book is dedicated to the commemoration of my parents, Ebenezer K. Reynolds and Felicia, my brothers Osei Akuamoa and Bernard Akuamoa. They are out of sight but not out of heart and spirit. It is from my deep desire for life that I write with emotion for those who, for many years have suffered in those troubled times. To grasp the meaning to form sound judgments one must look into the past for the foundation of the present. The family members did not disappear forever but their spirits have given me the idea and courage to search for sense in life. This book is also written in memory and appreciation of the bravery, agony and anguish of enslaved African people. They did not perish for nothing.
History of pre-colonial period of Ghana and the slave trade is not completely known in details due to lack of archaeological evidences and neglect of western historians. Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment, lacked amongst African ancestors. Stories are oral and there is no evidence of documents unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, Accounts written by Europeans, tone down the tragedy. Books written by Africans are academic and unprejudiced.
The book provides the reader with basic understanding of The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade from especially Ghana, West Africa. It provides the reader the background of the nation Ghana, tribal wars and the role played by the chiefs and kings during the slave trade. It was European trade.
As quoted by a freed slave from Ghana, “If there were no buyers there would be no sellers.” By the same token, “if there were no sellers there would be no buyers”. Whatever philosophy one comes with the cries of agony, the putrid smell of faeces, urine and vomit along with decaying corpses come alive in this book as they combine into a powerful force to hit every sense organ of the living.The story is based on oral narrations. The roots of antagonisms amongst various ethnic groups and lineages within Ghana and the impacts of the social disruptions created in the past due to the slave trade are portrayed in the book. The Africans enslaved adopted a new culture, Neoethosm on the basis of their African heritage.
An arrangement where an individual is bought and sold by another individual for the purpose of compulsory labour is slavery. The triangular trade barred Africans from developing their own although, Africa was rich in labour, wealth, natural resources and good weather conditions. Money fetching crops such as cotton, rice, corn, hemp, sugar, tobacco and workforce consisting of people with physical and mental ability directed to work in West Africa were plentiful and yet, Africans were brutally shipped to other continents. Thus, in the late 1700’s to early 1860’s 4,000,000 people were brought at no expense and transported to the United States to be sold as slaves and the chiefs and the kings, with their superciliousness, unaware of the suffering of their own people or did not care and were happy to get rid of their enemies, participated. Moreover, it was easier to get rid of strong enemies and be paid for.
The enslaved were kept in dungeons under terrible conditions before being transported and passed through a horrifying Middle Passage during the Triangular Trade before winding up on plantations in the Americas. In America, the enslaved were material goods, not persons and were to be treated as such. They were properties and any break of the slave owners’ laws was punishable by whippings, torture, imprisonment, or the enslaved were sold away from their kinfolk or death. Possessing a slave was seen as a symbol of wealth, supremacy and high prestige. Thus, the whites wanted to procure one to get rid of their inferiority complexes. Those who could not obtain enslaved propounded a philosophy that although, they were poor, they were neither enslaved nor black, they were whites and their colour motivated them satisfaction in life. However, there were white slaves who endured the same punishment as the blacks as well as white children during the Industrial Revolution and in Australia.
Those who suffered are lost forever; they are out of sight but not out of heart and mind. In this book, I have reviewed a short history of ancient empire of Ghana, settlements, wars, and animosities amongst the various tribes and amongst Africans in general.
Europe was economically and politically weak and could only trade around the Black and the Mediterranean Seas. Due to the political change in the Middle East, Europe had to look for somewhere else. That somewhere else, was Ghana and the West African societies are still not coming in terms with slavery and expansionism. It had detrimental effect on long-term economic growth and development as well as political stability and psychological effects. West Africans were sold on sale. Slave trade impeded the formation of larger ethnic groups and caused ethnic fractionalization. The young generations of the present inhabitants of modern Ghana are aware that there are overwhelming twists and turns in every human life irrespective of legacy, something that is handed down from ancient Ghana, and which has to be fixed.
“Fragile local economy and societies are being severely harmed by the on-going trade.” Dr David Livingstone.
Slave trade was a joined venture by the world and has left Africans a scar- complex.
Africans were spread in millions into foreign countries and their descendants carried talents and communitarian ideals, rich cultural traditions and philosophies that transformed and enriched the cultures in the Americas.
Geoffrey Kofi Akuamoa
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
This book is history, the slave name Kwame is invented, but the historical events he describes are as accurate as research can make them. The unstinted help of the writer`s family is hereby gratefully acknowledged.
To my grandmother, Nana Mirekua and my father, Kwasi Akuamoa and my grandfather, Nana Otuo, I cannot thank them enough for their oral descriptions about the life of the great ancestors. Their narrations were weaponries with which could complete this work and without them it would never have been possible. They lived and witnessed every proceeding.
West Africa, Ghana through Ancient and Modern Times
The ancient West Africans lived at the costal forest area from Cameroon to Guinea. They traded with Phoenicians-Canaanites and their partners were the Greeks battering slaves and extended their trade to the Americas in 1500 B, C. By the 5th century B.C., the Phoenicians traded with many West African kingdoms. They dealt in bronze, works of art and carved stones tools. Investigation into the history of West Africa never turned up but it is known that they had a civilization similar to that of ancient Egypt.
The Sahel forms a belt up to 1000 km wide and spans from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the Red Sea in the East. It includes countries of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The area consists of semi-arid grasslands, savannahs, steppes, and thorn shrub lands lying between the wooded Sudan savannah to the south and the Sahara to the north.
Around 4000 BCE the climate of the Sahara and the Sahel became drier and lakes and rivers began to shrink thus, there were fewer lands for settlement and farming. It resulted in people migration from the region to West Africa, a humid and ideal climate for agriculture. They voyaged across the interiors of Africa, through regions towards regions with growth of flora, wildlife and humans.
Long time ago in the Eleventh Century was an empire of great wealth and power in the western Sudan, the ancient empire of Ghana. By 1068 the empire became the most commanding state in West Africa. It covered the area between Senegal to the west and Niger to the east. Its ruling people were the Soninke. Their system of inheritance was matrilineal which has been maintained today amongst Akan people of modern Ghana. The empire had an important city Kumbi, known as Al-Ghaba. Traders from North Africa obeyed the laws of the kingdoms. The city was the administrated Centre because it was the seat of the King of Ghana. His palace was magnificent, outstanding and superb. However, the rest of his subjects lived in poorly built houses of mud, dirt and thatch. The ruler was titled, the Ghana of Ghana. Together with his people they believed in life after death. Some of the people were Islam and others worshiped traditional gods.
The leader was so much respected that conversations were carried on through a royal official interpreter. To maintain his possession of wealth and authority and to protect his people, the king had a colossal war-machine with trained soldiers. The kingdom was fertile and his subjects could supply abundant foodstuff and useful materials such as grass thatch. In addition, the kingdom strategic position between the goldfields and the desert routes of the North African merchants gave its city, Trans-Saharan Trade. Trade from Europe passed through North Africa and the Sahara to reach West Africa. Thus, the essential salt, horses and luxury goods reached West Africa by North African merchants. In return the North Africans received gold, ostrich feathers, ivory, gum, slaves and other commodities which they then passed on to Europeans.
Around about AD 300, some Berbers and Jews came from the desert and settled amongst the Soninke people in ancient Ghana. The greater part of the Sahara was fertile. Through intermarriages with the ancient Ghana people, they inherited many Negroid characteristics.
These mixed race people remained a distinctive minority ruling class. Their hair was plentiful and curly, their smile was kind and warm but too serious a nature.
Time passed and in AD 700, a warrior by the name Kaya Maghan emerged and rose against the minority rule of the mixed-race, defeated them and drove most of the mixed-race from the empire.
In the early ninth Century, Sanja Berbers had occupied the southern desert area from the coast to the north-eastern frontiers of ancient Ghana. They controlled all routes crossing the desert from western Sudan and attempted repeated raids on Ghana`s northern provinces but they failed.
The Berbers adopted a new psychological approach. The leader was Abdullah Ibn Yacin. He imposed a strict Islamic lifestyle, devotion to God and lust for gold. With his motto in mind, he conquered Morocco in 1055 and secured control of western routes across Sahara. Yacin died in 1057 and was succeeded by Abu Bakr. He imposed comprehensive Islam on the people of ancient Ghana, the Soninke. War broke out in the kingdom and in 1076 the Ghana Empire fell into the hands of the Berber. The Berbers gave the people of ancient Ghana the choice of Islam or death.
Many fled southwards and westwards towards what today is, modern Ghana, others accepted Muslim religion. Increasing pressure of attacks by powerful Mandingos and Muslims caused military decline and the southern states of Diara and Susu, belonging to Ancient Ghana were ruined. People began to flee. Those who fled southwards and westwards managed to reach the middle Volta. It is situated in modern Ghana. They became co-founders of the Akan people.
They settled at first on a hill at Banda but they later moved to an area at Pra-Ofin Rivers south of Kumasi. From this location they migrated in groups further southwards. Those who got as far south to the coast became known as the Fante, those who migrated northwards became known as the Asante, those who took to south-east established a state called Akwamu. Their migrations were necessary because their population increased at the Pra-Ofin basin region although; it was a basin of economic attraction. There was gold and cola.
Shaping of Ghana
Today’s Ghana has existed in its present location for more than 1000 years according to archaeological findings. It includes many ethnic groups the Akan and the Gur peoples of the north. They originated from the kingdom of Wangara or Wagadugu, todays Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso.
Wangara is traced to the Soninke, the natives of Ancient Ghana. Business people and traders from Ancient Ghana and modern Ghana met at the centres of Salaga, Bron, and Bonduku- part of Cote d`Ivoire and Kumasi, Gyaman, Dagbon and Ghanjawiyyn. These meeting places were linked with Dyula, Hausa, and Fulani and Songhai dealers. They interchanged viewpoints, philosophies, cultures and traditional.
The Voltaic Gur speaking people, the Mossi-Dagomba people of modern Ghana are found in Burkina Faso as well as Mali people. The Nzema clan of modern Ghana are found in Cote d`lvoire, the Ewes are found in Ghana and Togoland and the Gas are traced as part of Yoruba Ile Ife culture, Ileft about 500BC. Other groups are the Hausa, Mande, Fulani and Zabarma speaking groups found in Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Mali and Niger.
Historical findings were based on ethnic and cultural diversities of Africa and less African migrations. Today, modern Ghana and many West African countries are linked to the Ancient Empire of Ghana.
In 1629, there were thirty-four separate states in what is today modern Ghana of whom twenty-eight were Akan. Akan kingdoms include the Akwamu on the eastern coast, inland, the Ashanti Empire and various Fante, the GA and Ewe, along the coast and inland. The Mande-Gur speaking groups in the north of the country established several Islamized states, in particular those of Dagbon and Gonja, and were the middle-men in trade between the large sahelian Muslim states Mali, Songhai and the early Akan kingdoms. They traded especially in the gold, slave and salt trade.
In the same period some of the Mande in northern Nigeria, the Hausa states and those of the Lake Chad area, moved south-westwards to the northern half of modern Ghana and Burkina Faso and founded the states of Dagomba and Mamprusi and Gonja. Mamprusi, Dagomba, and Gonja, Mossi-Yatenga and Wagadugu states were among the earliest Kingdoms to emerge in modern Ghana. Most Ghanaians retained their traditional beliefs; the Muslims and other peoples became part of the culture.
Trade between the Akan to the south and the Mossi to the north was not easy. The Akan were influenced to their dislike by the Muslims.
Powerful Kingdoms of Modern Ghana
The tribe of Bonoman originated from East Central Africa who settled at the Sahel. They were Kwa language speaking people. East Africa is referred to the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and, in a wider sense, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, and Somalia (including the self-declared republic of Somaliland. The theory of recent African origin of modern humans implies that all humans originate from East Africa. Some of the earliest fossilized hominid remains found in East Africa including those found in Awash Valley of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Bono Manso, now Brong-Ahafo was the capital of Bonoman; it was a term created by the Abron tribe in the 12th century, marking the beginning of the Akan might and wealth. It was the capital and a major trading centre which brought wealth to the Akan tribe. Bono Manso was an Akan empire in the Middle Ages located south of the Black Volta River between Savannah and forest. Begho was an ancient trading town located just south of the Black Volta and was one of the largest towns in the southern part of West Africa. Excavations have shown evidence of pottery of all kinds, smoking pipes, and iron smelting between 1350 and 1740 AD. With a population of over 10 000, Begho was one of the largest towns in the southern part of West Africa at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in 1471. Today, it is the Brong-Ahafo region of modern Ghana and Eastern Ivory Coast. It is generally recognized as the origin of the sub-groups of the Akan people who migrated to various states in search of gold. Caravans from Djenné frequented the market during the Trans- Saharan trade where kola nuts, salt, leather and gold were the major goods.
Another important trading centre in Bonoman was Bonduku which gave rise to Gyaman state kingdom. It existed from 1450 to 1895 and was located between modern Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. In the sixteenth to seventeenth century, it traded in glass beads and mica coated pottery stem.
The Akan sub-groups profited from Bonoman in that they developed the umbrella used for kings, the swords of nation, stools, gold-smiting, black-something, the kente cloth weaving and gold-weighing. Fall of Abron states was due to conflicts amongst its leadership, problems with the taxation system and denial of direct access to the coast where there was money fetching trade because of the rise of the vigorous Asante Empire. Bonoman fell and was incorporated in the Asante Empire. Thus: The northern forest state of modern Ghana consisted of Bono-Tekyiman (Brong), Akan people who settled in the region. It was located about 100 miles from Kumasi. The group settled at the proximal end of the trade route, a place called Djenné- Jéno. They discovered heaps of gold at the Banda hills and this accelerated the population at Jenne-Begho (Djenné) which is linked with Timbuktu.
During the 15th century trans-Saharan trade in salt and gold moved in and out of Timbuktu and passed through Djenné. The towns became Centre’s of Muslim s activities because of trade. It grew to the task and became famous for its distinctive mud-brick architecture. To the south of the town is Djenné-Jéno, the oldest known towns.
Bono-Tekyiman had a ruler by the name Nana Obunumankoma; he was the first ruler amongst those who migrated from ancient Ghana. He ruled for sixty-eight years. He brought goldsmiths and weavers from the north and introduced gold dust as currency and established the new Asante gold weights. After his death and under his successor, his state was defeated by the Asante in 1720-25.
The southern states consisted of Twifo, Adansi, Assin and Denkyira. These groups remained at the Pra-Ofin basin. Twifo emerged around the early 15th century, the Adansi before 1550 however. In 1600 Adansi, Assin and Denkyira had gained control over trade along the coast of modern Ghana.
Was founded in 1500 were a powerful Akan people that lived in the southern region of Ghana by a clan called Agona family (1620). They fought against other Akan groups and defeated the Adansi, Twifo, and Assin in 1690s. They originated from Bono state. The ruler was Denkyirahene and its capital was Jukwaa. After having conquered the Akan groups they held the trade routes open to the coastal areas. From 1660s to 1690s Denkyira was at its height. It had power among all the Twi-speaking people, the Akan at the Ofin–Pra river basin. It supplied gold and slaves to the Dutch at Elmina and the English at Cape Coast. They received guns and munitions.
Denkyira king had several meetings with the Dutch, English and Brandenburg envoys at Abankeseso, the capital from 1650 to 1694. Boamponsem died four years later and his death was celebrated by the English because he was a fighter and an able man.
To keep the trade route open, Denkyira fought wars with Asen and Twifo in the 1690s. It was a heavy task for Denkyira.
Ntim Gyakari 1694–1701, his successor was an unreliable young man. He provoked resistance from a coalition led by Osei Tutu of Kumasi. Denkyira did not want peace and this led to growing rejection of its authority among its own people. At the end of the 1690s it had many enemies and few friends. The Dutch left them in August 1699 and reported that trade had declined. In May 1701 there was a hefty warfare between Denkyira and Kwaman. All the peoples along the trade route from the coast to Abankeseso banned Ntim Gravari`s supply of weaponries. They had become unbearable to their neighbours. In November 1701 it was reported that the Kwaman had won victory over the Denkyira.
The pride of Denkyira faded and its people were fleeing. He was warmonger. His forces advanced from Abankeseso northeast through Gyakobu, and drove Asante’s forces out of Adunku, Aboatem and Aputuogya. At Feyiase Osei Tutu deployed his main force. It was the beginnings of his control over the Ofin–Pra region. It became the dominant power in the nation.
Ntim Gyakari was killed. Osei Tutu marched to Abankeseso, a large city with seventy-seven streets. Washing and digging for gold flourished when Denkyira ruled over the Ofin–Oda river valleys until the ancient kingdom was destroyed by Osei Tutu. Denkyira prospered from the gold ‘from the Ofin River’ and vanquished Adanse. Then, about the middle of the 17th century Abankeseso reached the pinnacle of its power when Denkyirahene Boamponsem became so rich that he appointed the first treasury head amongst the Akan peoples’ to keep account of his personal wealth. This was stored in a great big house called Sikadan- the gold house. However, all this ended when Asante dismissed Abankeseso and carried off the Denkyira king’s gold in great amounts.
The old capital never regained its former glory, and the area north and east of the Ofin was finally abandoned by the Denkyira in the early nineteenth century.
The Ashanti’s took all his wealth in gold. Thus, Denkyira was a powerful region that was defeated by the Asante.
The Fanti, an Akan people, occupied the coastal belt of Ghana. The Fanei speak a Twi language which is also part of the Kwa language. The Fanti arrived in their present location from the north, Pra Ofin in the in 17th century. They settled at Mankessim, on the coast as well as other Fanti states such as Abora, Anyan, Ekunfi, Eguafo, Dena (Elmina), the Efutu, Asebu, the Etsii, Komenda and Shama, Nkusukum in the beginning of the fifteenth century. Gomoa and Adjumako joined them later. When Fanti people were overpopulated at Mankessim, northeast of Cape Coast, they settled at vacant areas nearby. The Fanti domains formed a confederacy headed by a king, the Brafo and a high priest.
In the middle of the 17th century there were conflicts as to who had to rule who because they found them equal. Some groups at Mankessim moved away and settled somewhere else and other groups moved away to be nearer the Europeans where trade was flourishing and others wanted to control the trade routes from the coast to inland.
Civil Competition to control the trade routes to the inland areas among the Fanti states themselves also made them move to the coast. At the same time they were afraid of the Asante because they had just defeated Denkyira who controlled the coast so, they would be nest.
The rising power of Ashanti generated the fear that Ashanti would move southwards to occupy Fantiland and the coast in general. With the defeat of Denkyira by Ashanti, traders from Ashanti were seen coming down the coast to trade with the Europeans.
The Fanti dominated the coastal trade in firearms and the trade routes to the interior. So, the Fanti considered it necessary to unite as one people towards an eventual attack from the Asante. Abora became their headquarters instead of Mankessim. The Fanti had a Council of paramount chiefs or “Amanhene” as the supreme governing body of Fantiland. Periodically, chiefs of the various areas met to deliberate and find solutions to matters affecting the people.
There were conflicts about who should rule who. All groups claimed to be equal. The misunderstandings and wars compelled groups of the Fanti at Mankessim to move away from the troubles to establish peaceful settlements elsewhere. Groups also moved because of the desire to benefit from trade with European merchants. The Fante tribe at the coastal region of Ghana developed a sophisticated and expressive community with a social and political organization based on military principles, the Asafo Warrior Clans. However, there was lack of political unity in the Fante culture because when they were not fighting their common enemy they fought amongst themselves leaving many wounded and dead.
They were not always united amongst themselves thus; others migrated to find new territories and homes outside Mankessim. This resulted in new Fante city states. They occupied an area of about 30 miles square along the coast of Ghana and each Fante state behaved like rivals with one another.
The Europeans who had arrived at the coast of Ghana exploited the Fanti to ensure that their control at the coast went unopposed. The Fanti organized Asafo warriors into efficient military units to combat the commanding Ashanti, Fanti antagonists’ and dealer of gold and slaves to the European traders on the coast. The Asafo was to defend the state and although they were the underlings to their chiefs and paramount chief; they were involved in the assortment of the chief, responsible for his crowning and consultants to the chief.
The Akan group began to find its own state in the north-east at the costal hinterland. The clan left the Twifo in the forest state in the second half of the 16th century, and was led by a royal Otomfo Asare, the founder of Asamamkese, meaning “Asare`s Big State “ The town was established in the basin of the Birim and Densu Rivers. The site is enormously rich in gold. Akwamu became a mighty empire militarily and commercially. During the years 1629 and 1650, they conquered the Guan territories.
This Akan tribe from Aduana family migrated from Adanse to settle down at the Twifo-Heman forest. This group included Asumennya, Dormaa and Kumawu. Due to misunderstandings the brass-smith Asare deserted the family and formed his own town. He was a powerful man. He, in 1629-1710 expanded his state, Akwamu to include Akuapem, Kyerepon, Larteh, Akyem, Denkyira, Ga-Adangbe, the Ladoku states of Agona, Winneba, Afram plains, Southern Togoland and Whydah, the present Benin. After he had annexed the Guans he took over Kyerepon. Then, one day, one Ofori Kuma and his supporters broke away because of misunderstandings to form their own towns. This resulted in a violent war and the Akwamu were driven away from the mountains.
The Asona family and their followers were allotted land from the original settlers the Guans, Kyerepon, to form the Akuapem state. Some members of the Akuapem were originally from the Aduana family in Akwamu, those with the names Addo and Akoto.
Ansa Sasraku contributed in shaping the Asante king Osei Tutu because he once protracted this man from the mighty arms of the Denkyira. The Akwamu king even provided Osei Tutu when he was called to take over the Kwaman stool, he was provided with 300 Asafomen from his town, Akwamu to guide him to Kwaman.
On arrival of Osei Tutu, he gave all the men of Kwaman, the Asafomen and they became residents of Asafo. This deed won the Kumasi Asafo hene the title Akwamuhene of Kumasi. Thus, the structure of the Asante army that was begun by Nana Osei Kofi Tutu l helped the Asante to develop into a powerful territorial army. Thus, many of Asante’s people were originally from Asafo, Adum, Bantama and Barekese in Akwamu.
The first important Akwamuhene (Akwamu chief) was Ansa Sasraku in 1660. During 1677 and 1681 he defeated the Ga and extended his territory along the coast from Winneba to the Volta region and gained trading stations around Accra (Nkran) and Akwapim Hills. He was in possession of the Danish Castle at Christainsborg at OSU. He died in 1689 and was succeeded by two other rulers, Addo and Basus who ruled together from 1689 to 1702. He died in 1702. From 1702 to 1710 Akwamu annexed lands north of the Volta region, the states of Kwahu and Krepi. They also annexed the Fante state of Agona to the south- east where Akwamu met up with Akim .After the death of Nana Ansa Sasraku, he was succeeded by two kings, Nana Addo Panin and Nana Basua succeeded Ansa Sasraku after his death.
Under the leadership of Akwonno in 1725, Akwamu became a mighty empire and stretched for over 200 miles along the coast of modern Ghana and as long way inland across the Afram Plains and as far as southern Togoland.
Akwamu was able to succeed because of their political, economic and ability of leadership. They had conquered the Guan, Ga and Ladoku. They were well equipped militarily. Their leaders were warlike, cunning and very tyrannical therefore, the oppressed sought to overthrow them by violent and aggressive means. In these revolts, Akwamu spent much of its finance in military strength to overcome rebellions. In 1730 the allied armies of Akim, Kwahu and Agona could no longer withstand Akwamu`s tyranny. They invaded and defeated Akwamu`s great empire.
There was a cordial relationship between the Akwamu and the Asante thus, during Asante empires expansion in the 19th century the Akwamu was not annexed by Asante but rather the Akwamu Stool became the wife of the Asante Stool during the reign of Nana Odeneho Kwafo Akoto l. During the Golden Anniversary of Nana Kwafo Akoto II, Opoku Ware II crossed the Pra River to spend two days at Akwamufie- Akwamu house.
During Akwamu’s reign they were so prevailing and a great deal of Ghana and the Volta River region were encompassed by them. As time passed Akwamu lost their lands to Akuapem, Akyem, Kwahu, Fante and Krobo.
The Asante Empire
For about 150 years Asante Empire was the most important factor in the political and commercial history of modern Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast. Asante lasted longer than Akwamu and Denkyira. Around 1824, Asante spanned more than 250 miles along the Gulf of Guinea. It was a mighty area with more than 5 million people. Its capital is Kumasi.
The rise of the early Akan people can be traced to the 13th century and was related to the trade routes from the region to North Africa. Its Kingdom emerged in the central forest region of Ghana, when several small states united under the Chief of Kumasi. The Asante, members of the Twi-speaking branch of the Akan people settled in the vicinity of Lake Bosomtwi before the mid-17th Century. The Oyoko clan migrated from ancient Ghana to the Pra -Ofin basin and from there to the north and settled in the forest area of Kwaman. A section of the Oyoko people was led by Obiri Yeboa who was a well-established frontrunner. They clan was united in the forest southwards Kumasi. The capital city was rich in gold and kola nuts.
Around 1824, it had developed into a large and important city with intellectual, artistic and political activities. Four of its principal streets were half a mile long and fifty to hundred yards wide. Its capital was Kumasi. The Akan people had wanted to unite at the Kwaman forest but Denkyira; had suppressed the pre- Asante Amalgamation thus, the Asante waited until they had a strong ruler. Obiri Yeboa finally emerged but unfortunately, he died in 1670 and was succeeded by his nephew Osei Tutu. This nephew had stayed in Akwamu and Denkyira and had learnt much about military organization and Statesmanship. During his stay he formed a good and everlasting friendship with a priest called Okomfo Anokye.
To be able to rule in peace and to bring his states together, Osei Tutu and Anokye found a solution in a Golden Stool thus, their Kingdom was established by King Osei Tutu I with the help of his Fetish Priest Okomfo Anokye who fabricated a flying Golden Stool from the sky. The Golden Stool is for the Asante their spiritual symbol; it glided out from the sky in thick cloud of brown dust, amidst rumblings and landed on the lap of the king and was covered with pure gold, a sign for Osei Tutu I to unite the Ashanti Kingdom.
The priest Okomfo Anokye declared Osei Tutu chief of a new dynasty for a new-fangled joint nation. The phenomenon occurred on a prominent Friday at a gathering of chiefs from Ashanti and was engineered by the smart fetish priest, Okomfo Anokye.
The Golden stool (Sika Dwa Kofi) is the bonding muscle and strong spirit of the Ashanti state. This was their lasting miracle to weld the states together. There were too many wars amongst the states. The stool was never to be lost because it embodied the soul and the unity of the Asante people.
The Asante began to expand their territory and might that led to the formation most powerful states of the central forest zone. Chief Oti Akenten engaged in series of successful military operations against neighboring Akan states and brought a larger surrounding territory into alliance with Asante. At the end of the 17th Century, Osei Tutu became Asantehene- king of Asante. Under Osei Tutu’s rule, the confederacy of Asante’s states was transformed into an empire with its capital at Kumasi. The political and military alliance was ensued. It resulted in decisively reputable consolidated authority. Osei Tutu was influenced by the high priest, Anokye, who caused a stool of gold to descend from the sky to seal the union of Asante’s states. The Asante had Stools functioning as traditional symbols of chieftainship, but the Golden Stool of Asante epitomized the united spirit of all the allied states and established a twofold loyalty that superimposed the league over the individual component states. The Golden Stool remains a treasured national symbol of the traditional past in Asante’s ritual.
Osei Tutu permitted newly conquered territories that joined the confederation to retain their own customs and Chiefs, who were given seats on the Asante state council. Osei Tutu’s gesture made the process relatively easy and non-disruptive because most of the earlier conquests had dominated other Akan peoples. Within the Asante portions of the confederacy, each minor state continued to exercise internal self-rule, and its Chief carefully guarded the state’s entitlements against violation by the central authority.
By the mid-18th Century, Asante was highly organized and Asantehene, Osei Tutu I, won a war against the northern states. By the 1820s, successive rulers had extended Asante boundaries and contacts with the coastal Fante, Ga-Adangbe and Ewe people.
Osei Tutu assisted by his friend Anokye completed the formation of the Asante Union of the Asante Empire. The formation of the Asante Union lay down by his uncle Obiri Yeboa was completed. He also devised a way whereby all the subordinate chiefs would swear on the Great Oath in carrying out their political activities to him, the Asante King. He introduced Kumasi as the capital, formed a new military organization and expanded the empires territories.
The king propounded a constitution and modelled on existing Akan practices. The head of the Asante Union was the Asante king of all the Asante who were at the same time the Supreme chief of Kumasi state. The king ruled with the advice of the Confederacy Council which consisted of the Paramount chiefs (Amanhene) of states in the Union. All heads of the states (Omanhene), had to seek the Asantehene (king`s) recognition by swearing the oath of allegiance to him, denounce the right of declaring war at will upon a member of the union and should accept the right of Asantehene to impose national levies.
Each Omanhene had to attend the annual Odwira or cleansing ceremony which as a rite for the dead cleanses the nation from pollution and purifies all ancestral shrines as well as those dedicated to national gods. The Omanhene was to enjoy freedom of action with his own state and had to grant his subjects the right of appeal to the High Court set up in Kumasi.
Thus, Osei Tutu methodically shaped the Asante Empire and made Kumasi the home of the Oyoko lineage, the political, commercial and cultural Centre of Asante. Osei Tutu introduced a form of military organization, characteristically Akan, consisting of the van, the rear, the right and left wings. Military service was made compulsory for every male of able bodied. The neighboring states of Tafo and Amakom and Ofinso were reluctant to join the Union but Osei Tutu asked them to join.
The king furthered intermarriages. However, the defeated Denkyira and Akim were not fully incorporated in the Asante Union.
From time to time some of the new states like Akim tried to revolt against the king, and during the Akim war in 1717, Osei Tutu was killed.
After the death of Osei Tutu, Opoku Ware, the grand-nephew of Osei Tutu emerged as the new Asante King around 1724. The reign of this king was one of wars of conquests and rebellions from Denkyira. Sefwi, one of the Akan’s on the western side of Elmina as well as Akim rebelled against Kumasi on the absence of Opoku Ware and killed the king’s mother as well as members of the royal family. After the return of Opoku Ware he gave Sefwi the heaviest defeat of their lives and annexed all their lands.
During 1720 and 1750, Opoku Ware conquered the state of Bono-Tekyiman and in 1730 crushed Akim to the south and overthrew Akwamu and annexed parts of Akim and Kwahu states. He proceeded further south conquering Akwapim and Ga-Adamgbe. In 1744 he invaded Dahomey to as far as Little Popo. During 1744 and 1766 the king extended his powers and defeated Gonja and Dagomba in the Volta basin. He was at the zenith of his fame and might
In 1750 Opoku Ware died. He left the Asante Empire at its height of territorial expansion and greatness but he failed to incorporate newly conquered territories into the Asante Union. There was lack of administration and constitutional reforms. Vassal states were treated as second class citizens. As such they never identified themselves with Asante, Kumasi or the Golden Stool.
Opoku Ware was succeeded by an old man uncle, Kusi Obodum- from 1750-1764, followed by Osei Kwadwo (1764-1777); Osei Kwame (1777-1801); Osei Bonsu (1801-1824); Osei Kwadwo Okoawia was a great reformer. Osei Kwadwo`s reign was called the “Kwadwoan Revolution” because of his radical constitutional reforms. There were many other kings. The Asante Empire was now consisted of municipal and regional Asante; each had its own structure of administration.
Municipal Asante was the Amanto or true Asante’s states nearby Kumasi. The major Amanto were the five states of Kumasi: Nsuta, Juaben, Bekwai and Kokofu and non-Oyoko Amanto state, Mampong. There was cohesion between Kumasi and the Amanto. Amanto chiefs were of equal ranks and self-governing with regard to internal affairs. Asantehene, the king was primus inter pares with the Amanto chiefs. Head of state held his own Odwira ceremony after he had attended the Asantehene Odwira at Kumasi.
Yaa Asantewaah, Asante’s woman soldier
Yaa Asantewaah was born in 1840 and was appointed Queen Mother of Ejisu by her brother Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese, the ruler of Ejisu. She was the Gatekeeper of the Golden Stool- Sika Dwa during the Ashanti Confederacy. The Asante tribal families of Asante kingdom was an independent federation that ruled from 1701 to 1896.
In 1900 Yaa Asantewaah and her revolutionary forces marched towards the British in a war concerning the golden stool.
She saw that, the Asante Confederacy had weakened towards the British and the future of Asante was at stake. Earlier, there had been local battles from 1883 to 1888 in which her brother died.
Yaa Asantewaah took the liberty to appoint her grandson as Ejisu ruler. His reign was short lived because the British exiled him in the Seychelles in 1896 together with the King of Asante Prempeh I and supporters. The British thought they were trouble to the nation.
Following the repatriation, Yaa Asantewa became regent of the Ejisu-Juaben Constituency. The British governor Frederick Hodgson had the opportunity to claim the Golden Stool, the symbol of the Asante Union because, that was the causes of many clashes and unrests.
A secret meeting was held by the residual members of Asante’s regime in togetherness with Yaa Asantewaah at the capital city Kumasi; to plot for the comeback of their king. The members communicated back and forth without any result. At that moment, Yaa Asantewaah stood up and spoke to the participants of the council with these words,
“Now I see that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it was in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opoku Ware, chiefs would not sit down to see their king to be taken away without firing a shot. No European could have dared speak to chiefs of Asante in the way the governor spoke to you this morning. Is it true that the bravery of Asante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”
Without hesitation, the female Queen took on the leadership of the Asante revolution of 1900 and fought the British conquering Kumasi Fort, the British bolt hole. The Golden Stool was not delivered
Several months elapsed before he British sent a battalion, consisting of 1,400 men to retaliate the Asante. In this war, Yaa Asantewaah and 15 of her closest advisers were captured and sent to banishment on the Seychelles Island. Two years later, Asante Territory was made a colony of the British crown.
In 1921, Yaa Asantewaah died and three years later, Prempeh I and the others were allowed to return to Kumasi. On March 6, 1957, the Asante protectorate gained independence as part of Ghana.
Arab traders were the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles. The Europeans took place in 1502 by the Portuguese Admiral
Vasco da Gama passed through the Amir antes and named them after himself, islands of the Admiral.
It was transit point for trade between Africa and Asia. The islands were sporadically used by pirates until the French began to take control in 1756. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Seychelles, Louis XV’s Minister of Finance. The British challenged control over the islands between 1794 and 1810. The French administrator of Seychelles in a war with the Britain failed to resist when armed warships arrived. Instead, he surrounded to Britain which, assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, and Seychelles became a crown colony isolated from Mauritius in 1903.
In Africa, the inter-tribal wars waged to procure slaves were intensely destructive of human lives. The wars and rampant kidnappings fuelled antagonism and mistrust between publics, and the slave trade halted and biased the cultural development of African societies. There were over twenty-five kingdoms that participated in the slave trade. Occasionally these states made war solely to collect slaves but slavery was simply a by-product of partisan clashes ending in bloody wars in Africa.
The slave trade increased uncertainty of life because people had to seek for refuge and they directed their attentions to superstitious beliefs and customs. People sought salvation and protection from the spiritual world and paid tribute to gods to protect them and their kinfolks from calamity. The psychological impact of the dehumanising trade was to cripple African society. There was ambivalence, fear, dissociations, affective reactions, paranoia way of thinking, constant anxiety caused by perpetual fear of being captured and herded away to a place of no return. Some Africans believed that whites took slaves to eat them.
The Diverse Europeans
During the slave trade Europeans developed reliance complex; because, such activities required debauched complex attitude to achieve. Most of whites were illiterates, low ranked uncivil, crude and drank excessive amount of alcohol and had the audacity to be disrespectful of black people. The white man developed some kind of a complex to justify their colonisation of Africa. Had the Africans fought to resist the Europeans, Africa would not have turned out the way it became. Poor whites and criminals were shipped to the New World to work on plantations and mines. They were kidnapped in Europe and sold in the West Indies in much the same way as the Africans. Indentured servants and deportees from Europe were also sent to the West Indies and treated likewise. But as the transatlantic slave trade boomed, the number of whites in forced labour decreased and more Africans were transported because the African slave labour became cheaper as quoted by William DuBois the replacement of “a caste of condition by a caste of race.”
Kwame`s world portraying Ghana before the Europeans came
Like a big lion, the land lay hum in the May sun. The outgrowths stimulated after the passing drizzling season and the cheerful frolicking wind of spring, cleared the sky blue, bore minor mists away from the mountains, and played among the cultivating fields’ on the bright pitches, wonderment.
Kwame looked at the landscape of Ghana, another world, bordered by Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire and it means “Warrior king`” There was an Ancient Ghana Empire over 1000 years ago without any connection to modern days Ghana. Ghana today consists of various ethnic tribes who occupied different villages.
The Akan groups, located on the trade route were encouraged by the trade growth because of the goldfields located in the dense forest. Today, the Akan people are an ethnic linguistic group of West Africa. They live in the neighboring countries of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, and possibly Benin. The majority of Akan populations live in Ghana and in Côte d’Ivoire. The Akan people migrated to the coastal regions of West Africa at around 1400 and built powerful kingdoms.
Their languages are the following tribes: Ashanti, the Akwamu, the Akyem the Akuapem, the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Akropong-Akuapem, the Baoule, the Chokosi, the Coromantins, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi,the Agon, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M’Bato, the Abidji, the Bri-an, the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie, the Ehotile, the Nzema and other peoples of both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, they speak about 33 dialects.
Akan languages are collection of dialects and languages within the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family. It consists of the following dialects: Asante, Akuapem, commonly called Twi together with Akyem, Agona, Kwahu, Wassa and Fante. Anomabo, Abura and Gomua are spoken in east coastal Ghana and Brong, spoken in west central and along the border of Ivory Coast.
Akan people introduced Gold Weights as African material culture. Each weight signified specific meanings and was used as monetary system, mathematics, numbers and as a graphic symbol that represented an impression or concept. Before the advent of Europeans weights and monetary systems were used. Furthermore, the weights were data that represented proverbs, riddles, and clues to historic events, they represented knowledge.
Kwa is derived from the word “people”. Branches of the new Kwa are: Potou-Tano, Guang and Akan, Ga-Adangbe, Na-Tano and Ka-Togo.
The Kwa family is a primary branch of the Atlantic-Congo languages within Niger-Congo. Kwa languages are divided into geographical groupings, Nyo and Left bank. The left bank is the languages spoken on the eastern side of the Volta River, Togo and Ewe. At present there is no satisfactory classification of the Kwa language and little is known of the origin.
After an Akan baby is born he or she is kept inside for eight days. On the eighth day the baby is named “den” to. The first name received is called the kra den or “soul name”, and is determined by the day of the week the child was born because, Nyame (oun’-yah-may’) and Nyamewaa (oun’-yah-may’-wah), the Prodigious God and the Prodigious Goddess respectively, constitute together the Supreme Being, positioned seven of their children over the seven days of the week.
Children of the Supreme Being are the Goddesses and Gods, the spirit-forces operating throughout Nature and all of Creation called Abosom (divinities-deities in Akan culture; singular: Obosom.
The numerous Abosom carry diverse spiritual qualities of their parents, the Mother-Father Supreme Being (Nyamewaa-Nyame). This validity impacts the new-born because the names of the days of the week in Akan culture specify which Obosom and Spiritual Force, governs that particular day and therefore which spiritual qualities of the Great Father, Nyame (God), and the Great Mother, Nyamewaa (Goddess) are reassigned to and carried by the kra (okra) or “soul” of the child born upon that day.
Day of the Week are Akwsida, Sunday; Dwoda, Monday; Benada, Tuesday; Wukuda, Wednessday; Yawda, Thursday; Fida , Friday; Memeneda, Saturday;
Abosom, Celestial body governed by Deity are; Awusi or ASI, Sun; Adwoa, Moon; Bena, Mars; Aku or Wuku, Mercury; Yaw or Awuo, Jupiter; Fida, Venus; Amen or Men, Saturn respectively.
Praise Name, Spirit- Character; Bodua, Born Leader, Guide, Protector; Okofo Crab; Calm, peaceful; Okofo, Warrior, Fierce, Ogyam, compassionate; Ntoni, Advocate, Controlling; Preko, Boar, Confrontational, aggressive; Okyin, Adventurous, Creative, innovative; Otenankaduro , Kwodwo, Kojo; Kwabena, Kobena; Kweku, Kwaku, Aku; Yaw, Yao, Yawu, Kwaw, Kwao ; Kofi, Kwafi; Kwame, Kwamena respectively.
Female Kraden are; Akosua, Akousia, Esi; Adwoa, Adjoa; Abenaa; Ekua, Akua, Aquia, Akwia; Yaa, Aba; Afua, Efua, Afia; Amma, Ama, Amba, Ame;
Nobody was able to write before the advent of Europeans.
Every female and male in Akan civilization receives their kraden according to the day of the week they are born. ‘Da’ means ‘day’, hence Benada is a name describing the specific day as being the God ‘Bena’s day’; Yawda is ‘Yaw’s day’, and so on. Thus, Asante’s cultural ideas are expressed in proverbs and stories, designs in carvings and on clothes.
Names are selected to the Akan to describe the spiritual identity as well as shape the person’s character and behavior. The first name of the child is determined by the day of the week the child is born. The last name is determined by the father. Who chooses a name of an ancestor or relative whose character and behavior he, the father hopes to see in his child. The name Kwadwo is a first name and soul name because it reflects the child’s soul. Boys born on Saturdays are called Kwame and girls born on Saturdays are called Ama. Different Akan dialects write and pronounce these given names differently amongst themselves but it is probably understood by other Akan groups.
Kwame is from Ashanti tribe. Ghana has six main ethnic groups: the Akan (Ashanti and Fante), the Ewe, the Ga-Adangbe, the Mole-Dagbani, the Guan, and the Gurma.
Ashanti tribes are the largest tribe in Ghana with matrilineal societies and had strong and wealthy rulers. They are known for their craft work, hand-carved stools and fertility dolls and their colourful kente cloth woven in bright, narrow strips with complex patterns. It is woven from cotton and knitted outdoors by men. In connection with festivals everyone participates in the major ceremonies, the most frequent of which are funeral celebrations which typically last several days. Everyone in the village is expected to attend and people are expected to contribute as a part of the domestic budget.
Females in the country
In the Akan values women symbolize the beauty, purity and dignity of a society. Everlasting impressions about life and the personality of children are built during their formative years, which they spend with their mothers. Therefore, Akan’s accept as true that, properly trained women with good morals bring up good children. Thus, initiation of women into adulthood is given more importance in the Akan society than that of men.
Under the supervision of the queen mother of the town or village in collaboration with some female opinion leaders, young women who have had their first menstruation are isolated from the community for a period between two and three weeks during which they are educated about the enigmas of womanhood. During this period of seclusion the girls are given lessons in sex education and birth control. They are also taught how to relate to men properly so that they can maintain a good marriage and their self-respect in society.
After the period of seclusion, a durbar is held which is attended by the chief and everybody in the community. The newly initiated women are dressed using barely enough of the necessary materials, with very beautiful African beads to show off their figures. Young men of marriageable age cast their eyes on the young women to select their future wives.
Amid the drumming and dancing rituals are carried out to bless the participants and ensure their safety, blessing and fruitfulness during their period of motherhood.
According to traditional law no woman is allowed to get married without haven gone through the puberty rites and every young woman must remain a virgin prior to this. These rules ensure that young women grow up orderly to control their sexuality and to prevent them from hasty motherhood and unwanted babies. Any woman with child or disrupt her virginity before the rites are performed is occasionally ostracized together with the man responsible for it, and fines are forced on the guilty party after which purification rites are performed to rid of the negative consequences of their actions.
Menstruation and impurity
Puberty rites are held for females. Fathers instruct their sons. The privacy of boys is respected in the Ashanti kingdom. As menstruation approaches, a girl goes to her mother’s house. When the girl’s menstruation is revealed, the mother publicizes the good news in the village beating an iron hoe with a stone. Old women come out and sing menstrual songs. The mother spills a libation of palm wine on the earth and recites some words.
Menstruating women suffered numerous restrictions. The Ashanti viewed them as ritually unclean. They did not cook for men, nor did they eat any food cooked for a man. If a menstruating woman entered the ancestral stool house, she was arrested, and the punishment was typically death. If this punishment is not exacted, the Ashanti believe, the ghost of the ancestors would strangle the chief. Menstruating women lived in special houses during their periods because they were forbidden to cross the threshold men’s houses. They swore no oaths and no oaths were sworn for or against them. They did not participate in any of the ceremonial observances and did not visit any sacred places.
Infantile is considered a joyful time and children cannot be responsible for their actions. The child is not responsible for their actions until after puberty. A child is harmless and there is no apprehension for the control of its soul, the original purpose of all funeral rites, so the ritual funerals given to the deceased Ashanti are not excessive.
The Ashanti adored twins when they were born within the royal family because they were seen as a sign of looming fortune. Generally, boy twins became fly switchers at court and twin girl’s possible wives of the King. If the twins are a boy and girl, no particular career awaits them. Women who bear triplets are greatly honored because three is regarded as a lucky number. Special rituals ensue for the third, sixth, and ninth child. The fifth child -unlucky five, can expect misfortune. Families with many children are well respected and barren women are despised.
Matrilineal Inheritance and Marriage
Kwame is an Akan and the family line is matrilineal because inheritance passes through the mother to her children. A man is strongly related to his mother`s brother and weakly related to his father`s brother. This was due to polygamous society in which the mother had stronger bond to the child than the father would have with to the child. Thus, in inheritance a man’s nephew, (sister`s son) has priority over his own son. Kwame’s family elders arranged the marriages and individuals were not allowed to marry within their bloodlines and their wider clan groups. Some individuals were allowed to marry children of a brother and sister. The groom’s family was expected to pay a bride-price. The custom of being married to more than one wife at the same time was allowed. They were mostly those who had wealth and power and who could support more than a wife. Chiefs manifested their prestige by marrying lots of women. Having children was a fundamental principle of marriage thus; spouses usually divorced a partner who was barren. In that case split-up was straightforwardly obtained. Upon a husband’s death, his wife was expected to marry his brother who also took the responsibility for the children.
Attempts have been made to change this law for after all polygamy is losing grounds and the world is changing.
Kwame and his family lived in the dense forest about 300km from the coast in what is today, modern Ghana. They were of Akan origin. Adequate rainfall and dense vegetation blanketed the region. There was plenty of water everywhere; the region was not arid. A year earlier they had built a hovel which ended up in a cul-de-sac, from here they could observe the immediate environment such and especially intruders. The region was extremely hot. The temperature was about 33 degrees centigrade but there were cooler temperatures in the same year. There were hills, mountains, dales and rocks of unusual forms which made the region picturesque. Between the rocks were winding paths joining sloping large blocks of earth’s crusts that had been relatively stable for millions of years.
There was suitable agriculture because the fauna and sauna was perfect and rainfall was abundant and that changed their lifestyles. They had wooden tools for collecting food for the family, but also to feed their children. They hunted and fished.
Kwame and his family were farmers. The food crops in their area were mainly maize, plantain, cocoyam and cassava, legumes, yam, tobacco and cotton others in the northern part were growing mainly sorghum, maize, millet, cowpeas, groundnuts and yam. Rice was grown in all the regions. They also kept livestock. Poultry was mainly carried on in the south, while cattle production was intensive in the Prairie. However, sheep and goat production was generally common in the country. Sheep’s and goats were slaughtered for occasional functions such as births, funerals and marriages.
Thus, they had rich food culture which consisted of rice, boiled yams stews made of okro, fish, beans, coco yam leaf, garden eggs stew with either fish or chicken, and groundnut soup. Natural spices such as ginger, garlic, onions, and peppers were used as seasonings. Onions, tomatoes, palm nuts were also applied for most stews. The foods varied according to which region the various people lived. However, millet, yams, corn, plantains, cassava, kenkey ,cocoyam, beans, maize, sorghum, millet, coconut, sea foods, poultry, beef, goat meat, bush meat, palm oil were enjoyed by many and still do. Fruits included mangoes, oranges, bananas, pine apples, guavas, melons, pawpaw, sugar cane and many others which they still enjoy. There was no hunger.
They received their water supply from Lake Bosomtwi which was a natural lake south-east of Kumasi. It was surrounded by hills which were covered by green vegetation. It was formed by meteor and had a diameter of ten kilometers with outer limits of 30 kilometers. Together with minor rivers it presented good source of the lifestyle of the people.
Their living condition was as decent and comfortable as anywhere else on the Planet. In their village they exchanged goods such as gold with the northerners who had abundance of salt because there were trade routes linking them to North Africans. Their culture was marked by complex societies, chiefdoms and groups, and there was supernatural authority behind the power of their elders. It was democratic with African cultures and traditions.
Villages were governed by chiefs who were responsible for the welfare of the citizens of the village. They did not govern alone but were assisted by sub-chiefs and elders who represented the different families or clans-; Queen mother, chief of village, sub chiefs, elders, linguist and bearer/Gongon beater. The society was tired to the supernatural force with strong links to spiritual world. Ghanaian life was based on collectiveness intended to care for the weak and elderly, and extended families focused on preserving a spiritual equilibrium with nature and the ancestors.
Kwame`s family lived in the rich area of land. It was small with separate and distinct cultures. They lived in a particular type of environment dwellings as others but had different dialects. However, they were all occupied in the same economic activity and agriculture. The lifestyle of Kwame`s family allowed them to develop skills in weaving. They believed in resurrection and life reincarnation, lineage traced through the mothers-matrilineal, burial of the dead, the value of children and feelings of deep respect and devotion for the ancestors as part of the living human. Nearly 40 per cent of Ghanaians practice animist forms of worship, the belief that things in nature, such as trees, mountains and the sky have souls or consciousness and even among Christians and Muslims people retain respect for the traditional beliefs of their ancestors.
Devotion to ancestors was widespread across the African continent where many people consulted the shrines of spiritual mediums as a way of seeking advice from those that have died. Kwame`s ancestors were part of him. They were there to remind him of where he came from and where he should go in the future.
At home it was dark but palm kennel oil light was used to illuminate the hovel. Each villager had such a light thus, the area was semi-illuminated. Kids in the village did not go to school. We gathered together in the evening to hear wonderful stories of traditions passed from one generation to another and loved listening to stories about Kwaku Anansi, the spider thus, acquiring wisdom.
Anansi Stories were part of an ancient mythology that was deep-rooted in West African folktale and concerned the interaction between divine and semi-divine beings, royalty, humans, animals, plants and non-living objects. The stories provided a moral foundation for the public and more significantly, children. Anansi the Spiderman existed from the time when deities, humans and animals were able to converse with each other. Anansi myths were the timeless expression of the imagination, a continuous creative process of making sense of the universe. It could be understood as magic mirrors in which the reflection, not just of our hopes and fears, but also those of people from the most basic times can be viewed. Kwame spent most of his long evenings listening to this
Metalworking, domestication, growths
Africa was not sleeping and Ghana certainly not. There were technologically revolutionary prospects. The harvests in the Sahel region were sorghum and pearl millet. In West Africa the Kola nut, extracts from which became an ingredient in Coca Cola was first domesticated as well as African rice, African yams and the oil palm. African rice has been cultivated for 3500 years. Between 1500 and 800 BC, rice spread from its original Centre, the Niger River delta, and extended to Senegal. It was brought to the African continent by Arabs coming from the east coast between the 6th and 11th centuries CE. The first reference to rice in West Africa is in the writings of Leo Africanus, who travelled through the region in the 1560s and noted the practice of sowing the rice on waters’ in the area of modern-day in north-western Nigeria.
Bananas and plantains were first domesticated in Papua New Guinea and were re-domesticated in Africa along with Asian yams and taro .
Wild cattle were captured and apprehended in circular thorn hedges for domestication, pottery began. Fishing by means of bone tipped harpoons became main doings in streams and lakes, formed from increased rainfall.
Rainfall was abandoned and it forested the area from Senegal to Cameroon. In Niger-Congo region oil palm and raffia palm were farmed as well as black-eyed peas and voandzeia -African groundnuts, followed by okra and kola nuts. The plants grew too large in the forest; thus, polished stone axes for clearing forest were invented in the Niger-Congo region by 9000 BCE.
Metalworking in West Africa began as early as 2500 BCE in Niger, and iron smelting was developed in the area between Lake Chad and the African Great Lakes between 1000 and 600 BCE, long before it reached Egypt.
In present day Mauritania, the inhabitants fished and grew millet. In Ghana Empire, Old Jenne (Djenné) began to be settled around 300 BCE, producing iron. The living structures were made of sun-dried mud. Kumbi Saleh, the capital of Ancient Ghana, flourished from 300 to 1240 AD was located in modern day Mauritania. They built magnificent houses several storeys high. They had underground rooms, staircases and connecting halls. Some had nine rooms. One part of the city alone is estimated to have housed 30,000 people.
Farther south, in central Nigeria, the Nok people produced miniature lifelike representations in terracotta, including human heads, elephants, and other animals.
By 500 BCE, they were smelting iron but vanished by 200 CE but the bronze figurines of Ife and Benin are supposed to be continuation of the tradition.
The origins of the Ashante (Ashanti, Asante) remain unclear. They speak the Twi dialect of the Akan language within the Kwa sub-family of the Niger-Congo family. By the 17th century Akan people were established north of Lake Bosomtwi. They traded in gold and kola nuts and cleared forest to plant yams. They formed alliances for defense and paid tribute to Denkyira. During the 16th century, there was increase in population because of the arrival of new plants such as cassava and maize and an increase in the gold trade between the coast and the north.
Africans cultivated crops 12,000 years ago. Egypt’s Western Desert cultivated crops of barley, capers, chick-peas, dates, legumes, lentils and wheat. Their ancient tools were also recuperated. There were grinders, stones pounders, cutting blades, hide scrapers, engraving burins, and cements and rods.
Kwame`s simple life
Kwame`s life was simple and beautiful. The children, grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts all lived together in an extended family system. Fathers and mothers worked in the farms while grandparents took care of the grandchildren. We had yams, palm oil, kola and plantain. The children played outside but sometimes they accompanied us to the farms. When the children played outside the grandparents sat with some friends watched them and chatted. Most of the time, the whole family went to the farm. At the farm, mothers gathered foodstuffs and prepared the food for the whole family. We were farmers who lived in villages and farmed to feed ourselves and our families. We depended on agriculture for our livelihoods and farmed with cutlasses. We collected water from streams and saved the rain water for domestic use. We had no problem with drinking water. It was kept in a cool put and cleaned frequently. Our cattle’s, sheep’s and goats had enough water to drink. It was not necessary for children to walk miles upon miles to streams to fetch water.
There were few streams but good drinking water presented occasional problems in these areas because few of the water sources were infested with bilharzia, sleeping sickness, river blindness, guinea worm disease which was a major problem for the neighbours. There was malaria everywhere as well as cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and pneumonia.
There was no hunger as we harvested many croups. The houses in the village were constructed out of sun-dried mud and acacia wood and stone. They were strong and resistant to heavy rain and windy weather conditions.
My aunts made soaps and lotions out of Shea butter and palm oil from her little work shop.
Although, there was a polygamous society, the young people in the village were of the opinion that one should take a long time to fall in love and therefore a long time to fall out of love. To the young generation, tradition, religion, and other social institutions played a very important role in their day to day to life.
The jungle was home for snakes, crocodiles and amphibians; our Africa mega species was huge.
Bottom of Form We enjoyed various festivals for purification, thanksgiving, dedication and reunion, which were considered symbolically to maintain the link between the living and the dead and dedicated to honour the spirits of the ancestors, a guiding force in all human activities. Some of the most popular festivals are:
Adae and Akwasidae which was celebrated by the Ashanti,
Odwira was celebrated by the Ashanti and Akwapim,
Homowo was celebrated by the people of Accra, the Gas and many others and they are still being celebrated.
Kwame and his people had gorgeous and wide-ranging history, art, music, literature, rich culture and education long before the advent of the Europeans. They had a wide-ranging variability of administrative arrangements including kingdoms, city-states and other organizations, and each ethnic group had their own vernaculars and culture. The people were especially skilled in many subjects like herbal medication, calculation and starwatching.
Kwame and his people manufactured wooden products such as stools, masks, fertility dolls, and various sculptures, textiles printers, and applied traditional designs and symbols indicative of their religions, political and socio-cultural reasoning. Pottery was created without the use of the potter’s wheel, and they manufactured bead ornaments. They were able to make local goods; they prepared satisfactory items in bronze, ivory, gold and pots for both local use and trade and in fact traded indirectly with Europeans through dealers in North Africa. Precious items such as gold, ivory and spices, particularly pepper were some of their main commodities.
He enjoyed musical instruments made of a small wooden box with a hole on top and on both sides and, across the top hole were metal strips fastened loosely down. The family stuck together and helped other families. There was unity in purpose and in culture that kept the people afloat. Kwame lived with his parents and functioned as a single household with his parents and sibling in peace and tranquillity. Their social aspects of quality and goodness were not ignored in their traditional society. They kept together with other families in fullness and understanding. Kwame worked hard and performed energetically but had also time for festivals, amusements and enjoyed his musical instrument. He danced and worshiped gods and always wore colourful woven fabric from spun cotton fibres.
African clothing before advent of Europeans
In the village we grew cotton, and cloths were locally grown from cotton. My mother and aunt spun and wove sheep wool and fibres of raffia palm. My family dyed the fibres using vegetable and mineral dyes. Fine bands were sewn together into pattern for cloths. My family was very experienced because they produced various patterned, coloured fabrics. However the plain clothes were for daily wear whilst the coloured fabrics were usually used for celebrations such as adoring, wedding ceremony and festivities.
Significant tinting methods are tie and dye and resist dye. In tie and dye, designs were first tied and or stitched into the cloth, by means of cotton or raffia threads. In the development, the colouring agent drafts on the cloth with waterproof material such as adhesive made from cassava. The materials are dipped into solutions made from vegetable dyes, which colour all but the shielded areas. Indigo plants are used for deep blue dyes, while reddish brown dyes are extracted from cola nuts, the camwood tree, and the redwood tree. Greens, yellows, and blacks are prepared from many other sources.
Most projects and themes used to decorate textiles have names. Many designs are associated with particular plants, animals, events, or proverbs, and are often applied in further artistries, such as house painting, carving, and pottery.
Men and women formerly dyed bogolanfini mud-cloth. Indigo dyeing is routinely undertaken by women whilst fabric dying is reserved for men.
Colouring pits are often applied as well as and the making of silk kente by the Asante. Shapeless slacks that are tight around the lower leg are widespread, as well as full-length robes.
My mother commonly ties a long wrapper around the waist, supplemented by a wide sash, a corresponding blouse, and a head cape. Mud is used to make designs on dyed cloth and set in the sun. The sun baked the mud and formed a design in the cloth. Some women cloths are smeared in a fixative and a comb is run from end to end to generate a wavelike design. Cassava paste is applied to paint or outline recurring abstractions of animals and plants unto the cloths. Some cloths are dyed indigo blue after which they are beaten with a wooden stick until they attain a bright glossy sheen. Cotton tunic created by Hausa, and hand-woven cotton wrapping from the Ewes are all African products.
Formative Years of Kwame and the young generation
At the age of 16, Kwame`s parents and the elders in the village had specific ideology. The act of military training emerged in their thinking and was the central core of their beliefs and principles. Concerned with the fact that there were many lootings and invasions and kidnappings undermining their villages, they aimed to gather the young people to defend their villages. Just as life taught masculinity and restraint, teaching self-defense was to instill the same realization of doing something consistent with the general virtue and rightness of human dignity in the region. Kwame learnt about crucial qualities that, protection of the rights and interest of consumers in the village was the right thing to do. Thus, the elders installed self-respect and protection in the village by educating Kwame militarily.
He learnt how to hunt for food and for survival and learnt how to catch birds by putting sticky lime on the branches of a bush and hunted for different animals for food. Rabbits, squirrels, antelopes, deer, wild pigs and other small animals were caught in traps and snares and in nets. He was equipped with hog spears, short, heavy and sharp made of stone and a shaft made of wood.
The general state and manner of survival in Ghana was not branded by adversity and distress. Kwame and his people dealt effectively with their struggles and situations. They made noteworthy commendable improvement and inspiring achievements. Farming and crop growing were in improvement. Although, they did not have advanced technical and scientific aid there were cattle’s, domestic animals, farm animals, hoes, cutlasses and machetes; their ability to function was tolerable. For Kwame and his fellow young generation it was clear that poverty was not merely a subject of riches but farming. Nobody was starving; they did not have access to communal services but they had shared meetings. Nobody was ill-treated; there was no aggression inside and outside their families. They surmounted their problems through the guidance of their families, elders and chiefs and agreed to conditions in response to their demands.
Kwame and his fellow comrades were physically powerful. The land was not decomposed like poor figs. Kwame and his buddies who lived in the region knew what they needed to survive and to develop a lifestyle knowledgeable to them. They were aware that there were overwhelming twists and turns in every human life irrespective of legacy, something that was handed down from ancient Ghana and remained from descendants in the course of their developments. Kwame’s life was full of splendour and represented all that was good until one day.
Unset of Enslavement in Ghana, West Africa
Slavery was not common in Ghana, West Africa neither was it a normal part of the society and economy. Tribes fought to secure their territories. African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. Chattel Slavery became a typical form of slavery in the modern world and slaves became commodities to be bought and sold rather than domestic servants or agricultural workers.
Begin of slave trade in Ghana coincided with the opening of European plantations in the New World during the 1500s.
From the early 1400’s Portugal and other European countries looked for a way to go around Africa without reimbursing high prices for merchandises from the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Prince Henry the Navigator planned to go around Africa. By the end of the 15th century Portugal had made it around the southern angle of the continent, up the East African coast and on to India, but not inside African. As they cruised down Africa, the Portuguese observed certain areas. Final contact with Africa led to the Atlantic Ocean Slave Trade.
Portugal did not set out to start the Trans-Atlantic slave trade but with the discovery of the New World the idea emerged from the thought. Portugal was the first to control the trade but the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by the Britain and France in the 18th century became overriding. Towards the end of the 18th century British ships took over half of the trade. By the 19th century European settlers in America, mainly the United States began to play a key role. Portugal started sugar plantations on offshore islands where they used African labour. When there was no more work because of the invention of machinery, there were no more need of slavery and it was abolished.
Slave trade surpassed all other commercial activities in West Africa. Slavery was an accepted social institution. In most circumstances, people captured in local warfare became slaves. However, slaves in West African societies were often treated as junior members of the society with explicit rights, and many were in the long run engrossed into their masters’ families as full members. Slavery in West Africa was different from that of the New World.
In 1444, 8 August, a tax-collector from Lagos, Portugal, formed a company to trade with Africa. Without wasting precious time, he landed in the same year in Africa, kidnapped and enslaved 235 Africans in Lagos. He took with him the first large group of poor African slaves to Europe. Lagos was an important port in the fifteenth century and Prince Henry the Navigator controlled the Portuguese maritime enterprise. The prince was pleased and in the same year he encouraged the first major European slaving voyage under captain Lancelot de Freitas to capture Africans from Mauritania. They sailed with and six ships.
They were the first Europeans to discover Mauritius in 1507 but, it was the Dutch who settled on the island in 1598 who named the region Mauritius after Prince Maurice of Nassau.
In 1466 the Portuguese explorers sailed to Ghana on the coast of Fante tribes in West Africa. They have heard of abundance of minerals in the region. They hugged a bulky extent of Africa. Their marines were given license to trade freely with Ghanaians. They sought for gold, ivory and paper. The village of Elmina was their main target.
Elmina Village, Settlement and Begin of Slavery
More than 1000 years ago, a clan journeyed from the Ancient Empire of Ghana settled at a nearby village of modern days Elmina along the coast. Large rocks covered a portion of the land but the fauna and flora was suitable for habitation. The northern portion of the region, the interior had enormous quantity of rainwater as well as preserved flora and fauna. The forest to the north of the region had hardwood species of Wawa, Mahogany, Odum, Kyekyen, Edinam, Otie, Danta, Onyina Koben and others and variety of wild animals, antelope and monkeys. Rainfall was adequate and the waves of the Sea, calm and tranquil breezed with cool air along the low- lying land. The beaches were covered with white sand.
The clan was on a hunting expedition from a nearby village of Equafo. Suddenly, they discovered a stream which they named Anomansa-infinite River. There was a small lagoon for fishing.
Due to weather transformation the river dried up. The first group of people settled but not before long, they were joined by others from Equafo who called the region Amankwaa Krom. Elmina is located along the southern Cape Coast region of Ghana, west of Accra. The town itself is primarily a fishing port, with a lively marketable division and lively atmosphere.
The Elmina Castle, The well-known Trading Post
In 1481, King João of Portugal categorically decided to construct a fort on the coast of West Africa, Ghana. He shipped the building materials needed to build the fort and provisions for his 600 workers. The commander was Diego de Azambuja. He sailed on Dec. 11, 1481. Christopher Columbus accompanied them to the modern days Ghana.
The commander, upon arrival, was not known to the region so; he contacted another countryman who had lived in the region to arrange and interpret a, meeting with Kwamena Ansah, the chief of the Edina. The commander charmed the chief, told him of his magnificent intention to building a fort, promised to protect the Edinians, his people from intruders and his permission for permanent residency. The chief, knowing from his past experiences with Portuguese, was hesitant but, through persuasion from Azambuja, he unwillingly agreed.
Without wasting time, the senior officer began to construct his fort the next morning. He destroyed the homes of many villagers who wanted compensation but the Portuguese was not forthcoming. Furthermore, the Portuguese demolished a rock which was the home of their god at a nearby River Benya. The villagers revolted against the Portuguese which resulted in fatal deaths amongst them. In retaliation the Portuguese burnt down the native village. They finally saw eye to eye. However, the Portuguese managed to complete part of the fort within 20 days and the rest soon after.
The Castle of St. George d’Elmina was finally finished built in 1482 by Portuguese soldiers, masons, and carpenters; Elmina was built into the rocky coastline on a narrow peninsula where the Benya River meets the Gulf of Guinea. By sea, Elmina was sheltered by the two-faced rocky coastline. Underground storerooms and dungeons were carved out of the stone.
It remains the oldest and biggest colonial construction in sub-Saharan Africa. Elmina was recognized as a suitable town. Azambuja was honored with governorship, and King João titled him, Lord of Guinea.
Portugal brought in fire-arms which made the power of the tougher clans stress-free. Thus, resentment amongst tribes escalated, and the traditional organization of social order agonized. Trade with other Europeans brought in goods, such as linen, brass manilas, and porcelain, and for the local resources received in exchange were, gold, salt, ivory but European participation disturbed their trade routes amongst coastal people and northerners by cutting out the African brokers. Elmina was over swum with traders from other settlements who expected to trade with the Portuguese, but they established a west-African domination.
On top of a hill, the Portuguese built a church in 1503, from which Ghanaians were converted and baptized including the principal chief. The Portuguese church was later rebuilt in an enclosure within the fortified walls of Elmina Castle, where it was surrounded on three sides by cavernous dungeons that held African people bound for slave ships.
The Portuguese church became a public sale corridor and later, an officer’s mess hall. The Portuguese sustained the colonial headquarters at Elmina for nearly 150 years. The gold trade prospered and in the early 16th century, 24,000 ounces of gold, one tenth of the world`s supply were exported annually from modern Ghana, the “Gold Coast”. This paved the way for other Europeans. Elmina was declared independent state. The Portuguese presence did more harm than good because of their double morals; they were not loyal to the villagers.
Cape Coast Castle, the Second Slave Port
Cape Coast Castle’s strategic location near Elmina Castle and its sheltered beach made it a desirable location for European nations bent on exploiting the wealth of Africa. For almost 100 years there was a heated competition between the Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, and English for control of Cape Coast.
The first trading lodge in the area was built by the Portuguese in 1555 and was named “Cabo Corso”, which means short cape, later renamed Cape Coast. Sweden built the first permanent fort in 1653 and named it Carolusborg after King Charles X of Sweden.
In April 1663 the Swedish Gold Coast was seized by the Danes, and integrated in the Danish Gold Coast and the local Fetu chief also captured and controlled Carolusborg. The English finally captured the fort and it remained in English possession until the late 19th century. It served as the headquarters of the British governor. It was the British who transformed the fort into a castle. In 1766 the British undertook a major rehabilitation of the castle, giving it a new look. After the slave trade was abolished the castle became an important post for legitimate trade.
Castles and Forts built by Europeans in Ghana
The forts and castles date back to the 15th century and were built and occupied at different times by the European traders from Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany, French and Britain to safeguard trading posts. All of them changed hands on numerous occasions in bloody battles or by treaty. The most important ones amongst numerous are mentioned in this book.
Fort Eliza Catha go was built by the Dutch in 1702 at Ankobra.
Fort San Antonio was built by the Portuguese as a trading post in 1502 at Axim. The fort was destroyed by the natives in 1514. A second fort was built by the Portuguese on the site in 1515. It was seized by the Dutch in 1642 and rebuilt the internal structure. In1664, the English seized it but re-captured in 1665 by the Dutch. It was surrendered to the British in 1872 and restored in 1951-56.
Fort Apollonian at Beyim was a Dutch lodge in 1660. It was taken over by the English as the first trading post in 1691.The cabin was built by the British into a fort between 1750 and 1770. It was abandoned in 1820 but re-occupied by a British Governor Maclean`s expeditionary force in 1836 to aid opposition with King Kweku Ackah of Nzema, who was well-known for his stubborn opposition to increasing British intervention. The fort was transferred to the Dutch in 1868 and renamed fort William III for King William III, and occupied by the Dutch until 1872. It was again transferred to the English in 1872 and bombarded by the British in 1873. The remaining of the fort was abandoned and fell into ruins. However, it was reconstructed between 1962 and 1968.
Fredericksburg fort Hollandia was erected at Princess town. It was a Danish lodge in 1658 but the Danes re-built it in 1682. The fort was re-built in 1683, abandoned in 1716 and shortly afterwards it was occupied by local chief, John Corny in 1717, who remained in occupation until 1725. It was captured by the Dutch and renamed fort Hollandia. It remained in the possession of the Dutch until 1872 and it was ceded to the British. .
Fort Sophie Louise was built as a lodge at Takrama by
Brandenburger was built in 1690. It changed hands with the English in 1691. In 1708 it was abandoned but sold to the Dutch in 1717.
Fort Dorothea at Dakwida was built by Brandenburgers in 1685. It was in Dutch hands from 1687-90. It was returned to the Germans. In 1709 it was abandoned but in 1712 it was in the hands of the Dutch but relinquished to the Brandenburgers in the same year and sold to the Dutch in 1718.
Fort Metal Cross, the fort on the bay Dickers Cove. Work commenced in 1683 but there were constant interruptions and continuous disputes between the English and the Brandenburgers. However, the building was completed by the English between 1691 and 1697. It was besieged in 1748-56 and abandoned in 1826. It was re-occupied in 1830 but transferred to the Dutch and renamed Metalen Kruis in 1868. It was ceded to Britain in 1872 and restored between 1954 and 1956.
Fort Batensteyn at Butri was a Swedish post between 1650 and 1652. In 1656 it was in the hands of the Dutch as a fort built in 1656. It was seized by the English in 1665, abandoned between 1818 and1827 but rebuilt by the Dutch in 1828. It remained a Dutch possession until 1872 when it was transferred to the British.
Fort Orange at Sekondi was built by the Dutch in 1640 but was seized by the tribe, Ahanta in 1694. It was abandoned in 1840 but later re-occupied and rebuilt by the Dutch. In 1872, the fort was ceded to the British.
Fort St. Sebastian at Shama was built as a Dutch lodge in 1526 but was built into a Portuguese fort in 1590. In 1600 it was abandoned but restored and altered by the Dutch in 1638. It was enlarged in 1640-42. It was attacked by the English under Captain Robert Holme and was in English hands between 1664 and 1665. The Dutch re-occupied it the same year and rebuilt it in 1666. It was abandoned before 1870 and ceded to Britain in 1872. It was restored between 1954 and 1957.
Fort Greenburg at Komenda was an English trading post in 1663. It was abandoned because of local hostilities but built as a fort by the Dutch in 1688-89. It was attacked by the natives, the Komenda in 1695. In 1782, it was taken and destroyed by the British.
Elmina Fort St. Jorge, Elmina Castle it was the first castle built with the first contact between the Europeans and the peoples of Ghana. It was built by Portuguese in 1482. It was the first European fort in Ghana and was improved by 1500. It was in the hands of the French in 1582. The exterior was rebuilt between 1580 and 1589. The Dutch made many attempts to capture the castle but they failed in 1625. In 1637 it was finally taken by the Dutch and thereafter remained their headquarters in Ghana. It was besieged twice and attacked by the natives between 1680 and 1681. It was bombarded by the English in 1781 but was ceded to Britain in 1872.
In 1482 the Portuguese built St. George’s Castle – Elmina Castle. It was a vast rectangular 97,000sq ft. fortification. As the immensely profitable trade in gold and slaves at Elmina increased it began to attract the attention of other European nations, and a struggle for control of the Castle succeeded. Finally, in 1637, after two previously unsuccessful attempts, the Dutch captured Elmina Castle and remained in control for the next 274 years.
Fort St. Jago Koenraadsburg at Elmina was built between 1555 and 1558 by the Portuguese, but it turned into a lodge and watch tower. Hill taken by the Dutch and converted into a lodge built in 1637. It was built into a fort between 1652 and 1662 by the Dutch in addition with Elmina Castle. It was enlarged in 1671 and besieged by the local people for ten months in 1681. It was attacked by the English in 1781 and ceded to Britain in 1872. It was restored between 1956 and 1960.
Cape Coast Castle was built at Cape Coast. In 1637 the lodge was occupied by the Dutch. The Swedes captured it in 1652 and named it fort Carolusborg. In 1664 the fort was captured by the British and re-named it Cape Coast Castle. The Castle served as the seat of the British administration in the then Gold Coast (Ghana) until the administration was moved to Christiansburg Castle in Accra on March 19th 1877. The castle played a significant role in the gold and slave trade. Arrival of Christianity and the establishment of the first formal education system in Ghana were through Castle Schools.
Cape Coast – Fort Victoria was built at Cape Coast by the English in 1702 and was known as Phipps’s Tower from 1711. It was rebuilt in 1837 and renamed Fort Victoria.
Cape Coast – fort William was built at Cape Coast by the British between 1819 and 1820. It was called Smith’s Tower. It was rebuilt between 1830 and 1831 and renamed Fort William. A lighthouse was installed in 1835.
Fort McCarthy at Cape Coast was built by the British in 1822.
Moiré Fort Nassau was built at Cape Coast. It was a Dutch post in 1598. The Dutch built a fort out of it in 1612 and enlarged it between 1620s and 1630s. It was in English hands in between 1664and 1645 and was re-captured by the Dutch in 1665. It was captured by the English again in 1782 and returned to the Dutch by an agreement in 1785. In 1868 it was transferred to Britain and kept on changing hands.
Fort William at Anomabo was built by the Dutch in 1640. It was captured by the Swedes in the early 1950s. The Danes captured it under Sir Henry Karloff in 1657 but recaptured by the Dutch in 1660. It was surrendered to the Dutch under De Royster in 1665. It was rebuilt by the English as Fort Charles in 1679. In 1701 it was occupied by the Anomabo people in 1701. It was abandoned, bombarded and attacked by Asante on the 15th of June 1806. It was purchased by the English in 1872. It was abandoned by the English in 1730. Present fort (now wrongly called Fort William) built by the British, in 1753-56. It was bombarded by French in 1794. It was attacked by the Anomabo in 1801. It was attacked by Ashanti on 15th June 1806. It was purchased by the English in 1872. It was restored in 1954.
James fort at Accra It was the first English post between 1650 and 1653. The English post was re-established in 1672 and raised to status of fort in 1679. It was damaged by earthquake in 1862.
Fort Crevecoeur Ussher Fort, Accra was a Dutch post built in 1642. It was enlarged and named Fort Crevecoeur in 1652. It was in British hands in 1782 but was returned to the Dutch in 1785. It was abandoned in 1816 and was damaged by earthquake in 1862. However, it was transferred to the British, rebuilt and renamed Ussher Fort in 1868.
Accra- Christainsborg Castle, Accra was a Portuguese fortified house in 1500. It was taken by Swedes in 1645 and was a built as a Swedish lodge in 1652. It was captured by the Danes in 1657, enlarged and named Christainsborg after King Christian V of Denmark in 1659. It was briefly in Dutch hands in 1660. Location was given away to the Danes by King of Accra in 1661. It was briefly in Portuguese hands between 1679 and 1683. It was re-occupied by Danes in 1683. In 1693, the mighty Akwamu took the castle but was re-deemed by the Danes in 1694. It was renovated between 1730 and 1780. It was bought by Britain in 1850, damaged by earthquake in 1862 after which it was used as a lunatic asylum. It was reconstructed and used as residence of the British Governor of Gold Coast between 1877 and 1957.
It is the residence of President of Ghana and renamed Government House, OSU in 1957. Became the official residence of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana in 1960 and has since remained the Seat of Government. It is frequently renovated with additions in recent years.
Fort Augustaborg at Teshie was a Dutch post from 1730 to 1740s. It was a Danish fort in 1787. It was bought by Britain in 1850. Many forts such as fort Amsterdam at Kormantse; fort Amoku near Ankafal, Saltpond; Tantum fort; Fort Patience at Apam; fort Good Hope at Senya Beraku and many more.
Strangers at the Shores of Ghana
The Akan people realized that someone was controlling trade routes from the coast. They were also aware that Europeans were fighting amongst themselves to gain control over trade routes. However, in 1660 Adansi, Assin and Denkyira had gained control over trade along the coast between modern days Elmina and Cape Coast. The town names were given by the Portuguese, they called them the Arcanes.
A Dutch merchant Mr. Valkenburgh testified to their commercial influence and their active movements along the coast from the Castle de Mina as far as Cormantyn (Cape Coast).
From 1677 to 1681, Akwamu chief, Ansa Sasraku defeated the Ga people living at the coast and gained important European trading stations in and around Accra and Akwapim Hills. The Akwamu took possession of the Danish Castle of Christiansburg, built at OSU at Accra. Akwamu only occupied the fort for a year and sold it back to the Danes. It was a tricky profitable business for Akwamu.
Advent of Europeans
Europe was economically and politically weak and could only trade around the Black and the Mediterranean Seas. Due to the political change in the Middle East, Europe had to look for somewhere else. Although, the Greek in 200 BC and the Phoenicians in 600 BC sailed to West Africa they never interfered with the culture and lives of the Africans.
From 1150 to 1300 there was insidious increase in European prosperity because of rise in population in Europe and more lands were cultivated. In the 14th century economic prosperity in Europe weakened. Lands went out of cultivation and the volume of trade dropped because of tragic harvests in the early century. The social structures changed, and classifications disintegrated. The final blow was the Black Death, which killed a third of Europe’s population in 1348-9 and continued as a thread due to recurrences.
Early Picture of the Slave Trade
Portugal and Spain began the slave trade in the 15th century in West Africa. Soon it became transatlantic and Portugal claimed monopoly because of their settlement in South America, Brazil. Spain on the other hand had claimed a monopoly on the trade in Islands of the Caribbean Sea. Britain, watching events unfolding and how profitable the slave trade was for these nations became profit hungry and wanted their share of the cake. They joined. Spain disliked the idea but they were unable to hold off the British
Thus, in 1610 Dutch trades began to sail enslaved from Africa to America. British started the slave trade in 1930s as they established plantations in the Americas. In 1652 the Dutch became the dominant slaving nation; they established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope.
Europeans in the 17th Century
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the European countries, the Dutch, English, Danes, and Swedish were licensed by their various governments to trade in Africa. Europeans began to compete and challenge the Portuguese by building fortified trading stations. There were many problems amongst the people, the Europeans, and the local chiefs because of conflicts. European plantations were increasing in numbers in the New World, the Americas in 1500 and there was demand of workers in form of slaves.
Trade in slaves was more lucrative than gold as the principal export of the area and moreover, trading in gold was becoming problematic. The profits to be gained from trading in slaves attracted attention from all over Europe.
From 1418, the Portuguese meticulously began to explore the coast of Africa. They reached Indian Ocean in 1488. People were curious to find out about what lay on the eastern side of Europe so, in 1492, the young Christopher Columbus`s dreams to sail to Asia was rewarded. He sailed and landed on an unexplored continent, then seen by Europeans as a “new world”, America.
Portugal and Spain had no desires for conflicts so; an agreement was signed dividing the world into two regions in terms of exploration. In that sense, each party had the sole rights to entitlement of whatever lands they discovered.
To them, it was fair and just so, in 1498, the Portuguese voyage led by Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa towards Asia. One way or the other they wounded up in “spice islands” in 1512. They sailed eastwards and landed in China a year later. Others were also in the exploration business navigating towards the Americas and South Pacific Islands.
In 1495, the French and English and much later, the Dutch wanted to take part in these explorations because, there was no reason to sit back and watch. They felt that they should make hay while the sun was shining. They sailed towards the north and into the Pacific Ocean, around South America. The following year the Portuguese sailed around Africa; they ended up into the Indian Ocean and discovered Australia in 1606, New Zealand in 1642, and Hawaii in 1778. Others explored Siberia.
Contact between the Old and New Worlds created the Columbian Exchange: an uprising in extensive transfer of plants, animals, foods, human populations, slaves, communicable diseases, exchange of culture between the Eastern and Western hemispheres, ecology, agriculture as well as global mapping of the world, resulting in a new world-outlook, civilizations and recognition of one another.
Well, the Portuguese with their little country, in the sixteenth century, pitilessly and in a hostile way built domination in the spice trade from the east because they controlled the trade routes around the continent of Africa. Spain began to speculate about how to circumvent the domination of the Portuguese. They thought about another alternative route, the western direction, but the route was far too long and the Ocean, enormous and fearful. .
But from 1451 to 1506, a man from Genoa, Christopher Columbus the navigator convinced the Spanish to sail via the western route to the eastern countries, India, Asia. Christopher’s brother, Bartholomew Columbus, was a cartographer in Lisbon and the 25 year-old Cristobel joined him in 1476.
People began to speculate whether or not the world was flat or round. If it was flat the western voyage to India would be a monumental disaster because, the ship would have to travel thousands of miles over open Ocean and the ship’s crew would have nothing to eat and would die of dehydration before they reached their destination. Some smart peoples knew that the world was round and had known this for ages and moreover the circumference of the earth had been already reflected in the second century BC. Columbus in his smart way sensed that the world was substantially smaller than people anticipated so he convinced the Queen of Spain, Isabella that a western trip would be nothing but short. His assumptions were wrong because had they sailed on that route, they would have died.
As good luck would have it Columbus sailed to America. The Europeans instantly believed that an entire new continent had been discovered. Naturally, it was called the “New World.” Columbus was not of the same opinion.
The term “New World” was perplexing because America was not new. The Native Americans had always known about its existence from time immemorial. The fact that the Europeans had not yet discovered it was unimportant to the fact that it was new.
Icelanders had landed and settled along the coastline of Canada in the thirteenth century as well as the Scandinavians and the ancient Egyptians due to the discovery of nicotine in Egyptian mummies. Nicotine only comes from tobacco, which only grows in the Americas.
Europeans had no idea of the Americas but Columbus’s discovery threw light on these continents. After Columbus discovery, Europeans were in complete ecstasy and flabbergasted. With the speed of a cat they hopped on to satisfy their curiosity and to gain riches. England was in complete higgledy piggery and an explorer John Cabot was sent to sightsee the coast of New England. In 1500, Pedro Cabral, a Portuguese captain, discovered South America. Florence sent Amerigo Vespucci, who travelled many times to catalogue the geography of the new continent. Because of this, the continents bore his name.
The Spanish dominated the settlement and exploitation of the Americas and in 1494, Spain signed an agreement with Portugal, the Treaty of Tordesillas that divided the entire whole world between the two of them. Every trade route east of the Cape of Good Hope belonged to Portugal while all the routes west across the Atlantic belonged to Spain.
In 1484 the Portuguese were figuring out how they could reach Asia by sailing around the coast of Africa, They had rejected Christopher’s theories that the Indies could be reached by sailing west around the world.
Columbus moved to Spain and was likewise rejected by the Spanish royal commission. In April 1492 King Ferdinand V sponsored his expedition with promises of riches and aristocracy for the navigator if his theories were right. Queen Isabella agreed. He made a total of four voyages from Spain to the so called New World between 1492 and 1504.
Columbus first voyage was with Pinta, on August 3rd, 1492, from Spain with less than one hundred men. They had to spend some days on the sea because they had damages. The crew was worried but out of the blue Columbus changed the course towards south and west and in their amazement saw something like land.
In October 12th, the crew sighted the islands in the Bahamas and named it San Salvador. The island now belonged to Spain. From there they made landings on Cuba, baptized Juana by Columbus, and Española, now known as Hispaniola, shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Columbus in his fantasy believed that they had arrived in the Indies.
Columbus returned to Spain accompanied by the Pinta.
Columbus’ second voyage was made up of 17 ships with one and a half thousand men. They left Spain in September 1493 and made touchdowns on the islands of Dominica, Guadeloupe and Antigua. On his arrival he found out that the crew he left in the region had been killed and the lodge destroyed. The colony of Isabella was then founded as the first settlement of Europeans in the New World.
Columbus explored further and found Jamaica. By 1550, the Spanish had conquered all of Mexico and between 1531 and 1536, Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire. By 1560, the entire western coast of South America was in Spanish hands while the Portuguese had Brazil. By the 1540’s, the Spanish started settling the new lands. The indigenous peoples suffered maliciously under Spanish control. The Native Americans, who were not slaughtered by the new European syndromes or killed in the conquests, died, speedily as slaves by the hands of their Spanish masters.
With the increasing amount of European plantations in the New World during the 1500s, labourers were needed and demand for enslaved in the Americas augmented. Enslaved became more valuable than gold and West Africa became the main source of enslaved for the New World. It was moneymaking and that attracted the attention of Europeans. Competitiveness amongst the Europeans for the control of the trade was obvious but the Portuguese position on the coast of West Africa was safe for nearly a century.
In seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Dutch, and later English, Danish, and Swedish built fortified trading stations to compete with the Portuguese. Chiefs and local rulers in Ghana were persuaded to participate in slaving by waging war solely to acquire slaves for the Europeans. However, they fought to pacify regions that were under the Asante control and to gain access to the trade routes on the coast where there was business.
Some kind of involvement by the elders and chiefs existed as well as some individual African dealers such as John Kabes, John Konny, Thomas Ewusi and an agent, were engaged in trade undertakings with the Europeans at the coast.
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian explorer. He sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492 with the hope to find a route to India. He made four trips to the Caribbean and South America during the years 1492-1504. In October 11, 1492, he spotted the Caribbean islands off south-eastern North America on an island which he later renamed San Salvador. He met Taino Indians, many of whom were captured by him. Columbus thought he had made it to Asia, and called this area the Indies, and he called its inhabitants Indians. He focused on Europe, its people, institutions, and cultures, in a way that was arrogant and dismissive of others.
Pedro Álvares Cabral, after his discovery of Brazil in 1500, the Portuguese sent out a follow-up expedition in 1501, under the command of Gaspar de Lemos and Amerigo Vespucci to explore the Brazilian coast. They returned in 1502 and reported the discovery of Brazil wood (pau-brasil) on the coast. Brazil wood was valued by the European cloth industry because of its outstanding deep red colour dye.
The Portuguese sensed its commercial opportunity and assembled a group of Lisbon merchants to exploit the catch. In late 1502, Alvares was granted permission to explore the “Lands of Vera Cruz” (Brazil) for a period of four years.
The French began to establish colonial power in western Hemisphere in 16th century. France founded colonies along the eastern North America, Caribbean Islands, and South America. The colonies were developed to export fish, sugar, and furs.
French established settlements that would become such cities as Quebec and Montreal in Canada; Detroit, Green Bay, St. Louis, Mobile, Biloxi, Baton Rouge and New Orleans in the United States; and Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitian in Haiti
He continued his exploration and landed on the islands of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western third, is one of many Caribbean islands.
The French colonial empire was one of the largest in the world, after the British Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Spanish Empire. Its influence made French a widely-spoken colonial European language, along with English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
At the peak of its supremacy, it was one of the largest empires in world history. Spain administered territories and colonies such as Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia or Oceania at the peak of its power. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was one of the global empires. In 1492, they completed the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula following the Battle of Granada. Associated with Christopher Columbus, who commanded the first Spanish exploratory voyage west across the Atlantic Ocean, lead to the discovery of America. With Europe`s colonial engagement in the New World, the Western Hemisphere became the focus of Spanish exploration and colonization.
It consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Netherlands from the 17th century. The Dutch shadowed Portugal and Spain in forming an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing Portuguese and Spanish settlements. They had skills in shipping and trade. Together with the British, the Dutch primarily built up colonial wealth on the basis of indirect state capitalist corporate colonialism, via the Dutch East and West India Companies. The Netherlands controlled global trade during the second half of the 17th century during a cultural flowering known as the Dutch Golden Age. The Netherlands lost many of its colonial possessions, as well as its worldwide control to the British.
The Dutch conquered Jakarta in 1619, later renamed Batavia and which would become the capital of the Dutch East Indies. Meanwhile, the Dutch continued to drive out the Portuguese from their bases in Asia. Malacca finally succumbed in 1641, Colombo in 1656, Ceylon in 1658, Goa, the capital of the Portuguese Empire in the East, was unsuccessfully attacked by the Dutch in 1603 and 1610.
The Dutch were the only European power allowed to operate in Japan, confined in 1639 to Hairdo and then from 1641 at Deshima. In the mid-17th century the Dutch also explored the western Australian coasts, naming many places.
The Dutch also colonized Mauritius in 1638. They lost 3 ships. They named it in honour of Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands. The Dutch found the climate hostile and abandoned the island after several further decades.
In 1652 the Dutch founded a colony at Cape Town on the coast of South Africa and in 1630; the Dutch occupied the Portuguese sugar-settlement of Pernambuco and the sugar plantations that surrounded it. In order to supply the plantations with workforce in Brazil they captured the slaves in the Portuguese castle of Elmina, Ghana, Axim Ghana in 1641 and 1642 respectively and Angola. By 1650, the Dutch was in control of both the sugar and slave trades, and had occupied the some Caribbean islands.
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Caribbean islands Aruba, 33 km-long islands of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, belonged to the Dutch. It is located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela. Together with Bonaire it forms a group of islands. Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands together with the Netherlands Curacao, and Saint Maarten. Aruban citizens hold Dutch passports.
The first Europeans who came to Suriname were Dutch traders who visited the range and other parts of the South America’s Wild Coast. The English attempted to settle the area in 1630. They cultivated crops of tobacco, but the undertaking failed economically. The settlement was attacked by seven Dutch ships in 1667. In the same year, the English and Dutch signed the Treaty of Breda, in which for the time being, the Dutch could occupy Suriname. However, the Suriname was occupied by the British in 1799 after the Dutch were unified with France, but it was given back to the Dutch in 1816, following the defeat of Napoleon. The Dutch abolished slavery only in 1863 with a large Creole population consisting mostly of the descendants of slaves.
The ancestors of these people received surnames which were given by their former slave owners; many of which denoted a specific character peculiarity. The governor of Aruba was Frits Goedgedrag’s, a Dutch name for “good behavior” other names meant “obedient”.
Many people kept these names, others changed their names. The names were often in the local Spanish-based creole language but subsequently changed to real Spanish names by the Dutch. Thus, many Arubans and some Surinamese have Spanish surnames without Spanish ancestry.
The British had the Caribbean’s in their hand after several attempts. St Lucia, 1605, and Granada 1609 failed but settlements were successfully established in St. Kitts 1624, Barbados 1627, and Nevis 1628.The colonies soon implemented the organization of sugar plantations which were effectively applied by the Portuguese in Brazil. But it depended on slave labour and Dutch ships to sell the slaves and buy the sugar. The English were to use their own ships in their colonies.
This led to hostilities with the Dutch which actually favoured the English. In 1655 England annexed the island of Jamaica from the Spanish, and in 1666 succeeded in peopling the Bahamas. England`s first permanent settlement was in Jamestown 1607. Bermuda was claimed by England in 1609. England had his hands full of activities but had troubles with the French concerning pelt trading colony in New France.
Two years later, the Royal African Company was appointed to supply slaves to the British colonies of the Caribbean. From the beginning, slavery was the root of the British Empire in the West Indies. Up to the elimination of the slave trade in 1807, Britain was accountable for the conveyance of 3.5 million African enslaved to the Americas, a third of all slaves transported across the Atlantic.
The trade was exceptionally money-making, and became the chief cost-effective backbone for British cities, Bristol and Liverpool, and which formed the third corner of the triangular trade with Africa and the Americas. The journey was severe, tough, punitive, cruel and unhygienic, on the slaving ships and nourishments were poor, the mortality rate during the middle passage was one in seven.
Britain continued its activities and colonization’s and passed through world wars until decolonization and decline 1945–1997, was the end of the empire.
Danish and Norway participation in slave trade
The small country of Denmark established many trading posts in Ghana in 1658. Conflicts between the Danes and the Swedish ended in 1663. The Danes conquered Fort Frederiksberg at Kpompo and Christiansburg at Accra from the Swedish. The Gold Coast- Ghana was a Danish Crown Colony in 1754 but from 1782 it was under the British. Before they outlawed the slave trade, Danish and Norwegian ships made 340 trips and transported 85,000 to 100,000 slaves. The Danish trading partner was the Fante who were subdued in 1807 and by 1850 the Danish trading post was abandoned, sold to Britain.
The Danes entered the transatlantic slave trade with the intention to sell slaves in the Caribbean. They had acquired some lands in the Caribbean for their sugar plantation.
Danish West India and Guinea Company settled on St. Thomas island on the Caribbean and expanded to St. John and purchased St. Croix from the French in 1733. The islands were sold to King Frederick and they became royal Danish colonies. However, during the Napoleonic Wars the islands changed hands with the British for short periods, but they were returned to Denmark.
The Danish West Indies colonies of Denmark and Norway in the Caribbean were sold to the United States and became the United States Virgin Islands in 1917. The islands consisted of St Thomas, St John and Santa Cruz.
The islands formerly belonged to Great Britain consequently the inhabitants were English speaking and adopted English customs.
In St. Thomas, sugar and cotton were its main exports. St. Thomas was the capital of the island, which had a free port and a main station of steam-packets between Southampton in England and the West Indies. St. John had a lesser population but Santa Cruz had the largest population of people and workforce.
In 1917, the islands were sold to the United States for $25. The Danish administration ended in 1917. United States took official possession of the territory and renamed it the United States Virgin Islands.
The United States was interested in the islands because of their strategic position and because of the fear that Germany might seize them to use as U-boat bases during World War I.
In 1650, Sweden established a trading station in Ghana – Swedish Ghana. Sweden competed with Denmark for positions as local muscles. In 1663, the Swedish Ghana was taken over by the Danish colonial control and become part of the Danish Ghana. However, in 18th century Sweden established a colony in the Caribbean.
In 1771, Gustav III, the new king of Sweden was happy to establish his country as European Great Muscle because, possessing colonies overseas was a sign of respect, status, eminence, power and prestige. This king decided to procure colonies for Sweden and moreover, he watched how Denmark procured large revenues from its colonies in the West Indies and was prospering. In 1784, the King marched towards the West Indian island of Saint- Barthelemy and acquired it from the hands of France.
On August the same year, the King assembled his council and informed them of his proud achievement in the West Indies. His Councilors were taken by surprise.
Saint-Barthelemy was a minor island without tactical location. It was very poor and dry with small inhabitants. Salt and cotton was the only produce on the island because a large part of the island was made up of rocks. The island had no sweet water and its wells had salty water in them. Water was imported from neighboring islands. There were no roads and, no possibility of agriculture because of its poor soil however; it had at least a worthy harbour. The king’s councillor recommended that the island be made a free port.
At that time, France had difficulties obtaining slaves to its own colonies in the region. So, Sweden offered to provide the French with slaves and if it was a success the king could expand his islands in the region and would make lots of money by leasing his port.
People were informed about the huge profits they could make so; investors and many individuals poured in and bought shares. The king kept ten per cent of the shares for himself which made him the largest stockholder in the transaction. His profits were one quarter and the other investors, three quarters.
In the same year, the West India Company was granted the right to trade slaves between Africa and the West Indies and was free to drive slave trade in Angola and the African coast. The island was ultimately used for a center for slave trade for England, France, Portugal, Spain and Holland.
In 1790, Sweden propounded a new law and that gave slave traders free import of slaves on the island especially, free import of slaves and trade with black slaves from Africa. Thus, people from all over the Caribbean came to buy slaves because they paid a negligible export duty charge. The duty was split fifty-fifty for slaves from Africa on Swedish ships. This transaction produced huge returns for the West India Company and Swedish traders.
Thus, a new branch for the Swedish trade in Africa and the Coast of Guinea was established. It was estimated that a couple of thousand people were sailed by Swedish ships.
In 1813, Sweden was given control of Guadeloupe, a nearby French colony under British occupation. A year later Sweden gave the island back to France.
Slave trade was outlawed in Britain in 1807, in the United States in 1808. Sweden made the slave trade illegal in 1813, but allowed slavery for thirty-four years.
During the 19th century, a Swedish vessel Diana was seized by the British near the coast of Africa carrying slaves from Africa to Saint Bartholomew. However, the vessel was returned to the Swedish owners because Sweden had not yet prohibited the trade.
The Swedes eventually abandoned the slave trade in the Caribbean, but did not forbid slavery. Eventually, their West Indian colonies became a financial problem and Sweden gave back the island of Guadeloupe to France in 1814 in return for the sum of 24 million francs.
Sweden joined Britain against France in the Napoleonic War. In Saint Bartholomew, the Swedish regime bought the remaining slaves to give them free.
The Surplus Poor
From the streets and towns of Britain the white working class kindred, the surplus poor were sold into slavery. Thousands of whites including children were kidnapped for enslavement. Press gangs hired by local merchants wandered the streets and seized boys and children were driven in flocks to be shipped. People became afraid and parents in the countryside feared to bring their children into the city. There were merchants, shippers and suppliers.
White slaves were transported to the settlements in the 17th and 18th century. The white slaves were kept below deck for eight to eleven weeks during the journey to America. They were confined to a hole and chained with other to a board with padlocked collars around the neck. The weeks of confinement below deck in the ships resulted in outbreaks of contagious disease and most of them died and the mortality for the whites at some point equalled that of the black slaves. It was said to have been ten percent for the blacks and twenty-five for the whites and the sufferings of the whites were equally hard during the Middle Passage and young children seldom survived the journey. They were tormented by unhealed wounds and lacerations, they could not all lie down at once without lying on each other. Chained from their legs to their necks they were unable to move. There was darkness, stench, lamentation, disease and death.
The mercantile companies, as distributors of white servants, were not vigilant about their treatment, because they were only concerned to get the ships to South Carolina and could carry local produce back to Europe. Accordingly the Irish as well as others ached immensely.
During the industrial revolution in the 18th century in Britain white children as young as six years of age were oppressed. They were locked in the factories for sixteen hours a day with primitive machinery thus; hands and arms were regularly ripped to pieces and little girls frequently had their hair caught in the machinery and were scalped from their foreheads to the back of their necks.
White Children injured and crippled in the factories were not compensated and were left to die of their injuries. Children who came late to work or who fell asleep were beaten with iron bars. In America eight and ten year old children worked hard in miserable factories and mines as late as 1920. It was a hard life for people of colour as well as whites
After the Revolution of 1776, convicts were centred on Australia. Half of all the arrivals in the American colonies were white slaves and they were America’s first slaves. They were slaves for life, long before blacks ever were. White children born to white slaves were also enslaved.
The whites were auctioned on the block with children sold and separated from their parents and wives sold and separated from their husbands. Free black property owners were freed while white slaves were driven hard to death in the sugar mills of Barbados and Jamaica and the plantations of Virginia.
There is some kind of incongruences because the words “indentured servitude” has been used to denote some kind of minor undertakings by white slavery. However, destined whites in America called themselves slaves. Nine-tenths of the white slavery in America was carried out without agreements of any kind. It was a lifetime slavery administered by the white slave dealers.
It is about 9 a.m. on May 12, 1450, my birthday. The day is glamorous and the skies are blue but it suddenly becomes frowning and scowling. I woke up with a smile on my face but my heart is beating faster and harder. My siblings are still asleep except my parents and some of my playmates who had gone to the farms. Everything was dead quiet, soundless.
My family and I live some few meters from the main thoroughfare and our shack is mounted uphill but is barely seen from the main road. There is a large courtyard in front of our hovel, very bulky and indeed dusty. In the middle of the courtyard is a giant tree probably thousands of years old. On the right corner of the open space is the habitat of the seniors and beside is an old hovel that belonged to my grandparents. There is nobody living in my grandparents’ hovel at the present. On the left side of the courtyard is a huge man-made well belonging to a wealthy businessman who trades in produces such as rawhide. My parents’ home lies uphill and the lane to the house is bumpy and rough. Behind the house are some coconut trees lined up along a small stream. The township is settled by various ethnic groups but the majorities are Akan speaking people.
I have three sisters from 5, 10 and 13 years old. My brother is only 3 years old. I am Kwame, 16 years old.
An idea kept on running through my veins and I was unsure of myself. Signs in the sky were not as usual as it used to be and my heart beat said it all. “Was it an omen?” I asked myself. I suddenly remembered that during the advent of the Europeans rumours spread in the village about the slave trade and everybody was warned about slavery by warfare, market supply, raiding and kidnapping, tribute and pawning. We also learnt about prisoners of war who constituted the largest proportion of the total slave output.
Kwame and his people learnt about profiling slave hunters; they were discriminatory, insulting, liars, rootless, sly, kleptomaniacal and distrustful; amongst them some Independent slave traders, some slave companies and slave hunters or catchers as well as African chiefs who were approached by captains of ships or “factors” and, European agents who kept slaves in “Bara coons”, a place where slaves were reduced in intensity and efficiency. There was no domestic slavery in the vicinity of Kwame and his people.
A sudden cool air swept vigorously across my face and my heartbeat accelerated as perspiration run through my entire body. Three men emerged from the low bushes behind the hovel. They were armed with thick rusty shackles and guns. I kept on looking at the heavens with the feeling that there was something wrong. Then three of the men came into the yard. They were strong men. They entwined me with ropes. They did not stop there but more men climbed over our fence and caught the siblings, stuffed their mouths and escaped quickly into the bushes nearby. Our hands were tightened with ropes. I and my siblings lay quite waiting for someone to rescue us although I had no hope. In my anguished, I prayed for the spirits of our ancestors to help us.
My two siblings were suffering because they were girls and moreover, their hands and feet were wrapped around a wooden bamboo and their mouths stuffed with a torn satchel leaving them no air passages to their lungs. This action was taken to disallow my siblings to yell, call or scream. There was no way I could fight the men so, I kept quiet and observed every step of the path they hiked expecting that my parents or at least someone could spot us. Nothing happened because the assailers behaved normally like villagers. Some wore a pair of khaki trousers others, a pair of knickers and red shirts. None had the typical African daily wear and that was suspicious.
We were carried away. From the village we travelled by land through the bushes and thick forest which took us seven months before we arrived at the coast. At the coast we saw an anchored ship.
We were divided into two groups, the children and the grown-ups. Women were separated from the men but the children stayed together with the women. The people had long hair white in complexion with long noses and spoke some kind of a funny language and indeed I was much afraid. We were further split into two groups, the domestic and the commercial slaves. As the names implied those assigned to domestic work were to serve the masters at their homes.in the Castle whilst the commercial slaves were to serve at the castle.
The castle had five dungeons, three for the males with 250 slaves and two for the women with 150 people but altogether there were more than 1000 occupants. On the top of the ceiling was a small outlet which permitted air and sunshine during the day and moon light at night. It was worse than a prison but of course I have never been imprisoned but I can at least let my imagination do the thinking.
Drainages; stringed out on the floors with thin woods were used as lavatories and rain water was applied to wash away faeces, urine, blood, vomitus and other wastes from our bodies. I waited for six weeks before ships arrived from the Americas before I was shipped and in-between at the Palaver Hall which served as the trading points in the castle, I was hawked along with other merchandise such as gold, mirrors and spices. I never saw my siblings who were only 5, 10 and 13 years old.
Slaves died from diseases in the dungeons and after two days internees were relieved from the stink coming from the bodies. I kept my nose clean because I did not want to wind up in condemned cell where slaves were asphyxiated because; the masters thought they were unreasonably and perversely unyielding. The castles was also a place of worship just above the dungeons where the slaves were fighting for their lives and crying in anguish because of rotten smell of faces, and vomitus along with decomposing cadavers. How could the slave masters endure the smell and praise and worship God? I was not a Christian but my god would have punished me immensely.
The scenery was indescribable, humanity failed and human dignity was subdued to nonentity, something that did not exist or existed imaginary. There was lack of food and many died because of malnutrition. Kwame and the others were subjected to all sorts of humiliations, terrorization and torment. The slaves were chained in the clammy and shadowy dungeons. The amount of people in the dungeon was so much so that one could not breathe correctly, and in the midst of defecation, or move a leg or an arm. Lights were often switched off for some few minutes, I never found out why.
There was horror and atrocities in the castle. As time passed the demand for slaves increased and the storerooms of the castle were transformed into dungeons. The dead were at times tossed over-board into the see to pollute and they were out of mind and heart. Slaves were also chained to cannonballs at the castle and were made to stand in the scorching sun and the women were often raped and when they were not raping them, they were made to lift heavy cannonballs in the scorching sun as punishment. A Staircase led directly from the Governor’s compartment to the women’s dungeons beneath, making it easier for him to select personally and sexually submissive women from amongst the multitudes. The women were washed and dressed up to satisfy the appetite of the Governor.
Arriving at the castle at the castle, I saw giant stone walls with flaked white paint and dismal red roof. The square was green with awful interior. There was a narrow door with a skull and bones carved on the top- the `Death Door` where unmanageable slaves were beheaded. Women were brought to the stone courtyard where they were selected to their masters but pregnant women were freed. The “Door of No Return” had a narrow tunnel leading to it and could only fit one person, is the point from where slaves were loaded on ships forever.
The female who gave birth after having been raped were sent to another place and returned after three years with their babies. The very sick were left to die in the dungeon during birth and women in their period were left to live in their own menstrual blood month after month until those who became ill died.
This unlawful and criminal trade continued on for 300 years. The first slave ship ever built was from Massachusetts in 1637. The ships known as slavers sailed to West Africa with the purpose to exchange goods. However, the Europeans got hold of the ships and transported slaves in sufficient numbers to the United States of America.
Suddenly, I saw some weak, slaves arriving. They were not physically fit or mentally strong, arriving from Salaga, some, with broken legs, others with lacerations, all over their naked bodies.
Slaves from Salaga, Ghana
Salaga is a town located in Ghana’s Northern Region and the capital of its East Gonja District. It was the main market town of the Ashanti kingdom during the 18th century in terms of slave trade and kola trade with the Mossi and Gonja kingdoms. Because of its topographic position it was referred to as “the Timbuktu of the North” It was multicultural and had varied trade. It had many ethnic groups, the Dagomba, Gonja, Zabarma, Hausa, Wangara (Dyula) and Nanumba. The Hausa language served as a dialect. Muslims formed the most dominant religious group and many people retained animist beliefs.
The British defeated the Ashanti in 1874 and the Gonja population revolted and killed many Ashanti thus, trade declined and worsened by the civil war in1892 and the city eventually was reduced to a Zongo, wreckages, a rest stop for caravans.
There were ponds dug by slaves in Salaga, the Wonkan bawa, Hausa name for “the bathing place of slaves”. The enslaved were washed before being sold to make them look as attractive as possible. There was a baobab tree, the tree of vultures on the site of the old slave market and around it many slaves died because of hunger and were eaten by vultures.
The region was founded by the Nanumba tribe. A Naumba prince, Wumbei had the habit of hunting around Bopelani, which later became Salaga. He was so much so attracted to the region that he did not want to return home. When it was time to be crowned as a chief he refused and said “N salgi ya”, which means I am used to the place, hence originated the name Salaga.
On the rise of Asante it sought to control Salaga and Yendi trade routes and it transported slaves, cattle and groundnuts from Yendi to Kumasi through Salaga market. Thus, from the wars in the north the Asante transported slaves to their capital Kumasi and from there to the slave castle, Elmina at the coast.
Most slaves were captured through war and slave raids and others were given up to slavery as repayment of debt. When a slave ship appeared on the shore, the Africans were signalled to go upstream in their canoes and they returned two or three weeks later with their canoes full of slaves.
Slave Raiders, the Barkatue constantly terrorised the Northern part of Ghana and was a major slave originating source. The slaves were sent to markets and sold to southern slave merchants who afterwards transported them to the coast and sold to European traders. The trans-Saharan caravans stopped and rested at Salaga market.
There were Pole fasteners to bind the slaves, water channels and a river where captured slaves were allowed to drink from and bathed in, walled villages and caves for protection on the slave route.
Enslaved Africans in Baracoons
The ship captain traded directly through European negotiators at slave assembling centres. The enslaved were kept in enclosed areas known as baracoons. Brainwashed Native chiefs played some part in the capture of the enslaved as well as some slave catchers who journeyed far into the forest because the Europeans were afraid of diseases and the natives. Some of the enslaved were prisoners of war captured during inter-tribal combats and raids. Some of the slaves were from tribes that had been born and lived in slavery. These enslaved were deployed as servants in households and for carrying heavy loads through the forest and grassy plain. Enslaved collected far in the interior were chained together in a line- a coffle, and marched to the coast of Elmina. They were guarded by indoctrinated Africans.
Two enslaved were chained together around the leg and sets of four were held by a rope. A Y-formed rod was affixed with the split round the neck of the slave who walked in front and the trunk rested on the neck of the slave who walked behind. They were escorted by instructed natives.
The enslaved walked for many days before they arrived at the coast of Elmina. On arrival they were washed, shaved and their bodies oiled to give them good exterior. The Buyer examined each enslaved and agreed upon a price. Native slave dealers were paid in tropical invertebrate sea animal with a glossy brightly coloured shell and a long central toothed opening (cowrie shells), as currency, together with European goods such as iron bars, brass basins, and good quality cloth. In those days an enslaved was bought for goods matching roughly four English pounds. Later, a slave trader paid for each male slave, 96 yards of cloth, 52 handkerchiefs, 1 large brass pan, 2 muskets, 25 kegs of gunpowder, 100 flints, 2 bags of shot, 20 knives, 4 iron pots, 4 hats, 4 caps, 4 cutlasses, 6 bunches of beads and 14 gallons of brandy as records exhibited. The natives, including chiefs were brainwashed.
Furthermore, there were sporadic raids by Europeans. African societies were drawn into the slavery system under pressure, hoping to gain something for themselves. Some chiefs were converted into Christianity and referred to the king of Portugal as young brother. Some later protested that the Portuguese, their brothers had robbed them and had carried off their people into slavery. Many African chiefs were convinced that the slave trade was both beneficial and required otherwise the European would not have given away guns and alcohol.
The Coast in West Africa between the Senegal River and the Congo River were the main trading posts. The Europeans kept forts, Elmina Castle in Ghana, where the enslaved were kept prisoner until a ship arrived to take them away from the dungeons across the ocean.
Activities of the slave industry
The Dutch established the West India Company in 1621 because of the African slavery. But it was organized by the Portuguese. Portugal and Spain were allies but the Dutch were in conflict with Portugal. Thus, the Dutch attacked the Portuguese and grabbed many of their slave trading posts in West Africa.
The plantations in the Americas were expanding, more workers were needed therefore there was increasing need for slaves. France and England began to inaugurate trading corporations, in that way they could send workers in form of slaves to their settlements.
The English began with their business from 1651 to 1807 and transported 2,000,000 slaves to the Caribbean after which the slave trade was obliterated. The French shipped from 1664 and 1830 over 1,650,000 to their settlements and the Dutch, over 900,000 to the West Indies.
Many unaccountable slaves died on their passionate and unscrupulous journeys and considerable amount of Africans were killed during the practice in West Africa mainly, in Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Congo River, Angola and Dahomey. We were all jammed together in the dungeon in such a manner that there was no space to breath and most of the newcomer slaves just fell down and never woke up. They ceased to be alive. I could see the fears in the white of their eyes. They were horrified, confused and muddled.
Countries in Africa from where the slave traders operated
Ghanaians emerged from ancient Ghana to their present location which is about 1000 miles and settled at the Pra Ofin River region. They consisted of many tribes of which the Asante were dominant. The greater part speaks Akan language of Twi.
The Portuguese first came to Ghana in the 15th Century and found abundance of gold. Because of the gold they built trading posts and began to transport gold to Europe. In the meanwhile they were joined by the Dutch, the English, the French and other European nations. The gold trade ended up in slave trade in which Britain was the main engineer. Ghana in West Africa was the main slave centre from where millions of slaves were shipped to Americas and thousands met their deaths in the atrocious undertaken. Account has been given above.
From the 17th to the 19th century Africans were captured from the Senegambia region about 5000 to 6000 people each year. It was 1 in every 6 people. In 1441 a Portuguese explorer by the name Antonio Gonzales, kidnapped 10 West African natives and shipped them to Lisbon. The more the Europeans demand for slaves the more the inter-tribal warfare and attacks on other villages. The natives were ransacked and destroyed in pursuit for slaves and the local chiefs became in 1721 busy selling ivory and slaves chained by the neck with leather tongs in lines of between 30 to 40 people and at the same time held either ivory or a bundle of corn in each hand.
Europeans began to fight each other over possession of a number of slaving posts which lay alongside the River Gambia. In 1831 there was war between the British and the people of Gambia in the village of Niumi because the British tried to obstruct the slave trade by sealing the inflowing to the river. The Mandingo king and his people had benefited over the years from taxing slave traders. In January, 1832 a peace agreement was signed and control of their section of the river mouth was handed to the British.
The British abolished slavery in 1833 but it was not until 1895, 88 years after the abolition of the trade that local Gambian chiefs decided to terminate dealing in or possessing slaves. The practice of slavery continued until the 20th century.
After the abolition in 1807 British dealers protested that ivory, gum, wax and skins they were purchasing from Gambia could not compete with the slave trade. Thus, in 1815 the Earl of Bathurst ordered the occupation of James Island and any neighbouring areas which favoured foreign buyers.
In 1816 the British enforced the ban by establishing a settlement on St. Mary’s Island called Bathurst -Banjul, a base of a military barracks to guard against countries who tried to sneak out slaves of the mouth of the Gambia’s River. Britain abolished slavery in 1833. It was not until 1895, 88 years after the abolition of the trade, that local Gambian chiefs decided to cease trading in or keeping slaves.
Most of the languages spoken in Gambia originate from the Niger-Congo language family of the Cong branches. At least ten languages were spoken in Gambia.
Wolof represents the pidgin-dialect for the west coast of Combo area while Mandingo is dominant in the up-river splitting up and particularly in the Combos they are intermingled with Arabic and other languages. None of the ethnic tongues were written as they were in purely oral form. There are many tribes but the main ones are Mandingo, Wolof, Fula and Jola, each having its own language and traditions. Clothing is diverse but is always bright and colourful.
Gorée Island in Senegal was first visited in 1444 by the Portuguese but was seized by the Dutch in 1588, re-seized and again the Dutch. Finally it was named after the Dutch island of Gorée before the British acquired it in 1664 under Robert Holmes.
The French gained control in 1677 and remained in the hands of the French until 1960. Britain occupied Senegal between 1758 and 1763 and returned to France at the Treaty of Paris. A trading post was built and administratively attached to the capital of Senegal, Saint-Louis. A slave house was built by the Dutch in 1776. Africans were brought to be loaded unto ships bound for the New World. The owner’s residential quarters were on the upper floor. The lower floor was reserved for the slaves who were weighed, fed and held before departing on the transatlantic journey. The Slave House with its famous “Door of No Return.”
Senegal has variety of ethnic groups and several languages are widely spoken. The Wolof is the largest single ethnic group in Senegal is the Wolof followed by the Fula. The Mandingo occupies about 3 percent of the ethnic groups and the Soninke is a smaller community.
Dahomey is a West African kingdom, located in what is now southern Benin. It was established in the 17th century. Dahomey reached its power and prestige during the Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the late nineteenth century, it was conquered by French troops from Senegal and incorporated into French West African settlements.
Dahomey origin is traced back to a group of Aja from the coastal kingdom of Allada who moved north and settled among the Fon people of the interior. By about 1650, the Aja managed to dominate the Fon, and Wegbaja declared himself king of their joint territory. The king and his successors established a highly centralized state with a deep-rooted kingship cult of sacrificial offerings. Many were sacrificed when Dahomey conquered Whydah in 1727. The king directly owned all land and collected taxes from all crops.
Wegbaja and his successors profited mainly from the slave trade along the coast. As Dahomey kings used muskets and firearms transacted with French and Spanish slave traders for young men captured in battle who raised a very high price from the European slave merchants.
King Agadja, 1708 to1732 conquered Allada and gained direct contact with European slave traders on the coast but was unable to defeat the kingdom of Oyo, Dahomey chief rival, in the slave trade. By 1730, he became a branch of Oyo and was required to pay heavy taxes.
As a branch state, Dahomey uninterruptedly expanded and flourished because of the slave trade, and later through the export of palm oil from large plantations. The king’s ownership of all land gave him domination on all trade.
As one of West Africa’s principal slave states, Dahomey became extremely unpopular with neighboring peoples.
The kings of Dahomey sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery rather than killing them in the annual customs and by 1770, the King of Dahomey earned around £250,000 per year through the slave trade with Europeans. His fortunes were spent on British firearms of poor made and poor grade alcohol. Many of his subjects became ill because of the poisonous effect of the alcohol but none of them complaint. The hallucinogenic influence of the alcohol made them feel they were in another world.
The original inhabitants of Angola were the Khoisan speakers, and were occupied by various Bantu peoples between 1300 and 1600; the Bantu kingdom of Ndongo, because of its king’s name, Ngola.
By the 15th century the region was settled by several African kingdoms. The most notable were the Congo and the Mbundu natives.
Portugal entered the region in the 15th century and a city, Luanda was founded as a trading settlement in 1575.
Angola became a major source of slaves for Portugal’s new colony of Brazil. In the 1750s the Portuguese sold 5000 to 10,000 slaves yearly thus, dropping the population and the budget of Mbundu. Portugal gave guns to Imbangala soldiers in return for slaves. The tribe, equipped with superior weaponries, apprehended and traded far more additional natives. Portugal did not halt there but joined forces with the Imbangala fighters, confronted and overpowered the kingdom of Ndongo between 1618 and 19 and took the capital, Kabasa. After the siege, Portugal sold flocks of Kabasa occupants and shipped them with 36 ships in 1619 to its slave plantations in the Americas. It was a new top score for shipment of slaves to the Americas.
In the 18th century there was conflict between Portugal and other Europeans. The African tribes gave way to trade. Some of the tribal federations on the high plains were famous for their production of foodstuffs and rubber.
Portugal, enormously rich, bold and powerful, subjugated the neighboring tribes and gained control over total region. The slave trade and commerce decreased. After the independence of Brazil from Portugal in 1822, slavery in Portugal’s foreign properties was put an end to in 1836 by the Portuguese ruling classes. From 1764 onwards, there was a gradual change from a slave-based society to one based on production for domestic consumption, and later for export.
Explored by the Portuguese navigator Diego Cão in 1482, Angola became a link in trade with India and Southeast Asia. Later it was a major source of slaves for Portugal’s New World colony of Brazil.
Development of the interior began after the Berlin Conference in 1885 fixed the colony’s borders, and British and Portuguese investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture.
The Portuguese navigator Diogo Cam entered the Congo River mouth in 1482 and was the first European to visit the Congo. He established ties with the king of Congo but they had no influence on the Congo until the 18th century. The African and mulatto traders- the pombeiros, travelled far inland to the kingdom of Mwata Kazembe.
By 1494, the Portuguese king had entered agreements with the leaders of several West African states that would allow peaceful, mutual trade between their respective peoples. However there were sporadic aggressions.
Portugal maintained that it would continue to reside on the continent until the twentieth century. Despite incidences of occasional violence between African and European forces, many African federations were able to secure that any trade that transpired would be conducted on their terms. They imposed custom duties on foreign ships, and in 1525, the Congolese king, Afonso I, seized a French vessel and its crew for unlawfully trading.
Thus, the major areas of the slave trade in Africa were Senegambia, present day Senegal, Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Windward Coast, Ivory Coast, Ghana and surrounding areas, Bight of Benin, Togo, Benin and western Nigeria, Bight of Biafra, Nigeria south of the Benue River, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa, Gabon, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Southeast Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar.
The quantity of slaves sold to the new world was diverse and varied throughout the slave trade. However, Senegambia provided about 5.8 per cent, Sierra Leone 3.4 per cent, Windward Coast 12.1 per cent, Gold Coast 14.4 per cent, Bight of Benin 14.5 per cent, Bight of Biafra 25 per cent, Central Africa 23 per cent and Southeast Africa 1.8 per cent.
Côte d’Ivoire quantity, 12.1 per cent
Côte d’Ivoire was comprised of many small states. The Portuguese established trading settlements along the coast in the 16th century. Other Europeans later joined the trade in slaves and ivory. In 1842, the French gained a territory on the coastal zone. After 1870, France undertook a systematic takeover; and a protectorate over the entire country in 1893. However, strong resistance by the indigenous people delayed French occupation of the interior.
Ghana quantity 14.4 per cent
Several empires inhibited the Ghana each with their own history. Analogous to most of the African countries, the history of pre-colonial Ghana is as yet deficient because African storytelling is oral and there are no archaeological findings or scrolls. Available history is narrated above
Bight of Benin quantity 14.5 per cent
Like in many other regions across Africa, powerful indigenous kingdoms along the Bight of Benin relied heavily on a long established slave trade, which expanded greatly after the arrival of European powers and turned into a global trade with the colonization of the Americas. The Bight of Benin was known for its fearsome tides and had long standing association with slavery, its shore was known as the Slave Coast.
Bight of Biafra quantity 25 per cent
Biafra was a state in south-eastern Nigeria its name originated from the Biafra. The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people. The formation of the new country was among the difficult reasons for the Nigerian Civil War, also branded as the Nigerian-Biafran War.
Central Africa quantity 23 per cent
Central Africa was the most isolated part of Africa because the people who lived there never saw anybody from outside their region. The people of central Africa who lived along the Limpopo River, in modern Zimbabwe, began to keep sheep and cattle and people started selling animal furs and ivory. They were shipping furs and ivory down the Limpopo River to East African settlements on the coast. They shipped gold from Zimbabwe down the Limpopo River. In return, they got lots of glass beads, probably from India, and also cotton cloth.
The no return Journey of Dehumanized Men, Women and Children
The Middle Passage was the phase of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World, as part of the Atlantic slave trade. It involved the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British. Ships having landed slaves in Caribbean ports would take on sugar, indigo, raw cotton, and later coffee, and make for Liverpool, Nantes, Lisbon or Amsterdam.
Middle Passage, was so baptised because it was the middle leg of a three-part voyage — a voyage that began and ended in Europe. The first leg of the voyage carried a cargo that often included human. The enslaved were laid out in rows in the clutches of ships. Ships leaving European ports for West Africa conveyed printed cotton textiles, some initially from India, copper utensils and bangles, pewter plates and pots, iron bars, hats, trinkets, gunpowder and firearms and alcohol.
Upon landing on Africa’s “slave coast,” the cargo was exchanged for Africans. Fully loaded with its human cargo, the ship set sail for the Americas, where the slaves were exchanged for sugar, tobacco, or some other product. The final leg brought the ship back to Europe.
Africans who were fully aware of the situation made expeditions to the interior because the Europeans were unable to travel into the dense forest and bushes due to fear of diseases and African. Thus, Traders from the Americas and Caribbean received the enslaved Africans. The European muscles were Portugal, England, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Brandenburg, as well as Brazil and North America, participated. The Africans slaves came mostly from regions of Senegambia, Upper Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Bight of Benin, Bight of Biafra, West Central Africa and South-eastern Africa.
By 1654, and through ought the next hundred years, around 8,000-10,000 Africans were shipped via the Middle Passage each year and by 1750 the annual number stabilized at 60,000-70,000. Estimates on the total number of Africans forced to undergo the Middle Passage ranged from 9 to 15 million from whom about 3 to 5 million perished on Sea. From 1440–1640, Portuguese had domination on the export of slaves from Africa.
Men, women and children were chained and confined to the airless stuffy, close, muggy, damp, humid, clammy, warm, oppressive cargo holds below deck and inadequate space to place buckets for human waste, diseases were occurring. After securing her cargo, the Henrietta Marie would have brought food and water on-board for the long voyage to the West Indies but failed.
Slaves from the interior of African were frequently held in captivity for months before they finally arrived at the coast. Most of them had been wounded in battles, and others were exposed to smallpox, yellow fever, and other deadly diseases.
Lack of exercise and continuous wave of the ship gave rise to gangrene, abrasions and sores that troubled the captives.
Poor diet and close confinements gave rise to curvy and gangrene. Lack of drinking water gave rise to dehydration, and high loss of bodily fluids which in turn gave rise to fevers and dysentery, was the main cause of deaths.
Enslaved male were chained with the right foot of one bound to the left foot of the other slave. The crew members were armed and they were always ready to strike in cases of mutiny which was very often, thus these African individuals were often hurt.
The enslaved were brought to the deck during the morning hours when the weather was good. The men were always in chains no matter what. The women and children were allowed to wander about on deck. Meal was served around nine o`clock but the West Africans were fed differently than those from the Northern region of Guinea. They were nourished with boiled rice, millet or cornmeal. Enslaved from Bight of Biafra were fed with fried yams; Enslaved from Congo River area had starchy manioc, cassava flour, and plantain. Few lumps of raw meat were sometimes mixed with their food and half a pint of water in “pannikin” small pan were given to them to drink. That was their ration for the day. Late in the evenings they were given horse beans (beans for horses), boiled mixed with palm oil and pepper. Raw meat was given to them from time to time. Physical training was by dancing. Women and children danced to a drum or rhythms by the noises of kettles, whereas men had to jump up and down. Failure resulted in lashes in chain with a special painful kind of a whip.
In stormy weather the enslaved were asked to stay below the deck day and night. It was filthy, it stank of dead people especially the tween decks. The women were often raped.
In Africa the enslaved were forced into the ships to face suffocation, brutalization, fear, rape, and hopelessness among others. Disease such as smallpox, scurvy, dysentery, and more were rampant. The diseases often spread from enslaved to the crew, killing a myriad of people. Some enslaved jumped off the ship and remained under water until they were drowned and others starved themselves to death. Enslaved who rejected to eat were force-fed with mouth speculum, a device which held the mouth open.
The voyage was insured, but compensation did not include enslaved who had been taken ill or died from a disease. Thus, the enslaved were chained collected and tossed overboard. On arrival healthy slaves were put on exhibition at public auctions and examined. A buyer might lick the African’s jawbone to decide the age of the enslaved, or taste his sweat to interpret if he was healthy.
Slave Ship Zong 1781, the Massacre
They departed from the coast of West Africa on September 6, 1781 on a crossing to Jamaica. On November 27, 1781 they reached at an Island that they thought was Jamaica. By November 29, 1781 the ship had regrettably claimed the lives of seven white men and sixty African slaves.
On the 6th September 1781, the slave ship Zong under the command of Luke Collingwood set sail from Africa to the Americas. The crew packed too many slaves chained two by two; right leg and left leg, right hand and left hand, each slave had practically no room. There was water deficit, malnutrition and diseases, 7 crew members and 60 slaves died by 29th November. Moreover, the weather was bad and windy. The captain decided that the remaining sick enslaved should be thrown overboard alive to protect the crew, the remaining enslaved and for the ship sponsors to bear the cost. He cooked a story and tossed the enslaved into the sea, some alive. It was painful, inhumane, brutal, cold-hearted, unfeeling, cold-blooded throwing the enslaved over the board. They were brave and courageous.
He applied the law in his favour and tossed 133 enslaved overboard within a period over three days but the enslaved managed and climbed back on board after he was thrown to the sea.
As they wanted to claim the full value of the murdered enslaved it was discovered that his statement that there was water depletion was untrue because the commander had the opportunity to take on water in Jamaica on December 22nd; moreover, he had 420 gallons of water to spare.
The claim necessitated a court case during March 1783 in London about a fraudulent insurance claim. It was not a case about the murder of enslaved. The 132 human beings were goods transported for selling and were treated as such. In March 1807 the slave trade was abolished and 26 years later the British Empire abolished the practice of slavery on 31 July 1833.
Arrival of the Enslaved in Americas
Upon the enslaved arrival in the Americas the crew of slave ships prepared the Africans for transaction. The enslaved were washed, shaved and rubbed in with palm oil to disguise lesions, abrasions and lacerations caused by conditions on board and by whipping. The sick enslaved would be sold first. They were called ‘junk slaves’ and were bought at a low price. The buyers then tried to recuperate them back to strength. If they succeeded the enslaved were sold at a huge profit. There were slave traders in the south who were specialized in this type of reconditioning job. Otherwise, the enslaved were sold to planters or expert retailers by auction and families were split up forever. Some enslaved were sold through advertising via newspapers or negotiation; others were put up for auction for the highest bidder.
Identities of the enslaved were eliminated and were forced to adapt to their new environment, new language and new custom; a process of ‘seasoning’ as it was called and lasted between two to three years. The enslaved had passed through a brutal journey. Many were depressed and the loss of their families back home drove many to suicide. The rest tried to acclimatize them in any way they could although, they were subjected to ruthless punishments.
The purchased enslaved were divided into four categories, the field worker, the domestic servants, those to be trained in skilled professions and hiring enslaved.
An enslaved did not have the right to education, health care, or religious teachings. They were punished and whipped any how and where the enslaved owner felt fit until the enslaved bled. Spouses and kinfolks of slaves were sold to another owner and relatives were left with depressions and hopelessness. The enslaved were forced to work long hours on cotton plantations and domestic duties indoors and they lived in poor conditions.
Progress of the slave trade was due to the triangular trade, agricultural development and industrial upheaval. These prevented freedom of the enslaved because there was business to be taken care of and someone had to do it.
There was enslavement of Indians was also common, but the practice was declining in the Americas by the time of the Insurrection. Indian enslaved could escape and return to their people, but Africans could hardly swim home across the ocean and moreover they had no home to return to. Without someplace to escape, they had no choice but to stay in bondage. In addition, many enslaved owners considered African enslaved to be better workers than Indians. The dynamics changed.
Word spread far and wide in America about the African enslaved and the new business; people became infatuated and wanted more African slave.
1619, First African slave Sold in North America
Charles Town (Charleston)
The first European settlement in North America was founded in 1526 by an expedition under a Spanish explorer. A Frenchman had a colonizing ambitions but nothing came out of it. Spanish missions soon extended the region and remained until the arrival of the English around 1629. In1663 the area was awarded to the King`s eight of his prominent supporters.
The northern and southern sections of Carolina developed separately. The first permanent colony was established in 1670. The government consisted of a powerful council. In 1680 the colony moved across the river to Oyster Point, which was better suited for defence. There the colonists established their capital, called Charles Town, later Charleston, which was to become the chief centre of culture and of wealth in the South.
Life and Rule by Wealthy Colonists
1680s were the beginnings of fortune. Wealthy colonists set up plantations driven by indentured servants and African and Native American slaves. Free slaves, of whom many were former indentured servants, cultivated the 50 acres, 20 hectares of land. Corn, livestock, and some cotton were raised at first, and tobacco was later cultivated. Rice flourished in the marshy tidewater area and soon it became a huge plantation. The forests yielded timber. The fur trade, especially in deerskins prospered. But conflict with the Spanish and French increased.
Several religious groups came freely on the trot and practiced their faith in the colony until the early 18th century. They were Anglicans, the British, and French Huguenots. In 1704, the Anglicans, without opposition from the proprietors, managed to withdraw the other groups of their religious liberty, and it was not until the English government took action in 1706 that religious toleration was restored.
South Carolina the Royal Colony
The colony was divided into North and South Carolina in 1712. In 1715–16 the settlers were attacked by the Yama see, which had become resentful of exploitation by the Carolina traders. The uprising was finally quelled after much loss of life and property. These attacks further revealed the lack of protection afforded by the proprietors, and in 1719 the colonists rebelled and received royal protection. The crown sent provincial royal governor in 1720, and South Carolina formally became a royal colony in 1729, when the owners finally accepted terms.
Conditions for the colonists were now in many respects improved. Pirates such as Blackbeard who had infiltrated the coast had been hanged. In addition the founding in 1733 of Georgia to the south provided a safeguard against the Spanish. Loss of territory and some of the colony’s fur trade to Georgia was a good thing. The vast number of African slaves transported to the colony for use as plantation labour, was invigorated. Germans and Swiss, arriving in the 1730s and 40s, and Scotch-Irish and other migrants from Virginia and Pennsylvania, arriving in the 60s, settled the colony’s lower middle country and uplands.
Up to the early 18th century, it was difficult to acquire African slaves to the United States because they had been sold to the West Indies and it was difficult to acquire African slaves north of the Caribbean. In 1670, Charles Town and South Carolina was established for the African slavery. In Barbados, there were so many African slaves on the sugar island settlement, so they were sent to America. In the late 17th and early 18th century, the South Carolinians treated the slaves as a trade commodity to be exported to the West Indies. So, between 1670 and 1715, about 24,000 and 51,000 Indian slaves were exported from South Carolina. This was more than Africans imported to the United States.
In 1619, the first ever Africans to be sold to North America landed in Virginia. They were treated as indentured servants. A great number of them even became free after having fulfilled a work of contract or for converting into Christianity. Some of them even acquired slaves or indentured servants themselves such as Anthony Johnson.
Originally, African slaves and indentured servants were of the same rank, but as time passed the position of these two groups changed radically. It was a complicated affair. The Europeans had originally relied on European workforce and service. These were the people they labelled, indentured servants. They were to work between four to seven years as free workers and in exchange they would have free passage from Europe to America. It was a very good arrangement but the workers had something else in mind. Once they were freed they became opponents in the commercial market. For these reasons and others, the colonists directed their attention to the Africans in the beginning of the 1680s.
To begin with the Africans had to be acclimatized to the weather and the work but as time passed the Africans became the major source of help. The changes in rank between indentured servants and African slaves were slow but dependable, and unquestionably promising and led the way to the future. They also helped to end the labour shortage in Europe. In 1760 about 1 of every 7 New Yorker was a black slave.
Thousands of African slaves were imported from Africa at once, on massive slave ships. Slavery was not important to small farm owners because, the family could run their farms themselves. Huge crop owners needed slaves and some had hundreds of slaves in the region of Rhode Island, where they had large-scale stock raising and a farm that produced milk and milk products.
At the peak of the slave trade in the 18th century an estimated six million Africans were forced to make a journey across the Atlantic. Over 54,000 voyages were made in the course of three hundred years between the 16th and 19th centuries.
The majority of the slaves were sent to the Caribbean followed by Brazil, and much less to North America. The journey from Africa to North America was the longest.
Women were permitted more freedom than men because they posed less of a threat, and often went out on deck and helped with the cooking. But they were also sexual objects for the crew and captain.
The food was plentiful consisting of yams, biscuits, rice, beans, plantain, and occasionally meat, but the food was of medium quality and served in buckets, one bucket to ten men. The men often quarrelled and some were infected. There was short supply of unpleasant drinking water. Yams were the most common African staple fed to enslave Africans on board ships sailing to the Americas. A ship that took in 500 slaves must provide above 100,000 yams. The ship logs of the slave vessel Elizabeth, bound for Rhode Island in 1754, listed provisions of yams, plantain, cornbread, fish and rice and the slave ship Othello 1768-69, registered hundreds of baskets of yams taken on board as provisions along with lesser quantities of plantains, limes, pepper, palm oil, and goobers or peanuts.
There were not maltreated and no rebellion. The captain had goods to sell so he took good care of the goods because the death of a slave meant money lost. If a slave died, money was lost. There was a ship surgeon who was responsible for their wellbeing. The male slaves were allowed twice a week on deck where they danced to the beat of drums.
Women`s African Slaves Destiny
There were more men than women. It was roughly one African woman carried across the Atlantic for every two men because men could be sold for more in the Americas. Women were in the minority however, as time passed the proportion changed and in Jamaica there were rather equal numbers of men and women. The enslaved people in Jamaica, from the late 17th to late 18th century in Jamaica, around 53 per cent were men but strangely enough, they suffered from diseases resulting in high mortality rate. Men were more disposed to death and diseases than women. The women lived longer. About three 3 to 5 million women were shipped across the Atlantic to keep the men company.
There was a discrepancy because although people paid more for men than women, children born to enslaved women became the slave-owners’ property and that increased their wealth. However, bearing the cost of raising children became problematic so, they preferred to buy fresh enslaved people from Africa. Women who had children, struggled in taking care of themselves, their work on the plantations and their children. During pregnancy, the women had difficulties to maintain the pace of work required by plantation bosses. There were always conflicts because after childbirth, the women needed maternity leave. They had to take care of the toddler, in terms of feeding, bathing, and other things and moreover, they needed good time to recuperate. All these activities brought them into perpetual clash with the demands of the proprietors and bosses of the plantations on which they worked. Thus, the enslaved women in the Caribbean had minimum number of children and moreover, most of the children died young. There were everyday losses of children probably because the work regime for women was too strenuous, and nutrition, inadequate.
In certain plantations in Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, and somewhere else, women received cash payments after birth for one month, as well as gifts at Christmas. But this did not motivate the women to have more children. However, the reductions in labour demands for the pregnant women and women with children proved serviceable and in Jamaica, the slave women with six children were by law excused from hard work after 1792.The law should have worked to increase fertility was rather disturbing because, these African women enslaved, devised ways and means to control the birth rate. They objected to behaviours characterized by casual and indiscriminate sexual intercourse with many people. Thus, on the Barbados plantations, women with large number of children and who gave birth through matrimony and faithful partners were released from workforce. On the Leeward Islands, Act of 1798, they were encouraged to marry in order to increase fertility as a response to population decline and to outlaw polygamy because, that was accepted in African culture. The women were constantly indoctrinated to adopt monogamy, childbirth practices, and maternity hospitals with medical practitioners.
The enslaved African breast-fed the children in two years, but that supressed their fertility and therefore population progress so, they pressured the women to stop earlier but the farmers were unsuccessful in trying to reduce lactation periods because, the enslaved women vehemently objected and defended vigorously. This resulted in numerous conflicts amongst them.
It was suggested that the women who had previously been entitled to light duties should be forced to enter into the newly established traineeship in the cane fields, a sort of rehabilitation. But the women protested. Some of the women, absent from work for two weeks were brought to judiciary officer in Jamaica but in their argument they stated that they had many children, six and ten respectively. They were ordered to light duties; one accepted but the three refused and were sentenced seven days solitary confinement. After their released they refused once more to work and two of them were sentenced again to 14 days hard labour in the house of correction and one was sentenced to ten days solitary confinement. All that the women needed was to take care for their children but chauvinism and jingoism prevailed.
Women slave owners
During the early days of colonisation of the Americas there were more men than women. Irish women and those of loose life in London were transported to Barbados. Rosaline Canot was a Mulatto from Bissau, sailed with 289 slaves. She lived in Liberia and had a connection with Bissau, capital of Portuguese Guinea. She was an active slave trader. In 1815 European women owned 24 per cent of those enslaved in St Lucia. In Barbados 40 per cent of properties with 10 or less enslaved people were owned by women. In Bridgetown, Barbados, women were the major slave owners. They used slaves in domestic work. Rosaline, even though she had one black and one white parent she was involved in selling of slaves. Thus, women also owned the enslaved and built up their own plantations. Others inherited estates from dead husbands and some wives were given enslaved workers by their husbands or by fathers to daughters as gifts. However, there were women slave owners and there were equally brutal and non-brutal women slave owners. Some were characterized as fearful, feelings less, jealous and savages. Some were so sadistic that they enjoyed seeing a woman whipped till the blood trickled from every stroke of the lash. They spit in kettles and pans to prevent the cook from stealing the residual food to their children.
The shocking French Story in African Slavery
It was a shocking adventure for the many voyages for the French to undertake as well as the slaves transported and delivered. The French was involved in the slave trade with small traders in 1540s and brought African slaves to their knees at the Spanish colonies. It quickly accelerated when France acquired their own colony in Saint Dominique, Haiti-Martinique and Guadeloupe in the 1660s through to the 1680s. It was a horrifying enterprise.
The French made 4,200 voyages, transported 1,250,000 slaves and delivered to the French West Indies 1,600,000 slaves. Compared to the British it was 1,500; 300,000 and 500,000 respectively. In that sense the French carried four times as many Africans into slavery than the Americans.
They had not only a head start on Americans but they sustained the slave trade until 1830 no matter the human cost although, their European counterparts had long given up the terrible business. They were unable to see eye to eye with other Europeans and never at any point were, they prepared to abort.
Slavery was abolished in 1807 but France only finally abolished the trade in their colonies 14 years before the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln., and slavery itself was abolished in 1848 throughout the French colonies.
France began as early as the beginning of the 16th century. 200 ships sailed from their ports between 1540 and 1578 to West Africa, destination, Sierra Leone. The slave trade contributed enormously to what one sees today in France and they owe a great deal of gratitude to the Africans who offered their lives for the splendour and the huge profits they gained.
There was a Portuguese rogue who disrespected any conventions to abort the slave trade and who sailed under the French flag as Jean Alphonse. He was one of the pioneers of the Triangle Trade between Africa, the New World and Europe.
France promoted sugar plantations in the West Indies with funds, tribute, equipment and slaves lent from the Dutch. From the help they received they established sugar export centres. The Dutch established the first successful French sugar mill in 1655. By 1670, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Christopher had 300 sugar estates. The French gained monopoly in1664 and it seized many factories from the Dutch in West Africa, Gorée and Senegambia in the 1670s. In 1672, the French government offered to pay a price apiece for slaves transported to the French West Indies. This naturally encouraged the establishment of a second monopoly enterprise, founded, 1673 in Senegal.
The French, after experiencing some difficulties due to incompetence, bankruptcies, and mismanagements, the private French traders in 1720s abandoned the slave controls and the slave trade grew, blossomed and boomed once again under the French.
By the 1760s the average number of huge ships leaving French ports was 56 a year averaging 364 slaves per boat and in 1767 the French was ahead of the British in terms of sugar production for the first time in history.
Conditions on sugar plantations were harsh and the slaves from time to time worked endlessly. Accidents were rampant because of long working hours and primitive machinery. The captives lived in barracks and in poor conditions and they were overworked so, many died. They had limited women thus, families were absent. Contrary to the North American cotton plantations, labour was less aggressive women were just right and they had families. For these reasons, France wanted to adopt the system for steady flow of business. Their workers were dying out because of mismanagement. On the other side, the Americans were managing well and there was a steady population growth.
Nantes was France’s leading slave port amongst many in France.
Late in the 1660, the French settled on the western half of the island of Santo Domingo and in early 1680 their new colony, Saint-Dominique, had 2,000 African slaves. It was the largest sugar producer by 1740s with 117,000 slaves. All in all, the French had 250,000 slaves in the French West Indies. Coffee was introduced in 1723 so, more slaves were needed. In the 1780s, Dominique was the most productive sugar producers in the wild world.
The French West Indian exported sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, and cacao to European consumers. Their exports were greater than the combined exports of the British and Spanish in The Atlantic Slave Trade.
Moreover, the French had in West Africa, permanent establishments at the Senegal River and Whydah in Benin.
The French traders had regular encampments from the Senegal to the Congo and East Africa and were competitors to the Portuguese in Mozambique. The French slaves were dispatched to the French Indian Ocean island colonies to labour on sugar exports with profitable results. In 1679, the Senegal Company provided 227 African slaves for this purpose.
With the growth of the French slave trade, the Africans living in France multiplied and that worried France. So, France propounded some laws to preserve their nation’s racial purity by prohibiting blacks, who married Europeans admission into France.
Brokers in Nantes had another idea; they housed many black men and women in their exotic villas as, négrillons or négrittes to bribe their ways through the system. The black population increased and during the French Revolution there were so many Africans enough to form a battalion in Nantes.
A group of Frenchmen who envisaged the evilness of slavery, condemned slavery but it was of no avail even though, the Africans in Nantes were strong, powerful and influential. There were talks and discussions back and forward but the French did not refrain from slavery or equality.
Nantes was the slave city in 1790. It sent forty-nine ships to Africa and at the same year, Mulattos in Saint-Dominique learnt that their hopes for equality were repressed in the Assembly. This resulted in insurrection and there was confusion and turmoil in the colonies. Thus the leaders renewed the subject of slavery, condemning it.
In Saint-Dominique, 450,000 blacks, most of them slaves, rose against 40,000 whites, mulattoes were about 50,000.
In August 1791, the Assembly declared that anyone who landed in France was free, but for Saint-Dominique, it was too late to be saved because the British had seized the colony.
Saint-Dominique fell, and was baptized with another name, nation of Haiti. The rebellion of the slaves was the only successful slave revolt in history. Meanwhile there was scarcity of sugar in Paris because of the mutiny.
In 1794 the Resolution in Paris acknowledged the universal emancipation of slaves, but the slave trade was not prohibited. However, Napoleon appeared and slavery was re- introduced in full swing.
The French did not regain Haiti although, they needed it badly but the French slave trade was temporarily shut down by the Napoleonic Wars. However, after rebuilding the French royal families the French retained Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana on the South American continent as well as all major sugar-producing colonies.
The British had already taken a strong anti-slavery stand point so; they pressurized the French to do likewise but, the French were insubordinate and stubborn, they diverted their stations. The French filled in the market for slaves in Cuba and Brazil in place of the Spanish who had abandoned the trade as immoral.
Daily Life of Enslaved
There were two types of enslaved, field workers and house enslaved Field Workers functioned from sunrise to sunset and women field workers worked the same hours as men. Pregnant women worked until the child was born and after the child’s birth the woman worked in the field with the child on her back. Field workers lived in tiny huts with dirt floor. It was cold during the winter season and windy but had only rough blankets to cover themselves. There was a gathering on Saturday nights when enslaved from different plantations assembled. The enslaved had to weigh the cotton collected at the end of the day and that meant getting in line for a long time. Food was distributed afterwards.
The minimum amount of cotton allotted to each enslaved per day was 200 pounds. During working hours there was a supervisor with a whip who displayed intolerance and fanaticism. Nobody fooled around them. Children about 12 years old worked as much as adults. The enslaved were off on Sundays when they sometimes fished.
House enslaved lived under better conditions than the field workers. On their free days on Sundays they attended church with the master or mistress. Their daily work consisted in cleaning, cooking, serving meals and taking care of the children. They slept in garrets, spare rooms or corners.
As a chef in enslaved masters house one had to wake up early to prepare breakfast and cleaned up after them. After the work was done they gathered firewood for the next day. A house enslaved had the opportunity to learn how to read and write. It was the responsibility of the house enslaved to wash, iron, clean the carpets, carry large steaming pots for the preservation of fruits, lift containers with cucumbers soaked in brine, open up barrels of flour, sweep floors, dust furniture, hoe and weed gardens, and collect chicken eggs. Infants were taken care of to allow the mistress to be free for some time. Another work of the house enslaved was weaving, sewing of quilted bed covers or other quilted work and whirling linens. It was a tedious work.
Enslaved New Culture (Neoethosm)
The enslaved shared the same language, food, and customs. However, they had to create a culture of their own to communicate with each other, because they came from a wide variety of African culture groups. Many elements from their African cultures were incorporated into the new found African-American culture.
The enslaved brought with them their own culture that encompassed rudiments of their African heritage. They expressed themselves through music, danced and religious performs that were their own and had nothing to do with their slave owners. Often, they would hide messages or expressions in words with double meanings. Thus, they were able to sing songs while working in the field, and send top-secret communications to each other. Music was often heard from the slave quarters around the plantation. Art, and clothing, hair style, resentfulness and anger, various forms of expression, clandestinely, secrecy, lucency, and transparency define the African culture.
The masters used clothing to manipulate the gender identities of black men and women in order to withstand the society of enslavement. Some enslaved used clothing both to survive their captivity and to rebel against it. Others were equipped with two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like the shirts, one jacket, one pair of trousers for winter, made of coarse Negro cloth, one pair of stockings, and one pair of shoes. Others had an overcoat and a wool-hat once in two or three years, and a pair of coarse shoes.
The enslaved, through religion, folklore, and music created a vibrant culture and exerted philosophical influence on American culture. American language is filled with African characteristics such words as bogus, bug, phony, yam, tote, gumbo, jamboree, jazz, and funky have African roots. American cooking is influenced by African ideas. Deep-fat frying, gumbos, and fricassees came from West and Central Africa. American music is based on African traditions.
Sea shanties, yodelling, spirituals and the method used by male singers to sing at a very high pitch by using more air and a combination of vocal cord vibration and head resonance, used by countertenors in classical music–falsetto, were influenced by African customs. The frame construction of houses and production of such crops as rice or sweet potatoes that the English had not previously encountered were influenced by African culture.
The enslaved buried their dead according to African customs and they maintained their sneaky charlatans, proverbs and parables as well as African sacred rites that made use of herbs and paranormal powers. Foods such as rice, sorghum, and okra were all common elements of West African cuisine and were introduced to the Americas as a result of the slave trade.
African deity and Spirits
Mami Wata is an African deity of the water and of excess; she is seen as both a mermaid and a beautiful woman. There are many diverse African native/spiritual traditions, but the most famous are the Mami Water spirits found in numerous states along the western coast of Africa. Thus, Mami Wata is acclaimed in West, Central, Southern Africa, and in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. Mami Wata spirits are generally female, but are sometimes male. She has long dark hair, very light skin and captivating eyes. Because of the light-skinned mermaid-like appearance, it is suggests that she may be based on the West African manatee. She likes expensive, new and attractive things. Red and white are her much-loved colours.
Liberian traders of the Kru ethnic group travelled up and down the west coast of Africa from Liberia to Cameroon and spread their own water-spirit beliefs to standardize ideas in West Africa. Their wealth also helped to create the spirit as one of good fortune. According to local lore Mami Water is a sea goddess, a source of complete prettiness and money. She has also a negative side, she has been known to over-turn canoes and lure victims down to her sea or watery kingdom. Fishermen consider her as sanctified and cannot be talked about openly except after confident formalities.
Across the Atlantic and in certain areas, the slaves had to fight back swamp waters on the plantations they worked. They worshipped this spirit from Africa by dancing and falling into a trancelike state. West African folk tell about persons whose fortunes have changed dramatically when they married Mami Water, the mermaid, but lost everything when they became unfaithful to her. Mami Wata is commonly believed to have foreign origins, and depictions of her have been profoundly influenced by symbols of ancient, native African water spirits, European mermaids and snake charmers, Hindu gods and goddesses, and Christian and Muslim saints.
Crops brought from Africa by the Enslaved to Americas
Slave ships conveyed crops directly from Africa to North America for the enslaved to consume during their transportation to the New World. The crops included basic starches central to the African diet, for instance rice, okra, Tania, black-eyed peas, cassava, yams, and kidney and lima beans. Other crops brought from Africa were peanuts (originally from South America), millet, sorghum, guinea melon, liquorice, watermelon, and sesame (benne). Over time, they became basic component of southern cuisine. Enslaved Africans used the peanut to make peanut pie and peanut soup. They most often boiled it in salt and spices and consumed as a mushy, strong tasting sauce. They also fed pigs with massive amounts of peanuts to fatten them.
Enslaved Marriage and Family
There were two types of slave masters, those who discouraged marriage and those who were against. Those who agreed to enslaved marriage had the notion that their male slaves would not run away. They were less of a “flight risk”. However, the enslaved masters encouraged the slaves to have children in that sense the master would have more enslaved. Those who were particularly fertile were sold at a higher price.
Enslaved weddings were held simple. To declare them man and wife, the couple held hands and verses from the Bible is read although the marriage was not legally acknowledged. They were not taken seriously.
Enslaved from different plantations could fall in love and the owners might allow the couple to marry however, there was no agreement that either of them would not be sold.
“Jumping the broom“ was a part of wedding formality among the enslaved. It represented the official joining of the two as one amongst the slaves. Broom-stick weddings” were first known in Wales. Jumping the broom is a phrase and custom relating to wedding ceremonies practiced in Wales, by Romani people known as “Gypsies.” They arrived in Wales in 1579. The bloom jumping practice had socio-political ramifications and inferences. It was no originated from Africa. A couple jumped together across a broom positioned at their family’s threshold in order to indicate that they had arrived at the residence as husband and wife. Jumping backward across the broom to the other side of the threshold meant the end to a marriage. It was a meant as joke or mockery. Those slaves who did not “jump the broom” formalized their matrimonies in other ways.
When two enslaved was in love they had to confront their masters who act as marriage therapists. The masters would advise them about when and who they should marry. After marriage the slave masters decided when the couple could see each other and whether or not they could live or work together, the outcome of their children and family planning. However, the enslaved had their ways of doing things.
The man asked for permission from the fiancée, her families and their masters and planned how to build a home and live a positive life under the circumstances. Elderly black enslaved in slave quarters acted as advisor especially to the young generation. The wives played important part at home and elderly women were given due respect because of the wisdom they had gained in life. Sole mothers raised their children decently and respectfully.
Enslaved and Master relationship
An arrangement where an individual was bought and sold by another individual for the purpose of enforced labour is slavery. The triangular trade, agricultural development, and the action of production, barred the enslaved from attainment liberty. Money fetching crops such as cotton, rice, corn, hemp, sugar, tobacco, and workforce consisting of people with physical and mental ability directed to work at any place, people with resistance to disease and without payment, and could work for long hours, were the candidates of choice, they were the Africans, and a property. Thus, in the late 1700’s to early 1860’s 4,000,000 people were brought at no expense and transported to the United States to be sold as slaves.
The enslaved were kept on a large plantation equipped with blacksmith shop, farm, cotton storage facility, and the master’s house was on the same property thus, they were always observed. The only place they knew was their quarters to plantation and back again. Houses were made out of wood with one or two bedrooms. Each house kept up to twelve to fifteen people. The bed was made of straw and they lay on the floor. They cooked outdoors and their food consisted of corn mean, salt pork, and home grown some vegetables.
They were either forced to do gang labour, or work under a task system. Gang labour was an agreement where the enslaved left collected, operated collected and returned back to their houses together. Eighty per cent of enslaved worked under this agreement. The task system was made up of particular responsibilities as cooking, child care, and house cleaning. Those who worked under the task system typically had healthier food, better clothes, and quarters. The negative side of the task system was that they were on call seven days a week. Lack of financial means made the slaves dependent upon their masters. This gave the masters an enormous power over them.
A law was passed branded as the Slave Codes. The enslaved were material goods, not persons and were to be treated as such.
The code banned slaves from testifying in court against a white person, making agreements, leaving the plantation without permission, striking a white, participating in the activity of buying and selling, or bartering, goods, own firearms, assemble without a white present, possess any anti-slavery works, or visit the homes of whites or free blacks.
Any break of slave code was punishable by whippings, torture, imprisonment, or the enslaved were sold away from their kinfolk. Owners and their over-seers applied psychological terror to rule the enslaved.
Due to the vicious treatments of enslaved uprisings were rampant and some courageous ones run away to experience the hospitality of the Northern states.
However, few plantation owners were caring. Possessing enslaved was seen as a symbol of wealth, supremacy and high prestige. Thus, the whites wanted to procure one to get rid of their inferiority complexes. Those who could not obtain enslaved propounded a theory that although, they were poor, they were neither slaves nor black, they were whites and their colour motivated them satisfaction in life. They demonstrated racism.
A slave-owner could punish his slaves for a mild offence with extra duties, but then again thrashing and lashing were prohibited. To an escape enslaved, they were kept in chains. There was a curfew at 10pm, no slaves were allowed out of doors unless a slave owner was with them.
Where owner’s thought that slaves deserved severe punishment, they were to report to the Council of Justice. Enslaved, in turn, were to report ill treatment, and although it was debatable whether enslaved fully understood that. The Americans feared mutiny thus, enslaved belonging to different owners were prohibited to meet.
However, the enslaved pursued their delights in betting with dice, cockfighting, fishing, drinking coffee or brandy, and even smoking opium. However, in cases involving bigamy and adultery, Americans were harshly penalized and not the slaves.
Slave names and identity
The Africans sold into slavery were given names by their owners. The Africans new comers were given European names such as Betsy, Sam, Caesar or King George. However, the slaves most often continued to use their African names and passed them on to their children. Some of these names provided hints to places of origin in Africa. Cuffee is a modified form of the name Kofi, of a child from the Akan-speaking region of Ghana and is given to a male born on a Friday. The female alternative is Phibba. Other names of Akan origin are Quashee -Kwasi for a boy and Quasheba for a girl; Quamina- Kwame for a boy and Mimba for a girl; Cudjo for a boy and Juba for a girl. Enslaved children who had European fathers often took their father’s surname. Mostly, the slaves were named after their owner and a lot of them had Scottish surnames.
Captured slaves were given a slave name. Gomes is mainly associated with slavery in Guinea Bissau. The change occurred after the Portuguese reached the region in 1446. The peoples from Casamance were often named Gomes, Mendy, Preira, Correa, Dacosta, Monteiro and Vieira which referred to France slave’s heritage when Portugal lost part of Guinea to French West Africa, including Casamance River region, the Centre of the highest Portuguese commercial interest. : Casamança is the area of Senegal south of The Gambia including the Casamance River. Many Gomes are today French citizens living in France. Others adopted such surnames as former presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson.
Sex between enslaved and masters
Sexual intercourse between white men and enslaved women was forbidden, the American master was deprived of one month’s salary and the woman was sentenced to be whipped and worked in chains for six months. It was unacceptable for a white woman to indulge in adultery with an enslaved man than if a white man did. The enslaved was thrashed and sentenced to work in chains for five years. Those who kept female enslaved company were lashed observed and booked. Sentences were postponed if the enslaved woman was pregnant until after she had given birth.
Enslaved had to carry a pass, signed by the owner with particulars of the mission. Analphabetic slave owners were asked to buy an id from the Company inscribed with names of owner and slave to aid as a pass. Americans who arrested an enslaved without a pass were rewarded by the slave owner.
An enslaved Boss was allowed certain privileges. They were allowed to sleep in women’s section in slave quarters. Other unskilled Europeans labourers or soldiers of the lowest rank were the knechte. They were part of the supervisors. They did not see eye to eye thus, they often disagreed and quarrelled.
Thus, Runaway enslaved was occasionally shot for apparently upsetting women and children. Suspected rape was punished by lynching.
Runaways always had to fear slave catchers. These were men who specialized in pursuing enslaved. Most of them kept dogs and were eager to find a run away. They were engaged by planters who worked solely in enslaved catching. This group of people were illiterate of low standing. They charged per day or per mile which was about 10 to 50 dollars for catching a runaway and bringing him back. Thus, many made several attempts to escape for freedom.
Most of the runaways did not make it to the North or and few made it to Canada where they would be safe. For the runaway slave it was a matter of life and death. Ears were cut; left hand and stomach were branded with a hot iron and the right little finger was cut off with an axe. Some were beaten badly that they died.
The African enslaved rebelled against slaveholders, some run away and others performed small, daily acts of resistance by slowing down work on the plantation.
Slave owners managed to disrupt planned rebellions before any attack could take place. Successful slave revolt in Santo Domingo turned a small island into an independent black region. However, it was extremely difficult to mount a rebellion because the slaves were outnumbered by the whites.
On the whole, the punishment the slave owner would impose on their spouses, children, siblings and parents made many enslaved hesitant of running away.
To run away was a form of resistance. They often run away for a short time. They visited a relative or spouse on another plantation thereby, escaping a severe penalty that had been assured and some because of the toil of the daily life under slavery.
The enslaved were always in search for opportunities to run away. Since they were uncomfortable for their situation, they rebel, destroyed hedgerows, damaged farm equipment, boats, wagons, clothing and other damaging crimes. They committed arson and outhouses, sheds and stalls were destroyed. They also ill-treated livestock and horses, mules, cattle were harmed. They also turned to robbery whereby, sheep, hogs, cattle, poultry, money, watches, liquor, tobacco, flour, cotton, indigo, corn were constantly embezzled.
Some devised psychological methods to work slowly, sluggishly, lazily, uncaringly and idly on the fields. They planted, harvested and weed badly and spoiled rice and sugar harvest. Apart from that many pretended to be sick and came up with many simulations. Headaches and something migraines, recurrent, throbbing, very painful headache, often affecting one side of the head and sometimes accompanied by vomiting or by distinct warning signs, including visual disturbances were often simulated because the master could not prove that the enslaved had no pains.
Many enslaved were afraid of the treatments they received from their slave masters and wanted to escape. They were terrified of being sold away from their kinsfolk and others felt homesick of their spouses on other plantations. They wanted to escape so badly that even slaves, disabled or deficient in some way tried to escape.
An enslaved who attempted to escape or defied the authority of a white person was thrashed and ruthlessly trampled and was cut with breadknives and daggers, attacked wildly by dogs or shot with a projectile. Pregnant women who challenged the power of a white man was heartlessly crushed that they miscarried and disabled. Some were gunshot so; they concealed themselves, applied disguises, obtained free papers and hid out for months.
For the runaway it was easier to run away in towns and cities where there were free black populace. Some runaway slaves who saved small money posed as free blacks and carried forged identification papers could gain freedom by simply moving from one section of a city to another. Even that was difficult to implement.
The Slave Rebellions
The enslaved were aware of their repression and were not happy about it. They attempted every way they could to be free. Thus, there were many revolutions initiated by the enslaved. During the 1600’s alone, there were three failed revolts in Barbados.
The First Slave Rebellion was in 1649. Slaves from two plantations prearranged and revolted because the food given to them was inadequate. This created confusion amongst the slaves especially, after hard working long hours. The condition could no longer be tolerated; they often went to bed tired and without strength due to starvation but they had to produce the following day. This provoked anger and irritation which led to mutiny. Their mutiny was restrained and there were no casualties.
In 1675 a huge slave mutiny was orchestrated. It took the enslaved three years to plan. Each plan was kept top secret, not knowing that there was a female spy amongst them. One day, the enslaved woman leaked out their strategy. Slave owners became provoked and more than one hundred slaves were detained and tormented. Over forty slaves were found guilty and executed. Some of the enslaved, knowing the consequences of their deeds, took their own lives, others were beheaded and some were burnt alive.
In 1692, more than two-hundred slaves were arrested after having been found guilty because of mutiny. More than ninety were executed.
The enslaved born on the islands of Barbados were called Creole. They were more obedient and submissive than the African slaves so, they were made prefects over the African slaves. There was always the possibility of mutiny, it loomed in the air because the African slaves felt themselves severely treated and the new comers felt extremely edgy. In 1816, in Barbados, due to increase in free blacks, slaves and Creole Slaves, there was unrest among enslaved Africans which, began as soon as the slaves were captured. Their defiance took many different forms. Some pigheadedly began to speak their native dialectal to confuse the enslaved; others performed African ceremonies to irritate their masters. Others pretended to accept Christianity but practiced something else. Some choose to run away and others had in mind to poison their masters. Some pretended to be sick and others destroyed tools and machinery.
In 1791, in Haiti, the French and the British were driven out by the slaves and established a first black republic. In Jamaica, some runaway Africans established their own settlements in the mountains. In 150 years the slaves battled against the British and assisted in freeing other slaves. In other Caribbean islands, the slaves uprising were ferocious but it was less threatening in Barbados because there was a well-armed police force. Moreover, places of hiding were out-of-the-way. Jamaica on the other hand had woodlands; and the greater part of the land was overgrown with sugarcane. It was a perfect hideaway region.
The Bussan Rebellion -The Easter Rebellion
One Sunday in April 14th 1816, there was a ferocious mutiny in Barbados. Experienced slaves, including men and women from many estates and plantations, meticulously planned and methodically executed an uprising which spread to almost the entire southern part of the island and, which lasted for three days. It was eventually blocked by soldiers and, Military rule was declared from April until July.
Over 800 slaves were killed during combat and more than hundred slaves were executed.
In 1825, the existing law was changed to, “The Emancipation Act” freeing the enslaved from certain restrictions. It gave the slaves the right to own property, the right to testify in all court cases and reduction of fees charged for manumission, a payment charged to slave owners for liberating their slaves.
Barbados slaves were shipped from numerous clans from West Africa. Some were Eboes, Paw-paws and Igbo. They arrived from El Mina Castle in Ghana.
In the 17th century, in British North America, slaves’ resistance began as soon as the first slaves arrived in Chesapeake. Slavery was forced labour, and the enslaved struggled to be freed because they felt that work was a delight and not mandatory. The enslaved felt that the workload was enormous and plentiful and they were repeatedly punished severely. The slaves became displeasured so, they produced less, faked diseases, broke tools and sabotaged production. These actions irritated slave owners. However, in instances where the salves negotiated with the owner, work went on smoothly.
Another slave resistance was theft. They stole fruits, vegetables, livestock, tobacco, liquor, foodstuffs and money. Hungry slaves wanted to share part of their master’s fortune because they produced it. The slave was the master`s property so, if something was stolen by the slave it was stolen by the master. Thus, that thing was not stolen but merely transferred. The left hand helped the right hand and vice versa.
In 1640, slaves in Maryland and Virginia escaped from their enslavement and multitudes followed. Those escapees were African males who had no knowledge of English and did not know the vicinity. It was a risk taking escapade because the region was marshy and swampy especially, along the Virginia-North Carolina coastal border. However, there were connections with free blacks and compassionate whites who helped slaves on ferryboats to liberty through the Underground Railroad. There were a chain of safe houses that stretched from the American South to Free states in the North and, women and entire families frequently tried to escape.
In the course of the Civil War, many slaves abandoned their masters’ plantations and joined the Union army in what many alleged to be a war to end slavery permanently.
Between 1691 and 1865, there were over nine slave mutinies in what finally became the United States. In New York City it was 1712, South Carolina 1739, New Orleans 1811, and Southampton, Virginia Nat Turner’s 1831 rebellion. There were several other plots in Richmond, VA, 1800 and Denmark Vesey’s, Charleston, SC in 1822. The slaves grabbed weapons, burned and looted properties and killed their masters and other whites. However, the whites retaliated ruthlessly. In this grisliest and gruesome American revolt, Nat Turner and several hundred companions massacred sixty whites. More than hundred slaves were slaughtered, either in the combat or as payback for the mutiny. Additional thirteen slaves were hanged alongside three free blacks.
Nat Turner’s Rebellion also known as the Southampton Insurrection 1831 Nat Turner was born on October 2, 1800, in Southampton County, Virginia. While still a young child, Nat eavesdropped describing events that had happened before he was born. This, along with his keen intellect, and other symbols marked him in the eyes of his people as a prophet projected for some great purpose. A deeply religious man, he seriously avoided mixing in society, and enveloped himself in mystery, devoted his time to fasting and praying.
Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed more than fifty-five people. The rebellion was stopped within a few days, but Turner survived in hiding for several months afterward.
In the aftermath, there was widespread fear, and white mercenaries organized in vengeance against the slaves. The state executed 56 slaves accused of being part of the rebellion. In the state of uncontrolled activity, agitation and emotion many innocent slaves’ people were punished. At least 100 blacks and probably up to 200 were killed by militias and a group of organized crime mobs. Across the South state, legislators passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.
The Underground Railroad was an organization of safe houses and hiding places that assisted runaway slaves escape to liberty in Canada, Mexico, and outside of the United States of America. Because of the confidentiality of the Underground Railroad, written archives of those who took this route to freedom do not exist, nor do the numbers of the escapees. It is believed to have been in existence as early as 1837.
The earliest escapees were attempted by individual slaves thus; they were not organized. They formed the paths and trails that led to the Underground Railroad.
Other slaves, free blacks, and white abolitionists moved escaping slaves along the Railroad routes. It was Blacks, however, who formed the main impetus of the system. Free Blacks were also involvement with the Underground Railroad; they risk their freedom and lives. Black sailors helped slaves to escape to freedom, they stowed fugitives on their boats. The sailors had navigator knowledge thus they provided a link of communication between plantations. The slaves, although illiterate, knew the surrounding area better than owners.
White as well as African-American conductors helped the runaway slaves. In 1780s, members of the Society of Friends, known as the Quakers assisted the runaway slaves. In the 1810s some inhabitants in Ohio also led a helping hand to runaways.
Secrecy on the slaves’ part was the main ingredient that made the Underground Railroad work. Warning signals and escape messages were applied in combination with the Railroad in the form of spirituals, phrases and quilt designs. It was done in such a manner that the continuing threat of reproaches and reprimands could not stop the slaves from singing spirituals. The Underground Railroad was occasionally talked about as the “Gospel Train”. Confidentiality and coded communication was of vital importance and necessary of everyday life. The youngest child was even taught not to repeat secrets outside of the family circle.
In 1700s.the majority of Northern states passed laws criminalizing slavery but the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850 allowed slave owners to reclaim their runaway slaves whether or not the salve had been freed. There was only one choice that was to leave the United States of America. That gave rise to some Underground Railroad stops in Ohio and other free states.
The underground helped the slaves’ places to hide on their escape from America to Canada. Slavery was illegal in Ohio but there were few who opposed the illegality of the slave trade and feared that the freed enslaved would turn back and occupy the jobs of the whites. These people also demanded equal rights for the whites. The nasty whites who disapproved of the Underground Railroad attacked the conductors and others acted as slave Catchers and returned their slaves back to their masters with the aim of gathering recompense money.
In the late 1840s one, Levi Coffin, born October 28, 1798 and died September 16, 1877 at the age of 78. He was a Quaker, abolitionist, and a businessman. Mr Coffin was deeply engaged in the Underground Railroad in Indiana and Ohio. His home is often called “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad”. He was nicknamed “President of the Underground Railroad” because of the thousands of slaves that passed through his care to freedom.
Others, such as John Rankin born February 5, 1793 died March 18, 1886, was another man who dedicated his life in helping the runaway slaves. He was American Presbyterian minister, educator and abolitionist. He moved to Ripley, Ohio in 1822, and became known as one of Ohio’s first and most active “conductors” on the Underground Railroad.
Rankin signalled runaway slaves in Kentucky with a lantern to advise them when it was safe to cross the Ohio River. He gave the runaways shelter and kept them concealed until it was safe to travel further. With the help of his neighbour, John Parker, Rankin conveyed hundreds of runaway slaves across the Ohio River in a boat. These brave just men and many others endangered their lives to help the runaways to freedom.
Many runaway slaves continued on to Canada. At the minimum, eight cities, Ashtabula, Painesville, Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo, Huron, Lorain, and Conneaut, along Lake Erie helped as starting points to transport the slaves to Canada through approximately, the three thousand miles of Underground Railroad trails in Ohio.
“Slave haven” Southern regions of Canada
Southern regions of Canada were the land of milk and honey. During those days, Canada was shaping its own identity. It was cold with arctic temperature unsuitable for farming thus, slave business was not economical but Political and social climate suited the runaway slaves. In 1793, the Governor J. Simcoe freed any slave that entered Upper Canada, Ontario. The Abolition Act specified that a child born to a slave mother would be freed at age, 25 and in August 1.1834 slavery was abolished in the British Empire. But the runaway blacks were not integrated in the communities although it was suggested that Canada was best for runaways as well as those who helped them.
The blacks who settled in the towns of Buxton were well received. South Buxton was a large settlement at the end of the Underground Railroad and even St. Andrew church was built by escaped slaves. A liberty bell cast in 1800 was used to signal the beginning of church service and the bell rang every time a freed slave reached South Buxton in Canada. It was a great help.
Owen Sound is located at the mouths of two Rivers on an inlet of Georgian Bay. St. Catherine in Canada was known as the “City of Refuge. The runaway slaves who settled in these cities received employment and fair wages. There were other cities in Canada where the runaway slaves could settle.
Britain and Transatlantic Slave Trade
Portugal was the first to reach out with its slave ships in 1400s and the English, John Hawkins made the first English slaving voyage to Africa in 1562 during the reign of Elizabeth 1.
Three voyages were made by him over a period of six years. He took over 1200 Africans and sold them in the Spanish colonies in the Americas.
At first the British supplied enslaved for the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in America. The British settlements in the Caribbean and North America developed although; they had series of wars with the Dutch, Spanish and French. The British became victorious and their colonies were protected and secured. They made more than 10,000 voyages to Africa for enslaved and more than 3.4 million enslaved were carried from Africa to the Americas. Portugal carried over 5 million Africans and the total amount of enslaved carried from Africa by the Europeans community was minimum 12 million people.
In 1619, Britain shipped their first enslaved from Africa to their Virginia colony. The first British settlement in the Caribbean was in 1625 and in 1655 Britain had full control of Jamaica.
Britain continued its activities through 1660s and by the 1760s, Britain was the leading European country engaged in the Slave Trade. Of the 80,000 Africans from West Africa chained and shackled and transported across to the Americas each year, 42,000 were transported by British slave ships.
The profit Britain gained financed the Industrial Revolution and their colony on the Caribbean islands became the centre of the British Empire. Sugar was Britain’s most valuable commodity. By the end of the eighteenth century, Britain received from its West Indian plantations four million pounds whilst only one million came from other parts of the world.
Between 1750 and 1780, seventy percent of the government’s total income came from levies on goods from its colonies. The money made on the Transatlantic Slave Trade was enormous, gained by Britain and other European countries involved in slavery and changed their backcloths forever. In Britain they built reasonable huge mansions, established banks such as the Bank of England and funded new industries. The slave trade made a contribution to the rapid exploitation of metal and coal reserves and industrial activity and technological developments. Profits from the manufacturing stimulated the development of communications and experimentation which led to the adoption of new manufacturing techniques, and new forms of power which brought rapid change in industry.
Ship owners built bigger and better equipped ships, huge factories were built. Inventions and discoveries began. There was enough money in funding the Industrial Revolution. Textiles from factories in Yorkshire and Lancashire improved and the output was enormous and great. Fifty percent of Manchester textile produce was exported to Africa and fifty percent was sent to the West Indies. Industrial plants were built to refine raw sugar and factory for the glassware to bottle the rum was mounted. Bristol town and Liverpool town became major ports to handle cargoes and repairs of the slave ship.
Liverpool population grew rapidly becoming greater in size from 5000 to 78,000. Banking and estate developing business profited immensely from traders who borrowed money. Jobs were provided in the factories for average people. Birmingham factory produced guns and many investors bought shares in slave ship. The city profited because of the request for fetters, chains and padlocks, guns, pots and kettles. The factory’s products were cheap and of low quality, the Brummagem ware manufactured specifically for Africa. Birmingham flourished and the city grew and prospered. The factory then turned their attention to another local speciality, the ‘manila’, a brass or copper bracelet used as currency in West Africa
The Bank of England also gained heavily in the slave trade and it became easier for slave traders and plantation owners to control parliament. William Beckford, Britain’s first millionaire was born. He owned over 22,000 acres of land in Jamaica; He and his brothers were MPs thus, the family could use their money to buy seats in Parliament, to corrupt the course of justice and to try to influence public opinion in favour of slavery.
Abolishing of Slavery
Liverpool was the only city that perhaps was involved in the illegal slave trade. In 1750, ten of Liverpool’s 14 most prominent banks were owned by slave traders. In 1787, thirty-seven of the forty-one members of the Liverpool council were involved in some way in slavery. The officials were deeply involved in the trade between 1787 and 1807. Carvings can be seen in Liverpool town hall revealing elephants, lions, crocodiles and African faces.
The city employed more than half of the ships involved in slavery and by the mid-18th century imported annually from Africa more than half of the slaves purchased by all ships in Britain. Liverpool earned in 1783-93 £12,294,116. Which was gained accrued on the basis of 878 voyages and the sale of 303,737 slaves. A large part of the profit was given to a small number of Liverpool men who held both political and economic power. Thomas Johnson was a slave trader who was part owner of slaving ships such as Liverpool Merchant and Blessing. Despite his dishonourable earnings from the enslavement of Africans, he was described as “the founder of the modern town of Liverpool and was the Mayor of Liverpool in 1695 and an MP from 1701 to 1723. Furthermore, he was knighted in 1708. Two streets, Sir Thomas Street and Johnson Street, were named after him.
Liverpool wanted the slave trade to continue so it disapproved the abolition of the slave trade. But abolitionist Thomas Clarkson visited Manchester in 1787 and left with more than 10,000 signatures on his petition. In Liverpool he barely escaped with his life. Liverpool created ways to lawfully trade with Africa after abolition, but it remained sympathetic to slaving interests during the US Civil War.
Bottom of FormIn 1787 a committee of twelve was appointed, including six members of the Society of Friends -Quakers. These men collected evidence about conditions in the slave ship and other complaints and publish pamphlets to encourage the abolishing of slavery. Evangelical William Wilberforce devoted himself to put an end to slavery and in 1807 the slave trade in the British colonies was abolished. It was illegal to carry slaves in British ships but this was only the foundation; the final aim was the eradication of slavery itself.
Wilberforce and his co-workers learned that many people were ignorant of the horrors of slavery and others were not concerned in something which happened thousands of miles away. Wilberforce met oppositions but in 1833 his Abolition of Slavery Act was passed. Wilberforce on his death-bed was informed of the passing of the Act:
“Slaves under the age of six were to be freed immediately. Slaves over the age of six were to remain as part slave and part free for a further four years. In that time they would have to be paid a wage for the work they did in the quarter of the week when they were “free”. Government was to provide £20 million in compensation to the slave-owners who had lost their “property”. This Act marked the beginning of the end of slavery in the New World.”
In Britain, Liverpool and Bristol had firearms, gunpowder, metals, alcohol, cotton goods, beads, knives, mirrors and which were of poor quality made in Birmingham known as “Brummagem ware”, were exchanged for slaves. It was very profitable so; nobody was interested in abolishing the lucrative business. What changed the situation was the awakening of the Evangelical conscience. Men who owned plantations in the West Indies formed a political group which opposed the abolition of the slave trade but the trade was abolished. It was not an easy assignment.
Encounters of the Last Slave
It was early in the morning on May 15th 1859. The weather was disgusting. The chief of Dahomey entered the village of Tarkbar, near Tamale, Ghana, West Africa unopposed. The villagers, including young boys and girls escaped for their lives but those who were caught were assembled in a ruthless manner, lined up and immobilized by the chief of Dahomey. They walked through marshy, messy and swampy paths until they finally reached Whydah, now Benin. They were held in baracoons for three weeks after which they were put up for sale for $50 each.
In Benin, the 110 young people were wholesaled to Europeans and forced stripped on a large ship. They sailed in 1860 and for forty-five days they were subjected to humiliations, brutality, cruelty and thrashings on the ship Clotilde, towards America.
The captain of the ship, after having reached the port at Mobile, America, carried the enslaved on small boats away from the mother ship Clotilde and burnt it. The enslaved from different tribes of Africans were carried in safety somewhere.
Slave trade had been outlawed thus; trafficking of slaves was severely punished in 1808. The African were distributed and Timothy Maher the ship owner, retained 30 of them on his property near Mobile. The young boys and girls brought on the ship Clotilde could not be lawfully enslaved so; they were treated as chattel, personal possessions and six years after the American Civil War.
These young boys and girls were freed and they settled at Magazine Point, north of Mobile County, Alabama, built a community for themselves and named it African town. They created their own tribal community and retained their customs and language. They adopted their own rules and leaders, and established an African Church. Each person worked hard on their farms. The women sold crops, and the men worked in mills for one dollar a day, saved money and purchased lands. Others worked on a steamship.
After the American Civil War, the people wanted to leave America in 1885 but they were denied. At that time they tried to recreate a motherland in Mobile. They continued to speak their native language and applied African gardening and cooking practices, endeavoured to retain their West African values.
Emancipation of the Slaves
The state or condition of being held in involuntary bondage as the property of somebody else is slavery and if an owner sets free his own slave, the performance or the act was known as manumission. Emancipation is the act of liberating slaves by a third party, it is a lawful entity. Emancipation and abolition are not similar words. Abolition, eradication, removal indicates the act of making slavery unlawful. For example, many northern states abolished slavery but did not emancipate usual slaves.
In the United States of America prior to 1760, most anti-slavery emotion in the States was not systematized or organized. The Quakers, with their respect for human dignity turned out to be the first organization to willingly object to slavery. In 1777, slavery was forbidden within the state of Vermont but allowable for gradual emancipation of slaves.
In the United States constitution the word slave did not exist in the Constitution thus, it was a hard nut to crack because the issue was a difficult to solve. It was something to ponder carefully and discussed in detail, especially as part of a formal exchange of opinion and negotiations. There was a rudimentary law that disallowed adjustments of the Constitution’s pro-slavery phrasing before 1808.
Many northern representatives were against slavery and accepted anything written towards that end because the United States was quickly marching toward lawlessness under the Articles of Confederation (a group of states that were allied together to form a political unit in which they kept most of their independence but acted together for purposes such as defence.
Among slavery’s steadfast supporters was John Rutledge of South Carolina. Rutledge was born into a large family in Charleston. His father was Scots-Irish immigrant and also George Mason of Virginia, (1725-1792) whose words of basic American liberties such as, freedom of the press, religious tolerance and the right to a trial by jury, inspired generations of Americans and others throughout the world, fought vehemently to have the law amended.
In the industrialized North in America, anti-slavery laws were being suggested and were gaining recognition in the state houses. It was slow but sure. When the constitutional sanction on the importation of slaves began on January 1, 1808, most of the northern states banned new slaves but current slaves could be held so, by the start of the Civil War, 1861 to 1865, there were still slaves still existing in every state of the Union. The whole concept of emancipation was slow but sure. Slaves, commonly applied as current slaves continued in bondage, but children born after a certain date were freed.
William Lloyd Garrison set forth immediate emancipation in the Liberator. For more than three decades, from the first issue of his weekly paper in 1831 until after the end of the Civil War in 1865, when the last issue was published, Garrison spoke out eloquently and passionately against slavery and for the rights of America’s black inhabitants. This called for the immediate freeing of the slaves with no compensation.
An election was held in 1856. The abolitionist Republican Party was close in being elected as Mr President, but the candidate, John C. Fremont, did not appear on the ballots in southern states. James Buchanan was elected as a minority president. He was the only president from Pennsylvania and the only president who was unmarried and remained a life-long bachelor, and the last President in America born in the 18th century.
By July, 1862, emancipation was on every Republican`s mind. Lincoln had been working for weeks on a document he called the Emancipation Proclamation while Congress was hammering out the Second Confiscation Act. (Repossession acts). On July 12, Lincoln wrote a letter to the Congressmen of the Border States of his intentions, and told them of a plan to slowly untie the slaves. The Congress was approaching a recess and Lincoln did not want these men to find out about his Emancipation Proclamation or Declaration in the newspapers.
On the following day, Lincoln read his Emancipation Proclamation to two loyal abolitionists. On July 17, Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act, which emancipated the slaves of anyone working in support of the Southern government, including the military. On July 22, Lincoln read his Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. This called for universal emancipation in any territory still in rebellion on January 1, 1863, and did not free slaves in territory taken by the United States prior to that date.
Lincoln, flexing his muscles as commander-in-chief to justify the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, he exceeded his authority under the Constitution according to legal scholars. Slavery was legal in the United States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which made the practice of slave trading illegal except as a form of punishment. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continued to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On December 18, Secretary of State William H. Seward, in a proclamation, declared it to have been adopted. It was the first of the Reconstruction Amendments.
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was declared on January 1, 1863 when America approached its third year of bloody civil war. It stated that unless the Confederate states agreed to join the Union, their slaves would be freed in other words, that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states were to be freed. It was the beginning of a long battle to abolish slavery.
The Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways because it applied only to states that had withdrawn from the Union. During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. Thus, the Proclamation was leaving slavery untouched in the loyal Border States. In the context of the American Civil War, the term border states referred to slave states which did not declare their withdrawal from the United States before April 1861.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, millions of Americans were touched. The Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors fought for the Union and freedom.
From the first days of the Civil War, slaves acted to secure their own liberty. The main explanation for the origins of the American Civil War was slavery, because of Southern anger at the attempts by Northern antislavery political forces to block the expansion of slavery into the western territories.
The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their determination that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically.
As a milestone along the road to slavery’s final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom. Thus, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States.
Death of Slavery, Birth of Racism
For 400 hundred years ago Africans underwent a transformation .Tens of millions of Africans from the Mende, Ashanti, Ibo, Yoruba, Krumen, Awikan, Mandingo and other tribes were chained and thrown into the dungeons in slave forts on the West African Coast, of Africa known as Ghana.
These young men, women and children were forced to walk for 1000 miles, shackled and whipped. Only some survived. Mungo Park, the Scottish explorer to Africa even mentioned a woman named Nealee, who was sick and could not walk, was to be sold. She was mounted on a donkey that but the donkey threw her off injuring her leg. In the end she was left by the road to die.
European slavers kept Africans in cages. They were naked, branded, and subjected to brutal and humiliating inspections. Rape was commonplace. Catholic bishop even sat in a chair in the Congo and baptized slaves in chains who were about to sail on slave ships.
In 1757, Africans on the coast attacked several slave ships in the harbour and freed the slaves and in 1759 on the Gambia River 80 Africans rebel against a slave ship. They stopped when the wounded captain fired his gun into the ammunition room but the ship exploded.
From the coastal forts, the people were packed into ships, chained to racks that were sometimes only 18 inches apart. The closeness of the place, the heat, and the crowded people was so much so that they nearly suffocated “Gustavo Vasa”
The Africans were chained and forced to lie in their own waste. They were handed rotten food and whipped if they refused to eat and in some teethes were broken. Epidemics of dysentery and smallpox swept the ships. Women suffered from rapping by the crew of the ships and a third of the prisoners died at sea and others crippled.
The slaves seized every opportunity to fight for their lives. On the ship Don Carlos, when the crew was weak with disease, the Africans attacked the crew with knives made from pieces of iron they had torn off our forecastle floor. But the crew fired at them with firearms and guns.
In 1701 a white crewman reported that during a shipboard revolt, 28 Africans were killed others were tossed overboard.
In 1727 a British captain tried a more gentle method. For nine days he fused with the Africans at meal. He sat on the deck and ate with them out of small bowls. On the tenth day he was brutally beaten with the little tubs.
In 1730 some 96 Africans on-board the Little George got out of their chains and overpowered the crew. Armed crewmen hid in a cabin, but the rebels put guards on the door and kept them lock up while they sailed back to Africa in nine days.
In 1732, Africans on the ship William, killed the captain, set the crew loose and returned home.
In 1841, Madison Washington led a mutiny on the Creole sailing from Hampton Roads, Virginia to New Orleans with 135 slaves. Nineteen Black slaves seized the ship, sailed to the Bahamas, where they were given asylum.
The root of slavery and Racism
Around 414 B.C. the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, favoured slavery and was self-reliant that Greek culture could not endure without them. In Greece the slaves were honoured. A male slave was priced higher than a female and less to a boy. The Greeks had the opinion that slavery was important to life consequently; a slave was allowed to marry and had a family. Good slaves were rewarded for their honesty but dishonest slaves were harshly punished.
Many of the slaves were engaged as sous-chefs, clothes washers, caretakers, cleaners, escorts, messengers, nurses, companions, teachers and tutors. The slaves in fact, solved problems that might destabilize the Greek society. Thus, they were very serviceable and a few number of the woman slaves lived in the Kings palace. Obviously, they were good-looking, gorgeous, tantalizing, attractive and eye-catching. Not only were they beautiful but they were also serviceable. They grinded wheat and hard kernels of nutrients plants and they whirled and weaved. They were ranked from the lowest to the highest according to the quality of their labour.
Spinning and weaving was part of the woman`s role. Raw wool was shaved from sheep for the manufacturing factory. The manufacturing of textile was time consuming because it involved long trips and labour intensive activity which, consisted of pilling of animal hairs to fine material. There was division of labour amongst the slaves. The men worked on the farms.
The women slaves who entered the palace were subjected to formalities, prearranged to place them under the safety of the goddess of hearth. Accordingly, there was closeness between master and slave. It was assumed that Odysseus, following twenty years of absence, his two faithful slaves Emails and Philoitos hugged him, placed their arms all around him and caressed him on his return to Ithaca. They were so close that the slaves who worked at the palace were often buried in their family burial areas and at the side of their masters and mistresses. As a result, the slaves accepted submissively the conditions in which they were given to live. On the other hand, various Greeks treated their slaves differently, they were little harsh.
It was different from one family circle to the other. Slaves were protected by the law against violence and torment however; starvation and whipping were imposed on those slaves who did not behave well. Escapee slave was branded with burning iron if captured. The slaves and their masters were so close to such extend that some slaves submitted fractions of their pay to their masters. Slaves with other skills were engaged and waged well. The slaves accepted that they had to experience downfall before they overcame it and felt under the conditions without a glitch.
High-class people were often noble because they maintained their civility. Evil people they said, had immorality, sin, wickedness malevolence and meanness in them because they had nothing to defend or maintain.
In Greece and in the 8th century B.C, the slaves were mainly imported from Thrace (Bulgaria, Turkey), Scythia (Ancient nomads, Iran), Illyria (Albania, Montenegro, southern Italy), Colchis (Georgian state), Syria, Caria (origin unsure-Asia Minor) and Lydia (Western Asia Minor Region, Provinces of Turkey-Izmir). They were generally obtained by piracy, kidnapping and combat.
In the 17th century B.C., each resident had at least one slave. The poorest of the deprived Greek had even a slave. They were of the opinion that an ox and a woman slave were all that was necessary in a farmer’s existence.
The worth of the slaves was wide-ranging. Educated slaves, as well as those with special skills, appearances and attraction raised more cash. Those, who were uneducated, unskilled and inexperienced, were valued less. Those with managerial abilities were most esteemed. In Greece, some of the slaves were privileged because; they were owned by the community. They were panel of adjudicator clerks, public notaries, road menders and currency testers. Some functioned together with Athenian citizens in building, contracting business and others kept organizations in Athens. The slaves who worked hard, painstakingly and conscientiously were described as “living separately”.
There were no clashes amongst the slaves and the Greeks because; they were engaged in high-ranking jobs such as executives of shops and factories. A number of them even became prominent bankers, captains of trading ships, legal officers and artists. One even became the wealthiest man in Athens. At times, the slaves felt that people of the lowest societies in Athens considered themselves more superior and more developed than the high ranking slave, and that disturbed the slaves.
The slave population grew in Athens and on the average Athenians owed two or three slaves, rich citizens possessed ten to twenty slaves. Nicias, one of the richest men in Athens possessed 1000 slaves in the 5th century B.C. He leased them out. Overall, there were over 400.000 slaves in Athens in the late century B.C. Its occurrence was not an industrial accident of history.
The slaves never revolted but tried to fit into the strict living conditions of Athenians. Whatever the matter, the slaves kept silent and hoped that they would be treated as adroit members of the Athenian community. They waited patiently because they knew that time would curb the Greeks in adhering to reasonable ideology.
The slave business alienated groups of human beings into races which was woven into the framework of civilization and produced intolerance and split ups amongst Mongoloid and Negroid people as well as Indians, Vietnamese and many others. Accordingly, racial discrimination was unpredictably based on the visible external quality that individuals had produced. The description, black man, white man, is narrow-minded, antique and a historic term rather than quality of persons and various human races.
In 18th century, racism was cost-effective to a group of European countries. The merchants who sailed to Africa had a dream to attain treasures, properties and possessions. Once they gained their profits they classified the Africans as poor. Their ill-informed and ill-mannered traditions thickened into a conviction and ideologies to give good reason for their deeds because, they were aware of the hurtfulness and how it affected society.
Darwin’s information on the subject of development, even though mistakenly interpreted, gave Westerners logical good reason of truth of prejudice. Folks misinterpreted his assumption that Africans could not continue to exist because they could not survive on earth.
Black People and Caucuses
The Blacks occupied southern Russia as well as the Black Sea Region since 2000 B.C.: They dominated the region. The Caucasus Mountain stretched for over 500 miles between the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. The region formed natural barrier between Asia and Europe. On the northern plains was Russia and the mountain regions of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan formed the southern border. The Greek slave trade activities had its origin in the region.
The Caucuses was divided into three areas, the central, western and eastern regions. The people were albino mutants who migrated from Africa.
There were many people in their society with leprosy, an infectious disease causing painful white patches on the skin. However, a Caucasia race with blonde hair, blue eyes, and alabaster skin was highly desirable. Because of their albinism, most of their relatives vanished from the society to the northern regions to avoid segregation.
Second part of the eighteenth
In the second part of the eighteenth century, slavery was beginning to fade in America because farmers began to plant crops that did not require labour-intensive work. Thus, many slave owners freed their enslaved. One was sure that slavery would die out totally. However, in 1793, Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin, a method for processing raw cotton. This was a revolution because one person could process fifty times more cotton in a day than earlier. It made cotton business a colossal money making crop. This necessitated speedy replacement of numerous crops with cotton, and slavery became embedded again until its abolition.
Post Slavery African Race issues and Interpretations
The African race was dehumanised and used as slaves, hence they were called “Black cattle”. This Africans were thought of as sub-standard race, the consequence of which is seen in everyday racism. In terms of labour, it was not defined by racial divisions. The arrival of the voluminous amount of Africans on the sugar plantations in America changed everything. Jobs became divided on racial lines whereby blacks were allotted certain kinds of jobs. The slaves were now characterized by colour, black slaves instead of field or house slaves.
The slave masters, in the course, began to review their perceptions and opinions as well as white Americans. The idea was quickly transferred in bylaw and legitimate organisations, that a black man could only be allocated certain jobs and the whites certain jobs. Americas slave plantations brought a whole new concept about race which was to survive after slavery, racism. The slave trade was the genesis of processes that denied humanity its rightful place, delivered countless victims and distorted interpretations and misunderstandings.
During the slave trade, the slave was non-person, a cargo, a chattel, a thing, an object to be donated and inherited, buy and sell product. The slave was black, unacceptable by white society. The white preserved a parting and restricted the blacks’ right of entry to the regulation, to possessions, to certain relations with white people. The whites acknowledged their role and maintained these racial orders with glory and ensured that whites remained on top. This resulted in a condition whereby the blacks were pushed to the bottom of the humanity ladder. Whites everywhere internationalised this grading, and created a permanent authenticity believe, trust and realism in their grey matter that had remained irrevocably ever since, the racialism of slavery.
Slavery was thus, the critical strength in the invention of racism in the western world. The legacy of those concepts lived on and endures. Thus, what seemed to be a past story, the slave trade, has been recharged and has formed the basis of a difficult historical progression whose results continue to echo throughout the modern world.
As a matter of fact, these groupings have determined the way and manner in which we have to behave towards each other. All of us have to enjoy the essential rights regardless of race, faith, belief, religion, country of origin or political persuasion, but it does happen when it concerns people of colour. Westerners are educated to accept as true that it is their birth right to enforce their traditional domination no matter how ruthless and far-off the practice. .
The word “scramble for Africa” in connection with colonization of Africa was a metaphor, a symbolism. Scramble in this sense may mean a hasty, undignified, or disorganized struggle for something or in order to do something, hunt for something, gold, treasure hunt. They applied the words with a sense, reason and sagacity. Europeans started to rush into Africa, the Dark Continent devoid of light. It was time for the European explorers and missionaries to bring light unto the continent, it was unknown, has not been explored. And the continent was covered with light, Africans could see. European explorers, missionaries, and military men brought European politics, culture, and confusion unto them.
The Europeans had no idea that more than eight-hundred languages are spoken in Africa and that Africa had had ancient tradition of music, arts, and stories, long history of power, rule, wealth and developed empires. That the Europeans did not know.
Africa was one of the earliest people who practiced democracy centuries ago. The exercise originated from the oral tradition. In a dispute, the elders sat under a tree to deliberate until they came to some agreement. Everyone took turn to express his or her opinion. And having heard both sides of the issues, a decision was rendered. But this practice was misinterpreted as senseless exercise.
Racism in Society
Racism has 3 main reasons and grounds
1) Racism is an intolerable approach to black people by white people and this sometimes leads to viciousness and wickedness. The process is not a matter of hate or like, it is indifferent, showing of no care or concern for or interest in black people. In certain instances, the process is dependent on the activity and appearances of the black person.
2) Racism against the black people is more common than we think. Should the blacks live separately from white people, racism would abate. This will prevent any taboos and will safeguard their prominence and wellbeing.
3) Racism is a money-oriented occurrence.
It originated from slavery and it exists today as a means of separating the blacks, natives, immigrants and refugees from the whites. These are the groups more likely to be deprived.
Racism is discrimination against black skin colour people which solidifies them substandard to whites. Their black skin was also looked upon as the opposite of Christian “lightness” and “whiteness”. Imperialism which laid the foundation for capitalism was dependent on racism in order to exist.
Greeks and Romans had no idea about race because their slaves were mixed, black and white; however, the majority of slaves were white but emergence of racism first appeared in the 16th century with the start of the slave trade.
The divide into races was to stress that Africans were a sub-standard race. Thus, the rich and famous and powerful baselessly, unfeelingly and conscientiously pressed the blacks sideways to accumulate material wealth. By the 17th century, racism had become a recognized, structured and thorough exercise that replaced slavery.
Under the involvement of slave trade abolitionists and the decline of the slave trade racism began to deteriorate but Empire-building, expansionism changed all that in 1840s and has remained ever since.
Racial intolerance became the socio-political reason of free enterprise`s to triumph over African and impoverish countries, loot their wealth and manipulate the inhabitants.
Alternative form of racism emerged due to expansion of capitalism in England. Foreign workers were needed in industrialized European countries and in America and after the World War 2, immigrants from the West Indians, Asians Ireland, Greece, Turks, India, and Pakistan provided workforce to Britain and Germany.
Racism also arose due to Anti-Semitism – policies, views, and actions that harm and discriminate against Jews based on religious grounds during the middle ages. Racist persecutions replaced religious persecutions in Europe in the 1890’s. Jews were identified as capitalist and parasites but most of them were hard workers.
Jim Crow era was from 1890 to 1940. During this period there was prejudice against the African Americans. Masses of African Americans were battered, slaughtered and terrified for balloting and taking prescribed education. Execution of the black population by lynching was widespread and black people were hanged for insignificant reasons. The phrase “Jim Crow Law” appeared in 1904.The origin of the phrase “Jim Crow” is attributed to “Jump Jim Crow”, a song-and-dance caricature of African Americans performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface in 1832, and was used to ridicule Andrew Jackson’s general policies. “Jim Crow” had become a harsh expression meaning “African American” by 1838, and from this the laws of racial segregation became known as Jim Crow laws.
Jim Crow laws included segregation of public schools, public places and public transportation, and the separation of restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains for whites and blacks as well as the United States military.
With the white supremacy challenged throughout the South after the end of slavery, many whites sought to protect their status and ego by threatening African Americans who exercised their new rights as free people. White Democrats used their power to isolate public spaces and facilities in law and re-establish supremacy over blacks in the South.
A Jim Crow law was a creation of the Democratic South. The laws were a major factor in the Great Migration during the early part of the 20th century because, opportunities were extremely limited in the south and the African Americans moved in great numbers to northern cities to seek for a better life.
However, African Americans fought for the United States of America in World War I and World War II. Their services led to the fusion of the US Armed Forces in July, 1948. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination in employment, labour unions and public accommodations and at the onset of this movement, Martin Luther King Junior conveyed his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from the steps of the grand Lincoln Memorial. Political and economic rights were granted to the blacks. In 2000, there were 8,936 black office holders in the United States. According to Forbes magazine, Oprah Winfrey was the richest African American of the 20th century.
Racism against Africans has denied them their opinions, pasts and traditions. Black people have lost their culture and identity and they seek to outdo their oppressed condition by becoming something.
Some of the blacks yielded to pressure by obeying to be called names such as “Sambo” in order to survive and to ensure that they would succeed in completing their courses in education. The young generation more distant from all these sacrificed themselves to achieve citizenship with the idea to acquire peace, proudness, security and some sort of Europeanism and to build a shield around themselves that would for the meantime denounce their African citizenship and thereby assume European status.
Today, the black community live in an era when legal segregation, colonialism and apartheid have been undone and racism somewhat abating than it was in the fifties however, it is still on-going. In a mountainous town of Oppdal 2008, Norway a country full of racism, and where blacks are very few and the inhabitants has little contact with Africans.
The local church leader was under sharp criticism after he prevented a pastor, who originally comes from Sierra Leone, from participating in several funerals because relatives did not want a black skin pastor to have anything to do with their dead relative. The Pastor JM was told by local residents, that people like himself, “don’t fit in Norway” and he was physically and verbally abused.
JM received sick leave because of stress and he was afraid to return to his duty because they would continue their discriminatory abuses.
A woman comes in with her toddler to visit a Nigerian doctor in his office for a routine check-up in Norway. The black doctor had studied medicine in Norway. The next few days a picture of the black doctor appears in the front-page of a newspaper, reporting that the doctor had failed to identify a hole in the toddler’s heart after the woman had a second opinion, and that nobody should visit the doctor again because he was a bad doctor.
In the western white societies a well-educated grown-up and experienced black doctor is put under a very young inexperienced student doctor, from whom he has to take instruction. It is a taboo and against the medical profession.
The pointing of fingers at a black man in Switzerland, the queuing of vehicles to sight and point fingers at a black man during the fifties, the constant name callings of the blacks with funny nicknames names such as Sambo, darky, blackie, sitting on an aircraft alone because nobody wanted to sit near you, sitting on a bus with a spare seat when the bus is crowded, a black man has to produce twice as much as whites to be accepted and many more, white parents encouraging their children, who finger point the black man on the streets as a circus clown in a crowded public over a generation in Europe have minimized, but the scars of degradation remained.
In Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand, they consider the dark skin as poor and the white skin as rich. Although, a prime ministers in Thailand was at some point in time dark skinned, whiteness of the skin is more preferred because nobody wanted to be perceived as poor. People were more likely to pay attention to a white skinned than a black skinned because they are less of a person. The whole of Southeast Asia embrace the same view.
In the olden days dark skin was associated with people who worked in the fields under scorching sun and they were also known as the poor. The upper class stayed indoors and in the shade. Asian countries looked down on dark skin not because of racism but because nobody wanted to be perceived as poor.
It has been pointed out that the African-American black people as a group are unprepared of being admitted to elite white institutions. They would be uncomfortable in a nice restaurant and undoubtedly did not know what wine was drunk with chicken. The black man could not compete with their white colleagues; they were trapped by their “defeatist thought patterns.”
Psychological effects of racism within the Black community are stress related; abuse, because the society dismisses their value as individuals. They alleviate this by excessive cigarette smoking, poor eating habits feelings of depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, hypertension, cardiovascular reactivity, and neuroendocrine responses poor immune system and slower rate of healing as a result of stress and comprehension. Racism also results in many forms of emotive and somatic symptoms, such as irregularities of heart beats, diabetes, increased discharge of urine, kidney problems, skin rashes, minor gaps in memories, ambivalent with mixed, uncertain, or conflicting feelings about things, am-bi-tendency, tangled, speechlessness, headaches, sleeplessness, stomach aches, horror, hopelessness, uselessness and separation of allied mental processes such as emotion and understanding from the rest of the mind as a defence mechanism .
Many transfer their stresses and anger caused by racism unto the households and the results are often family breakdown and a loss of individuality and uniqueness. In particular, the children and the youth are the main sufferers. Parents are unable to cope with the situation and the dynamics of the family is transformed into rubbles. Dealing with this phenomenon is difficult and they merely muddle through. However, common sense teaches us that, humans have common attributes that allow them to be categorized as humans but, different in petty aspects such as colour, weight, height, culture and other unspecified matters.
As a result of psychological stress some parents are unable to successfully deal with the problems of their children at school. Some children abstain from telling their parents about their problems because they are afraid, others simply walk away because they do not want to tell lies, they withdraw into their own self in order to uphold the parent-children relationship. Due to racism and its consequent bi-product of stress, some parents become isolated from work-related social activities in their workplaces because of disparaging atmosphere.
Ideas have been created by the whites that blacks are poor, drug addicts and purposeless thus, the young black generations are harassed to a point that some live up to the expectation of what the white man expected them to be although, many of these boys are harmless in intensions.
Waking up in the mornings to go to a workplace they dislike presents mental agonies and disinterests. It affects their psychological wellbeing and most of them develop low self-esteem and others turn to medications- tranquilizers and self-destruction.
The blacks face multilevel and multiparous problems because depression due to racism. They have to depend on Community support, educational support, financial support, and lack of professional and other complex concerns, experienced daily, make black people feel undignified.
At Schools, the education system quickly brand black students as inactive, removed from their thoughts, and are assigned to psychological tests. These labels have deep and reflective consequence on children. These result in isolation, and the students are worried because of exogenous pressure.
The teachers are often one sided because their mentality is tuned to the perceptions that the black race children lack particular qualities, elements, or ingredients, especially one that is expected or necessary. Black parents have the opinion that their children come home from schools far less skilled than when they entered, denoting incongruences in the school systems. Some of the black children work hard but they most often receive lower ratings than the work they have invested in, thus, they are stressed. Identifying stresses in black children has been blinded by stereotypic ideas of dormancy in the black race thus, unnoticeable at white schools systems.
Immigrant African Children are put back two to three classes lower than their ages when entering a new Western schools with the diagnosis, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) because of boredom although, they have completed the curriculum way ahead of them and teachers would not listen to reason because of narcissistic ideas.
Frequently, the black single mothers, who are not informed about the education system and their rights, are often regarded as lacking the learning that is usually acquired in schools, unaware, uninspired, boring, lacking vividness or brightness of hue, uninterested, dull, ignorant, unmotivated, and detached.
The Police Force from time to time pursues and pitilessly attacked the black youth when they walk the streets in their locality or hang out with their friends, simply because being black is routinely interpreted by the police as being part of a gang involved in the drug trade.
Blacks are treated differently on buses by the public when they travel to and fro and are watched closely to see if their bus tickets are valid and the public would not sit near a black youth in a bus because he might be holding a knife or a gun. These perceptions lead the black youth into frustration and stresses.
Thus, all along racism has been a set of ideas that constitutes one’s goal, expectation and actions, physical and notable process of arranging persons into classes and social layers by which the peoples of European descent, through its individual and official offer to conclusive changes in national standing in ways that favours the whites.
Within the ego, the blacks had given up all hopes, what is left of them is the challenge of being better than their white counterpart. In doing so, they work ten times as much, they overwork, and others give up and take up simple menial jobs or nothing. Since sportsmen are well paid many direct their attentions to athletic and sporting. Blacks that visited health care facilities were not given the same quality of care as whites. Some black patients were allowed to die, children were neglected, and women often had their babies in trucks on the side of the road.
Vital Implication of racialist structure
In the last 30 years, the black family has melted considerably than it did in the entire 14 decades since slavery because of racialist structure. The gap between the black community and the white is widening despite the growing number of rich brides and grooms. Unemployment is high, from 8.1 percent to 10.4 and nearly two million black males are either presently in a state or federal prison or have been at one time. Nearly 17 percent of Black men had had jail involvement in 2001 compared with 7.7 percent of Hispanic men and 2.6 percent of white men. These issues have weakened the black municipal. Drugs and AID has decreased the marriageability of black men, and 1 out of 10 black man, 10% are marrying non-black women. Thus, there is in an interracial marriage bang.
Black men and women have today different expectations of marriage. Black women believe that marriage is committing; black men do not attach much significance to stability. Thus, there is an increase in tension between black males and black females and scepticism among young black men and women, a schism, a major split within an established religious denomination, usually on the grounds of differences in belief or practice, leading to the setting up of a separate breakaway organization, or the immorality of causing such a split.
Many today, put more get-up-and-go in theatre and games than relationship because they consume more time than existence itself.
The soul moves itself with a sense of purpose and it is divine.
Racism results in discrimination, apartheid and ghettoization which lead to isolation and loneliness and deny the blacks opportunities to recognize them.
Racism and violence impact the blacks physically, mentally, in their social health and well-being. It also affects groups, families, communities, workplace, schools, offices, in shopping centres, in the transportation systems, on the streets, in theatres, public and open places, and gives rise to clash between parents` and children, and between husbands and wives.
Destiny of Africans in Britain
A British pioneer and an English Slave Trader from 1554 to 1555 sailed with three ships to the Caribbean via Sierra Leone. The man hijacked a Portuguese slave ship and sold 300 slaves in Santo Domingo. On his second voyage in 1564, his crew captured 400 Africans and sold them at Rio de la Hacha, the present-day Colombia.
In his third voyage he bought slaves from Africa and captured a Portuguese ship with its cargo and sold all the slaves in the Caribbean.
Those who arrived in Britain functioned as domestic servants. Some were trained as translators to help develop trade relationships between Africa and Britain. Great Britain’s participation in the slave trade grew and additional blacks landed in Britain. But prejudice, preconceptions, fixed ideas and racism made life impossible for the African.
Around 1596, African slaves and free blacks sailed to Britain. This provoked Queen Elizabeth I so; she banished all Africans from England in 1601 because they caused social problems. The Queen did not succeed because the Africans were English citizens.
Many of the Africans were at liberty and some of the slaves were owned by well-off and influential people who had lust to hang on to their servants.
Around 18th century, 15,000 Africans lived in Britain, many of whom lived close to the ports of London, Liverpool and Bristol.
In 1772, it was a crime to deport an African in Britain back into slavery. The British were fed up with them and did not want the Africans. In 1731, there was a ruling that disallowed blacks to learn any skills of trade. The blacks became disadvantaged and because of unemployment they begged on the streets of England. Some were lucky because they found work as servants. The Africans were blamed and held responsible for the difficulties England was facing.
The problem became unbearable to everyone and the Africans were resettled in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
The slave trade was finally abolished and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. England needed raw materials for its factories. Africa was the only region Britain could obtain raw materials, workforces and customers.
In the beginning of the 20th century, there was a boom of black people from the West Indies to Britain in search of work as well as black sailors who sought for work at British ports. Nobody employed them, their lives became wretched, miserable and they faced poverty. Their miseries continued.
During World War I. there were limited blacks in Britain. Even though the British law disallowed blacks to participate in the fighting, they worked as crew members in the navy. Some blacks worked in manufacturing works and delivered their services needed for Britain in the warfare with the hope that Britain would accept them.
But after the war, countless blacks lost their jobs instead. Redundancy was high, causing public unrest so; England put the blame once again on the blacks because of financial difficulties. In 1919, there were racial disturbances in Liverpool, Manchester and other cities in Britain.
The blacks felt themselves betrayed, mistreated and discriminated so, they formed political and educational organizations, the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) to improve the wellbeing of blacks through lawful and diplomatic means.
A movement, Pan-Africanism promoted togetherness of Africans in the fight for liberty and fairness. They published newspapers, the African Times and Orient Review and The West African Student Union established in London sponsored the study of African history and culture.
After World War II, many blacks searched for work in the factories, as soldiers and sailors. Some African immigrants got to Britain via a British war ship. They became very miserable in Britain and had to sleep on corners of streets. They were often rubbed, beaten and molested. Some lay unconscious on the streets of Liverpool for many days. One African woke up, hungry and week but he put up courage and approached a navy ship for a job. The navy was familiarized with the blacks. Fortunately they needed a cook because the former cooks were all drunken addicts and the African was an “out hold” man. He disliked alcohol.
The African got the job but his only fears and complains were that the other navy cooks would not obey him as a sous-chef but, they obeyed the commands of the African because the cooks were in the navy. He worked in the ship until his days end.
The blacks experienced hardships in the hands of the Englishmen. Although the Africans helped Britain during the Second World War thinking that it was in fact, war against racism and fascism, they were wrong. Colonialism did not stop, they were not treated otherwise and their conditions did not improve. They helped the Englishmen and fought in the war for nothing.
In 1941, England signed the Atlantic charter which stated that all nations had the right to self-determination and in the 1960s, many African countries gained freedom from British colonial rule.
Post War Blacks Immigration in Britain
Legislation was formulated that prevented additional blacks from entering Britain. The Commonwealth Immigrants Bill of 1962 and the Immigration Acts of 1968 and 1971 restricted the entry of colonial subjects, including those from Africa.
Due to the law, Africans organized cultural events in England. It proved fruitful. Today, more than two million blacks live in Britain including people from the West Indies, Africans and children born to blacks.
However, the Africans and other blacks contribute socially, culturally and economically to the strength of Britain and, population census revealed that the African population in Britain is more highly educated than the general white population. 26 percent of the black population have had at least some college education contra 13 per cent of the British white population.
A British footballer, Arthur Wharton, was born in modern day Ghana. He became Britain’s first black professional footballer.
Mass immigration continued in the 1950s, and there was racial violence and prejudice in Birmingham, Nottingham, west London and many areas. Kwame lived at 137, College Road Birmingham. He rented an apartment from Mrs Smallwood was fun of the blacks. Although, there were demonstrations everywhere Mrs Smallwood kept the blacks safe to which they were grateful. Around the huge apartment building of Mrs Smallwood were white parcel houses belonging to the whites. One by one the whole neighbourhood evacuated from the area, and left their houses. Many blacks got employment as bus conductors together with the Irish. These Africans were brought up in the spirit of Britain, a country they worshiped and adored but there was riot and segregation everywhere. Legislation permitted people from the British Empire and Commonwealth rights to enter Britain. But the immigration laws were made harder with restrictions. By 1972, children born to white families in former colonies of Britain could enter but their black counterpart could not. The laws were cantankerous, one-sided and in favour of the British.
Census in 1970 revealed that the black children were around 1.4 million, a third of these children were born in the United Kingdom. In 2007 the Black British population was estimated at 1,448,000 compared to 1,158,000 in 2001.
In 2007 there were 283,000 people in the Mixed White and Black Caribbean category, 114,000 Mixed White and Black African, 261,000 Mixed White and Asian, and 212,000 Other Mixed. The White and Black African group grew fastest in percentage terms from 2001 to 2007, followed by White and Asian, Other Mixed and then White and Black Caribbean.
Some Prominent people of black ancestry in England
However, many of these mixed Black Africans have contributed a great deal for Britain. In 2005, a soldier Johnson Be harry, born in Grenada of mixed Black African and East Indian roots, became the first man to win the Victoria Cross, the United Kingdom’s foremost military award for bravery, since the Falklands War of 1982. He was awarded the medal for service in 2004.
Frank Bruno was boxing champion and won 40 of his 45 contests. He is also well known for acting in pantomime.
Lennox Lewis, born in east London, is another successful Black British boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Recently, Lewis Hamilton, who is mixed-race, has created a major impact in the world of Formula One racing, with his most notable achievement being the winner, and first Black person of the 2008 Formula One World Championship.
Kelly Holmes, who won two gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, is also mixed-race: her black father was born in Jamaica, while her white mother is English.
Bernie Grant, Baroness Amos and Diane Abbott, as well as Oona King and Paul Boateng are of mixed race, and have made significant contributions to politics and trade unionism.
Paul Boateng became the UK’s first black biracial cabinet minister in 2002 when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He has his roots from Ghana.
Bill Morris was elected general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1992. He was knighted in 2003, and in 2006 he took a seat in the House of Lords as a working life peer, Baron Morris of Handsworth.
Diane Abbott became the first black woman Member of Parliament when she was elected to the House of Commons in the 1987 general election.
CLASHES WITH THE TITANS
Slavers, the Navy and Destiny of Liberated Africans
Key West is an island in the Straits of Florida on the North American mainland at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. There was an unimportant fort in the location which was not set up as a slave trading port; however, it was involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. In Pre-Columbian times Key West was inhabited by the Calusa people. They were habitually talked about as Native Americans, and who were mistakenly assumed by Christopher Columbus as Indians. He was wrong.
Arrival of Africans at Key West
Liberated Africans from the slave ships lived peacefully as peasants in villages in Sierra Leone, the Bahamas, Trinidad, the British Caribbean and in Brazil. However, the slobbers had another idea; they wanted the trade to continue. Thus, slaves were smuggled from Africa to work on plantations in Cuba. Ships like Wildfire continued to transport people from the Congo to Key West in 1860s. These slaves were held in baracoons in deplorable conditions for more than a year. There were 1,350 Africans detained in the baracoons and over 220 people died. Those who survived were sent to Liberia, West Africa.
Illegal slavers continued to smuggle slaves from the coast of the African continent to plantations in Cuba and many Africans kept on dying on ships. American slave traders tried to steal the slaves who had arrived in the United States. Their activities were so much so that even some slave owners felt pity on them; they devoted their personal funds to help the Africans and even employed their own slaves to help the Africans. It was eventually decided to send the Africans to West Africa, Liberia, a home for liberated Americans. A society was formed, the American Colonization Society. Ships were chartered by the United States and sailed to Liberia.
In 1820, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, and the United States implemented military efforts because the situation was out of hand.
In 1807 the British Parliament passed a bill barring the slave trade. In January the following year the United States followed suit by outlawing the importation of slaves. The acts did nothing to curb the trade of slaves within the nation’s borders, but ended the overseas business in slaves. To implement these laws, Britain and the United States in cooperation watched the seas off the coast of Africa, ending suspected slave traders and seizing the ship when slaves were found. The Africans were then transported back to Africa.
The US Navy ships safeguarded the West African coast and arrested delinquents of the American slave traders and aided settlers to establish themselves in Liberia, West Africa.
Transportation of slaves from Africa increased and Africans were seen everywhere , whose cheeks were scarred with slashes with which they were marked in the African market, and who were unable to speak even broken in Cuba. It was pathetic so; the President of the United States took initiative and the Americans began to watch the coast. They increased the amount of the Navy and steamers were stationed around Cuba in late 1859. Many ships were seized and 4,300 Africans were liberated.
When Abraham Lincoln was elected as President he ended the slave trade. A deal was struck between the government and the apprehending crew to arrest and prosecute and sell any slaving ships. The income generated was shared between the government and the apprehending crew. The deal was made to definitively stop the slave trade. Thus, people participated in the capture of slaver ships.
Illegal slavers were intercepted such as slaver ships; Wildfire, Toccoa, and Mary Kimball were seized and convicted.
In 1860 the slaver Wildfire set sail from New York for St. Thomas with a cargo of unbleached cotton cloth and other cotton merchandises. It headed towards the Congo River in Africa where the crew built-in a new deck with tiny space to house captives. The ship sailed in March for Cuba with 615 nude slaves of whom most of them were teenagers. All in all, there were 450 captives on deck and the rest were crammed below. Ninety detainees died during the five weeks journey to the coast of Cuba, and were captured by the US Naval steamer Mohawk and dragged to Key West. More captives were added from other ships such as William and Bogota. Slavers continued their evil deeds and good Americans continued to stop them. From 1858 the US Navy was equipped with five guns and patrolled in New York, the Caribbean, Florida and South Carolina. Many slaver ships were captured.
The Navy worked dynamically and actively to put stop to the slave trade. Slavers who entered Key West with Africans captives were sent back. There was an instance where 127 women and boys, 280 men of gigantic proportion, stout and over six feet in height, entered Key West. They were 411 people from the Ghana. They were uncouth and uncivilized but they were sailed back to Liberia. Others sailed from Bogota, Dahomey, West Congo River and West-Central coast of Africa.
Liberated African-Americans from Key West
After the sending away from Key West the liberated Africans established a community in Liberia. They were from different African countries. Some white Americans joined the liberated Africans in Liberia.
The Africans could not be integrated into the white society because there was a complete separation of white and black Americans in Liberia, West Africa.
In 1815 an African-American Quaker and nautical tycoon Paul Coffe, probably from the Fanti clan in Ghana because of the name, funded and skippered a successful crossing to Sierra Leone and helped a small group of African-American settlers to establish themselves in Liberia. A society was formed and prominent Americans such as Justice Bushrod Washington, was one of the members of the American Colonization Society (ACS) during its early years.
Paul Coffe thought that African Americans had the greatest opportunity to be famous in Liberia, West Africa than if they were to live in America because of its system of segregation, racism and statutory limits on black’s autonomy. He had a vision that the skills they had learned during their captivity in America would stand them good. However, some of the members of the Colonization Society were concerned that their newly formed ACS was dominated by Southerners and slave holders, and there were few blacks. Unfortunately, Paul Coffe died in 1817, two years after he helped the African-Americans to settle in Liberia without realizing his dream.
The freed African-Americans however, wanted to stay in the land they had helped to build in the United States of America because; they had planned to continue the struggle for equality and justice in the new nation.
In Freetown, Liberia, West Africa, there was a high death rate amongst its early settlers because of illness due to unfavourable and unhygienic surroundings. The weather was humid and clammy and numerous settlers became bodily inactive; the food was poor and unhealthy and the climate led to all kinds of conditions. It was damp and moist with heavy rainfall in all months and the high surface heat and humidity caused cumulus clouds to form early in the afternoons and almost every day. Mangrove flora occupied the shallow waters and the region was swampy and marshy with mosquitoes. The unscrupulous conditions killed many of them.
In 1821, they located a suitable place for the settlers at Cape Measured. The landowners were unhappy to give their land to the settlers but they were threatened by gun point to give their lands up. It was a small land area of about 36 miles long and 3 miles wide at the coastline. It was only bought for about 300 dollars by the African-American settlers.
In 1822 they began building their settlement and more immigrants arrived at the region. Liberia was administered by the American Colonization Society`s envoy, who implemented totalitarian law enforcements.
In 1824, a new charter in Liberia was implemented and oppression was brought to an end in Liberia. The settlement was renamed Monrovia after the American president, James Monroe and the colony was identified as Liberia, the free land.
After a long and tedious negotiations Britain recognized the new country. As time passed the British and Liberian governments agreed about the borders of Liberia.
From 1900 to1997, William Tubman was elected to the first of seven terms as Liberian President. He died in 1971. William R. Tolbert, Jr. was elected to Liberia’s presidency to succeed Tubman. In 1980, a military coup was led by a native Liberian, Samuel K. Doe. He gunned down President Tolbert and took over the control. In 1986, new agreement introduced second democracy of Liberia, and Samuel K. Doe kept hold of control as head of state.
In 1989, one Charles Taylor, an American-Liberian assembled his supporters and removed President Doe from power. This resulted in a civil war and diverse tribal groups fought to control Liberia. People in Liberia did no fancy the American-Liberians because they had attitude problems. They wore expensive clothes which the ordinary Liberian could never afford and their standard of living was too high. There was a huge gap between the haves and none haves. Education was lacking because schools were not built and the country was not progressing in any respect. There was poverty everywhere.
In 1990, rebellious forces executed Liberia’s former head of state, Samuel K. Doe. In 1995, the 16-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) re-negotiated a peace treaty with Liberia’s military groups. A temporary National Assembly set up a timeline for ballot votes. In 1997, Charles Taylor was elected president of the third Republic.
Hundreds of years ago an ethnic group Dei were the first to occupy Liberia, then, the vanguard group of Bass and the Goal tribes. All in all there were five major groups: The Mel tribes consisted of Goal and Kisi tribes; The Kwa groups were the Dei, Bass, Kru, Krahn and Grebo; The Mande-Fu groups were Kpelle, Gio, Mano and Loma; The Mande-Tan tribes were the Vai, Mende and Mandingo; the last group and newcomers were the American-Liberians and Caribbean. Followers of the Gio tribe and the Mande-Fus tribes mistrusted President Samuel Doe, who was a Krahn, and needed to get rid of him. There was unrest and soldiers from the Krahn fired upon the Gio people, looted and burnt their houses. Several hundred died and many residents fled for their lives into Ivory Coast, Guinea or hid in the forest.
In 1989, there was relentless fighting because the Gio and the Mano groups wanted to overthrow Doe. They felt that they had been ill-treated by Doe. However, they did not succeed. This resulted in revolution in the northeast of the country.
On December 24, the same year, Charles G. Taylor led a small band of Libyan-trained rebels and invaded Liberia from the Ivory Coast. Taylor was an American-Liberian who graduated from Bentley College in Massachusetts. He had American lifestyle and also gained support from neighbouring African nations. Taylors National Patriotic Front insurgents were supported by Liberians because they felt themselves suppressed by Samuel Doe and his administration. More than 200,000 Liberia’s died and about a million fled into camps in nearest countries. The Mano and Gio Ethnic groups were hard hit by the Government troops of Liberia throughout the revolution.
With the involvement of West African ECOMOG in 1996 there was end of war and an administration involving different tribal leaders was established. Liberian military and safekeeping forces were sent to Nimba County to fight the rebellion but they aimlessly killed Liberian nationals without distinction between participants and non-participants.The National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), marched in the direction of Monrovia in 1990 to demolish the Krahn and Mandingo tribes because the party had the opinion that these tribes supported President Doe. They slaughtered many town-dwellers.
There was a total butchery of non Khran’s tribes in Liberia. According to an observer, the quarrel was not about one tribe hunting for another group but, the American-Liberians were rather prompting unrest in order to set up political control and authority for themselves in the country. The Gios and Manos stuck together with Charles Taylor because he tried to set right the unfairness done to them. The mutineers went into their habitat in Nimba County and the Muslim Mandingoes were drawn into the clash. One Prince Johnson took over and the Gios ethnic group instituted their own revolutionary army which resulted in a three-way gruesome national battle.
Young Liberian men were drawn into the battle because they were convinced by Taylor to remove the oppressor Doe from power. The commitments of these young men were not long lasting because they ultimately found out that Taylor was a swindler. Dokie and many others left Taylor`s National Patriotic Front of Liberia but, Dokie and his spouse and two others were viciously slaughtered in cold blood.
State affairs escalated and there was a split between the Krahn, Doe and the Gios and Manos. Liberia was in absolute disorder. There was a fight between Doe`s troops and both Taylor and Prince Yomie Johnson`s alliances. Johnson took over the leadership and after passing through a number of hands, Amos Sawyer took over and negotiated with various partitions in Liberia. There was scorching heat in Liberia and the region was harsh, merciless and dry. People were dying and Liberia was disappearing from the map due to wars. Countless Liberians died.
Liberians began to have severe shortages of food as well as health problems and they felt desperate and irrational. Several young men became uncertain of their future because of violent incidents. At last, they became insecure in society building. Liberian policy-makers understood the problems in Liberia but did nothing to repair and build the country.
Building America by the Enslaved
English settlers arrived in what is Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Its colonization began on the James River. James I, King of England granted approval for the settlement of some businessmen. They were part of the Virginia Company.
In 1619, the first black workforces arrived on small ships from Africa. They were initially indentured servants and consisted of men and women. They were employed on farms and after seven to eight years, they were allowed to keep the farm for themselves. It was not until 1680s that the slave trade started in Jamestown.
The town became the capital of Virginia. It was almost entirely destroyed during Bacon’s Rebellion but it remained the capital until 1698, when the centre was moved to Williamsburg around 1698s. It was renamed Williamsburg because the settlers wanted to honour King William III.
Agriculture did not begin until 1700. Eighty years elapsed before African slaves arrived in the region. Earlier, American Indians and indentured servants from England and Ireland worked on the tobacco farms but, their work was short-lived because the colonist directed their attention to Africa where they could obtain free work force. Tobacco, the main produce grown by the English settlers was sold to Native Americans and Britain. Tobacco was popular because it was easy to grow and it raised lots of money.
As a result, the colonist invested their whole fortune on West African slaves which brought in lots of money. The Southern part of America raised a lot of money with its tobacco, rice, indigo and cotton plantations and business was blooming. Profits made were re-invested in slave labour over and over again, and the American Revolution brought tobacco exportation to Europe from Virginia and Maryland. Their prosperity depended on the African slaves.
Slaves in America continued to toil on plantations, on the docks, in iron industries, mining and quarries, trades, businesses, construction, domestic services, and others were skilful blacksmiths in the North and South. Whiles the North abolished slavery and focussed on manufacturing and production, the south speculated on cash crop. Enslaved Africans laboured on sugar plantation in Madeira and Canary Islands of the coast of Africa. Portuguese settlers started cultivating sugar on the islands and began to import slaves. Africans became the competent work force of choice in the Western Hemisphere.
From 1492 to 1776, 6.5 million immigrants settled in the Western Hemisphere and merely one million were Europeans. The enslaved Africans were largely employed as field-workers.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Brazil dominated the production of sugarcane and their factories produced sugar from sugarcane and, molasses to alcohol, rum. Africans were the workforce. In Haiti and everywhere, slaves were the largest labour pool and African slaves sweated in the summer heat and shivered in the winter’s cold to help built the U.S. Capitol.
The slaves from West and Central Africa imported the knowledge of growing rice to South Carolina and Georgia. Rice did not grow in Great Britain. Other foods that came from Africa were watermelon; black-eyed peas, sorghum, okra, and millet were equally imported from Africa. Cooking utensils and terracotta bowls, used for cooking and storage, as well as African pottery, were all imported knowledge from Africa.
The “shotgun” narrow houses are examples of Yoruba housing. The idea was equally imported from Africa. The free Haitians who came to Louisiana carried the knowledge of constructing shotgun houses.
African American music, the Old Negro Spirituals, d jazz, blues, and rock-and-roll were of African origin as well as the instrument, banjo.
African words such as, okra, gumbo, goober, and jazz were introduced to America. These cultures are found in South Carolina, Georgia, Northern Florida, Sea Islands of South Carolina and the Golden Crescent of Georgia.
Many slaves used herbs to cure numerous diseases, the knowledge of which they brought from Africa as herbal healers.
African slaves were employed in the oceanic industry because without them people employed as shipwrights, lighter men, caulkers, sail makers, boatmen, riggers, coopers, mariners, and pilots, would not have been able to load, unload, and transport goods anyplace because it was tedious.
New York depended on slavery from 1629 – 1827. The first Native American arrived at New York around 10,000 BCE. The tribes, Iroquoian and Algonquian developed their cultures as time passed. In 1524 the French discovered New York but the Dutch snatched it from them in 1609 and traded in fur. The Dutch called the county New Netherland. In 1664, Britain gained it and renamed the colony, New York. It became well-known in the 18th century as a major trading port in the Thirteen Colonies.
Slavery affected the lives of African Americans living in the county until the end of the Civil War. Many runaway slaves lived in New York but it was not easy to live in the county however, Manhattan relied on slave labour for the day-to-day survival. The slave population was about the same as that of Maryland and Virginia.
By the eighteenth century, New York’s slave population was exceeded only by that of Charleston, South Carolina, New Orleans and Louisiana. Many of the slaves were engaged in seafaring work.
By the 1850’s the urban slave population was about 20 percent in Austin, Galveston, Houston and Texas. The skilled slave population helped to build these cities.
It was the slaves who functioned on the farmsteads and who made the plantation flourish and delivered the financial support of Texas.
Top of Form West Afrocentric or Afrocentricity, Afrocentrism
The impression of world history that underlines the position of African people, taken as a single group and often likened with black people, in culture, philosophy, and history is termed, Afrocentric or Afrocentricity, Afrocentrism
The institution of slavery and colonization has had many adverse effects on Africans. The psychological clang that established bondage and repression has had on African can be blamed for the slow success rate of African nations. Amongst the ills caused by slavery is discrimination. Many names have been applied to the African such as, Negros, Neger, Niger, Black Man, Bush Man, Coloured Man, People of colour, Brown people, Chocolate People, Hottentot, Sambu, uncivilized, African-American, Afro-American to harm African psyche after the slave trade. Europeans need for convenience and efficacy was their justification for the use of slaves. To be able to rectify their activities and conducts, they demoralized, depressed, dehumanized and degraded the Africans. They have tried to find reasons for their disregard for human race ever since.
African history was distorted and removed and substituted with the notion that Africans were intellectually inferior. These, together with the institution of slavery and aftermath and racism has had negative impact on their mental health because it contributed to their perceived inferiority, and made them to experience anxieties and reactions that affected their social and psychological functioning even in African children.
Post Enslavement Effects on Ghana
The transformation of ancient Ghana to modern day Ghana with all its clans passed through ups and downs. The invention of the slave trade was especially an epoch in Ghanaian history and African history in general. It was difficult for those who dwelt in it. For many men and women as well as the young generation, no matter how movingly they felt, they have carried their endeavours to put life of an ordinary individual into fashion worth living today and away from the slave trade.
The impact of information technology and advances in telecommunications are having profound impact on Ghana’s business and economic life. Further developments in these areas are being conducted to an even greater extent. There is pressure in all areas of business management in particular in the field of purchasing and supply. The crux of the function involves help from other countries in working with raw materials to the right place at the right time. Nations involved in developing these areas should not be afraid to be at the hub of complex web. Ghana today is functioning smoothly and even economically because the country wants to remain sound and improve its infrastructure.
It is a well-known fact that management has a much more favourable altitude to a country’s structure to preserve and maintain opportunities. Able people have received education on this area and more and more managers are being educated in the area of human resource management. Executives are being encouraged further studies in marketing skills. Advances in computerisation and information technology, the means of paperless trading, will be achieved in due course. Ghana’s electricity supply is superb but it often faces shortages of electricity supply due to overloading and other minor repairs thus rendering a slow rate of advances in this area.
There have been fundamental changes in Ghanaian society in their way of life, in political and institutional patterns and have today grasped new concept and new sets of values. There has been changes in social attitudes such as to the mobility of labour, relations between landlord and tenant, desirability of education, the status of women, identity with the nation rather than its clan, all, directing towards development of the country. Ghana is aware that the country’s development is certainly not a simple task and not a simple process of economics either but strikes at the roots of social and institutional patters.
Climate regime in Ghana is not without problems. Rainfall is commonly intense, abundant or scares. The hazard is being reduced by the adaptation of cropping systems which minimises the extent to which the soil is bared and on sloping land by the maintenance of terracing. Problems of water deficit may severally limit crop and livestock production. Periodic dry farming may occur, creating food shortages and very severe human hardship from time to time. Irrigation agriculture, and with the introduction of modern technology, waterlogging, crop failure and land abandonment can be avoided.
The damage imposed by pests and diseases on crops and stock, ” swollen shoot” disease on cocoa, stack borers in maize, locust destroying crops, destruction by rats and mice, tsetse fly, transmitting cattle disease which limits cattle growth are being looked after with modern technology and initiative.
Illnesses and diseases with dietary deficiencies are nowhere to be found in Ghana. The level of activity of the population in a positive direction is not affected by deficiency syndromes. With the constant growth of Ghana’s population during the past three decades, without overproducing and without overcrowding, is a development of a positive attitude.
Diseases ranging from measles to influenza, to the more widespread dangers of malaria, dysentery, tuberculosis and cholera have been somewhat compacted except that in some incidents there are resistance to anti-malaria drugs however, there is continuous vigilance. Improvements are still required in the building and equipping hospitals. Maternity check-ups, as well as child-care, are gaining grounds and for a new comer mother weighing is a festivity and compulsory. Infant mortality rate has reduced tremendously. Thus, these children whose lives have been saved two decades earlier have lived out a full lifespan and have contributed to Ghana’s population rate today.
THE SECOND EUROPEAN COLONIZATION AFTER SLAVE TRADE
The Asante Wars with Britain
During the early 15th century the first European colonization flood took place. Portuguese conquered Ceuta in 1415, the French occupied Algeria in 1830, the Americas was colonized, and India, Asian countries and the Philippines were invaded. In Africa, the principal concentration was on the establishment of trading posts for the trade. The second major chapter of European colonization focused on Africa and Asia, the period of the New Imperialism.
After the slave trade Africa was unable to defend self, against European imperialism however, Africans fought against their exploitation and resisted. Africans had suffered four centuries of slave trade and humiliations.
In 1880, European thirst for colonies as the sources of raw materials began and by the end of the nineteenth century, less than one tenth of Africa remained.
Portugal first landed in Ghana the west coast of Africa in 1471. They were in search for gold. They finally built trading post, castles and forts in 1481 because of increasing number of business men despite the diseases, yellow fever and malaria. Portugal was in control. In 1598, the Dutch arrived and built forts and by 1642 they took control every Portuguese fort in the region. In later years, the demand for African labour on their plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas intensified, workforce was needed. Indigenous people were employed on their plantations but there were warfare, diseases and many escapees because of their knowledge of the terrain. Africans were needed because they had no idea about the geography of the regions. Therefore, from the 17th to the 19th century African labour was needed in form of slaves.
African societal development halted and African societies dwindled. In the 19th century, Europe outlawed the slave trade because of industrialization in the western world; they needed raw materials to manufacture their produce and markets to sell their commodities.
At the same time, missionaries spread Christianity and the churches served as partners of the European. Rivalry was rampant among the Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and the British over the control of Ghana. By 1872, the Dutch, Portuguese and the Danes had detached themselves from Ghana leaving the British. They confronted Ashanti nation in 1874 and acknowledged it a colonial territory and began to make radical societal infrastructural changes in the Ashanti society. The British incorporated more lands around the Ashanti region in 1890s which met fierce resistance and wars from the Ashanti.
The Asante, with five million inhabitants, were developing since the 18th century. They had trade, informative services, religious temples, a centralized administrative control and a ruler, the king -Asantehene. There was a productive trade with the neighbouring territories of Hausa land, western Sudan and European countries, the Portuguese, British, French, the Dutch and Danes.
By the start of the 19th century the powerful Asante territory, in the interior, dominated the coastal tribes of Ghana. Slavery was a significant part of the Ashanti economy. They traded in slaves with the Europeans along the coast region and had wealth in gold. Ashanti power over the coastal tribes diminished and the British gradually replaced the Danes and the Dutch in control of the coastal forts, and established a casual protectorate over the coastal Fanti tribes.
Due to the intrusion of the British in controlling the trade routes of the Asante and their political system, there were several battles, from 1806 to 1895; Asante had seven confrontations with the British.
The Asante were aware of British strong suit, but assumed that the British could not go in totally into the thick clump of bushes. They were of the opinion that their muskets and spears could match the British breech-loading rifles and cannons. Asante took some European missionaries hostages during an attack in 1873 so, the British attacked the Ashanti.
In 1874 Wolseley established at Prasu, a force of 4, 000 men including two British battalions, a West Indian battalion, some British sailors, and some locally raised troops, with 7-pounder guns and rocket-projectors. A further British battalion and a West Indian battalion were used as reserves and replacements. Wolseley’s force entered Kumasi on 3 February, and finding it unoccupied burnt it to the ground and withdrew three days later.
After the episode, the British established the Formena treaty at Adansi. Conditions comprised coverage of 50,000 ounces of gold, abandonment of the Ashanti claims over Denkyira, Akim, Elmina, and other territories, and to keep the trade routes open to European-British command and avoided human sacrifices. On 13th February King Kofi’s representatives agreed peace at Fomena.
Despite the British predominance over the area beginning in 1874, The Asante disrespected the proposals of the British and continued the resistance movements against the British. With the rise of a new Asantehene, Prempeh I, in 1893, he demanded for Asante’s independence from British rule.
In 1895 the British charged the Ashanti rulers for rejecting to abide by the conditions laid down in the Fomena Treaty and commanded the Asante to accept British Protectorate. Prempeh I rejected to accept fully, the new-fangled British demand. The British became furious so, in 1896 the British acted by placing armed forces to implement a British Protectorate government in Asante region. Prempeh I and his family were deported to Seychelles.
The Colony Ghana and the Bond of 1844
During the early 19th century, the British in one way or the other were in possession of almost every fort and castle along the coast of Ghana. It was realized that the British reacted towards Asante’s wars and the instability of trade, and Britain’s never-ending interest in suppressing and eliminating the slave trade.
In the 19th century, Asante wanted to expand its rule and to encourage and protect its trade. At first, Asante invaded the coastal regions in 1807 and invaded again in 1811 and in 1814. These invasions disrupted trade in gold, timber, and palm oil, and threatened the security of the European forts.
The British, the Dutch, and the Danes were forced to adopt a particular kind of attitude or behaviour with Asante, they were in charge. In 1817 the African Company of Merchants signed a treaty of friendship that recognized Asante’s claims to autonomy over large regions of the coast and it`s inhabits.
The coastal people were the Fante and Ga. They relied on British protection against Asante’s hostility, and their sudden invasions of their territories. Handing over autonomy to the Asante would make it impossible for the merchant companies to provide security to the coastal people.
In 1821, the British Crown dissolved the company and handed over the British forts in Ghana over to Charles McCarthy, governor of Sierra Leone. Thus, the British forts in Ghana and Sierra Leone remained under common administration. The governor`s directive was to impose peace and to end the slave trade. To be able to carry this out he required the coastal peoples to oppose Asante’s regulations by closing the roads to the coast. Later, periodic fighting continued, McCarthy was killed and most of his force was wiped out in a battle with Asante’s in 1824. However, Asante’s invasion of the coast two years later was defeated by a combined force of British, local forces, the Fante and the individuals of Accra.
The British government permitted control of Ghana settlements to return to the British African Company of Merchants in late 1820s, but relations with Asante were still challenging. Asante’s blamed, the British that they had failed to control the doings of their local coastal people.
In 1830, Captain George Maclean was appointed as president of a local council of merchants. Maclean arranged a peace treaty with Asante in 1831 and controlled the coastal people by holding regular court in Cape Coast. He punished those found guilty of disturbing the peace. Between 1830 and 1843, Maclean was able to control affairs in Ghana, and there were no more confrontations with Asante’s. Trade increased exceptionally well. Maclean’s administration of judicial power in Ghana was so effective that a law-making committee endorsed that the British government forever manage its settlements and negotiate agreements with the coastal chiefs that would define Britain’s relations with them. The governor managed the affairs so, in 1843, crown government was re-established. H. Worsley Hill was appointed first governor of Ghana. Under Maclean’s administration, several coastal tribes submitted willingly to British protection. Hill defined the conditions and responsibilities of his jurisdiction over the protected zones. He negotiated a distinctive treaty with a number of Fante and other local chiefs that became known as the Bond of 1844. This document obliged local leaders to submit serious crimes, such as murder and robbery, to British jurisdiction which laid the legal foundation for subsequent British colonization of the coastal area. Additional coastal states as well as other states farther inland signed the Bond. The British impact and influence were accepted, strengthened, and expanded. According to the terms of the 1844 arrangement, the British gave the impression that they would protect the coastal areas; thus, an informal protectorate came into being. The British took responsibility for defending local allies and managing the affairs of the coastal protectorate.
In April 1852, local chiefs and elders met at Cape Coast to ask the governor on means of raising revenue. The governor approved and the council of chiefs established itself as a law-making assembly. In approving its resolutions, the governor directed that the assembly of chiefs should become a permanent fixture of the protectorate’s constitutional apparatus, but they were not given specific constitutional right to pass laws or to levy taxes without the consent of the people.
The British purchased Elmina Castle, the last of the Dutch forts along the coast. The Asante, who had considered the Dutch at Elmina as their allies, lost their last trade outlet to the sea. To prevent this loss the Asante invaded the coast in 1873 but they were up against experienced British forces. In 1874, the British invaded Asante with 2,500 soldiers and a large number of Africans. The British occupied and burnt the Asante capital, Kumasi
A peace treaty was signed, requiring the Asante to abandon any claim to many southern territories and to keep the road to Kumasi open to trade. From this point on, Asante’s power gradually declined. The confederation disintegrated and protected regions deserted to British rule. However, and enforcement of the treaty led to recurring outbreaks of fighting. In 1896 the British sent another mission that again occupied Kumasi and, that forced Asante to become a protectorate of the British Crown. The position of Asantehene, king was abolished and the incumbent was exiled.
The Asante federation accepted these terms unwillingly. In 1900 the Asante defied again but were defeated. In 1902 the British proclaimed Asante a colony under the jurisdiction of the governor of Ghana.
In 1900, the British confronted the Asante and demanded for their sacred golden stool, the “soul” of the people and their system of governance. This prompted a revolt in the region and the British invaded Asante in 1901 which led to the complete colonization of Ashanti.
The British gained economically from Ghana because of cocoa in addition to gold. They developed the first railway in the country which extended from the gold-mining district of Tarkwa to Sekondi by 1901 and which brought in enormous profit.
The gold export increased in 1897 from 22,000 pound sterling to 1,168,000 pound sterling in 1914.To ensure military power in Asante region the railway was extended to Kumasi, the capital in 1903 and rubber-tapping in the forest was made possible as well as expansion of cocoa farming.
In 1901, cocoa exported from the colony was 43,000 pound sterling; in 1914 it was 2,194,000 and by the end of the year cocoa amounted to 49 percent of all exports and it alone paid for all the Ghanaian imports. In 1914, the exportation of timber was at its height and cocoa, gold and timber made Ghana by 1914, one of the wealthiest African countries.
British intervention brought about the rise of the Fanti Confederacy in 1868 consisting of Fanti chiefs who sought to protect themselves from the Asante because the Asante and the Fanti were long-time rivals. The British sided with the Fanti chiefs against the domination of trade that was conducted by the Ashanti chiefs.
The Fanti Confederation proposed peace amongst the kings and chiefs, improvement in the country, infrastructure, houses, schools, education for all children, school masters, agricultural, industrial help, the working of the mineral and other resources, preparing laws, ordinances, bills, means for effectively carrying out resolution, administration of the government, laws, taxes and etc.¨
In the 1890s, another organization arose in the Ghana called the Aborigines Rights Protection Society. The organization protected the interests of the Ghanaians against the attack of the British expansionists. It was created by men who were from the overlord class in the Ghana Society; its leaders were Mensah-Sarbah, Atta Ahuma, Sey and Wood. The institution of a British organized judicial council in the 1890s aided the administrative tool for the upkeep of colonial rule in Ghana. The British did not want to share power with the ARPS whose power was limited.
In 1919 a lawyer Joseph Casley-Hayford laid the basis for the formation of a National Congress of British West Africa. The founding meeting was held in 1920 in London. The idea was to have associations with the various African nations under British rule. There were representatives from Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nigeria and Ghana. Resolutions were passed that called for the right of voting, improved educational services and equal chances in employment.
Hayford led a delegation to London which involved two representatives from each of the British colonies. They presented a document of complaint to the Secretary of State for the colonies Lord Milner and requested for the increase of representation in the colonial law-making gatherings, the creation of a West African court of petitions, and a West African university. The National Congress of British West Africa had in fact, no results from the United Kingdom. The British nevertheless, did create Achimota College in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
After World War I the movement of the African peoples for freedom and independence gained new momentum. Even before WWI there arose a movement in the western hemisphere which was aimed at solving the collective problems of African peoples on a global scale.
In 1900, a barrister, Henry Sylvester Williams of West Indies descent, Trinidad, organized the first Pan-African Conference in London. The majority of the partakers in the Conference were North Americans and the Caribbean. They meant that the labour of Africans, scattered throughout the western hemisphere was abused by the westerners. The gathering represented growing awareness among African peoples in respect to their common heritage and a common civil and economic suppression by Europeans.
The purpose of the Conference was of complaint against the hostility of white colonizers, to protect Africans from the plunders of empire builders, to bring all Africans into closer contact, to the secure all Africans full rights and to promote business interests.
After World War I, the Pan-African movement gained new impetus due to the arrival of Marcus Garvey in the United States and the arranging of a series of Pan-African Assemblies in America and Europe under the direction of WEB Dubois. In 1914, the Universal Negro Improvement Association -UNIA was founded by a Jamaican, Marcus Garvey. A political movement began which had great influence on the joint awareness of Africans.
In 1920s, it was the aim of Garvey, an African born in America, to build an international organization of Africans to drive colonialism out of Africa and to establish a free and independent united Africa, after the World War I. It gained acceptance. DuBois’ Pan-African Congresses Paris, 1919 brought Africans from America, the Caribbean and few Africans from the continent together. The colonial powers had convened at the Berlin Conference in 1884-85 in order to partition the African continent.
The Berlin Conference, “Congo Conference” of 1884–85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period. It was called for by Otto von Bismarck, the first chancellor of Germany. It is often seen as the formalization of the “Scramble for Africa.” The European powers divided Africa up between themselves, and created artificial states that lacked cultural, linguistic and ethnic coherence. Most of the European powers, although they justified their acquisition of African colonies in terms of enlightening, ended up misusing them. When de-colonization took place in the mid-to-late twentieth century, which was often reluctantly, following armed freedom struggles, the economies left behind were ill designed to cope with independence, being mono-crops designed for European markets, and not products for the local people. The World War I had been the result of the increased competition between the European powers for predominance in Europe, Africa, Asia and the world.
As time progressed, programs for the alleviation of the oppression suffered by the Africans gained critical strong point. The movement made a long lasting impact on the African struggle for freedom and independence.
The events of the 1920s assisted to bring closer links between the African struggle for independence in the west and on the continent.
Asante’s stateswoman the Diplomat
Asante’s stateswoman, Yaa Kyaa Akyaawa was born around the 1770-c.1840 in Akorase, a village near Kumasi and site of the Taa Dwemo shrine that was of great significance to Asante’s political leadership and warfare. Akyaawa was the daughter of Ampoma-Hemaa and Asantehene Osei Kwadwo -1764–1777. She had the status of an Oheneba- princess, and was seven years when her father died. She was also a royal of the Akorase stool. She had two daughters, Abenaa Konadu and Birago, and a son, Kofi Nti All of them had royal marriages that made Akyaawa grandmother of two Asantehene- kings of Asante and one other Asantehemaa-paramount queen mother.
In the eighteenth century the Asante nation came to dominate the seaboard of Ghana. However, the ambitions of various European powers to expand the market for manufactured goods by the early nineteenth century resulted in increasing conflict with Asante as they induced many local rulers to transfer allegiance to themselves. The British, under Governor Charles McCarthy, pursued an aggressive policy toward Asante and invaded its south-western provinces.
Akyaawa was involved in the battles of Asante against the forces of McCarthy in 1824, The British lost the battle, and McCarthy was beheaded. In 1826 at the battle of Katamanso, which the Asante lost, Akyaawa also lost her two brothers, and her son-in-law Oti Panyin was captured and beheaded. Following the battle Akyaawa, described as “a woman of masculine spirit” was among a group of women arrested by some Ada recruits belonging to the Danes and brought to Accra. Their presence in Accra was subject to much speculation, especially by the British, who thought the captured women could be a danger as they could help leak valuable information to the Asante.
Yaa Akyaawa was chosen as an emissary, representative because; of her position as an Oheneba daughter of a king and also as a so-called wife to the Asantehene as well as for her association with the deity Taa Dwemo.
The Council of Merchants recognized this and stated, “Every effort should continue to be made to keep open our communication with Coomassie- Kumasi, and by means of the woman ‘Atianvah’-Akyaawa to induce the King to come into our arrangement for peace”
Following her release in 1830 from the Dutch merchant to whom she had been sold, Akyaawa succeeded in making peace between the British and the Asante, which brought about the opening of trade routes. As a result of the role Akyaawa played in this initial peace process, the Asantehene chose her as the head of the next mission to Ghana, a first in Asante’s diplomacy.
In agreement with the conditions of the peace treaty, the mission took along two hostages and six hundred ounces of gold. Although the treaty was ratified with the British in Cape Coast, Akyaawa proceeded to Elmina to negotiate peace and trade agreements with the Dutch, demonstrating the Asante’s interest in trade and its willingness to deal with both the British and the Dutch on equal terms.
From Cape Coast, Akyaawa moved with George Maclean, president of the Council of Merchants to Accra to secure the release of the rest of the prisoners held by the Danes. She also succeeded in signing treaties with the Danes and with other chiefs from the eastern province who had joined with other coastal chiefs to support the British and the Danes in the battle of Katamanso against the Asante.
After negotiating peace and signing treaties in Accra, Akyaawa returned to Elmina with the released prisoners. She and her staff spent three days in Elmina, where she undertook an important meeting with the Dutch on 15 September 1831. Governor Frederick Franz Ludewich Ulrich last presented her with expensive cloths and two gallons of rum, and the Elmina chiefs added more cloths and two cases of gin to signify the successful negotiations that Akyaawa had concluded. She left Elmina for Kumasi with a military escort from the British and arrived in Kumasi in November 1831.
On their return, all those who were involved in the negotiations were rewarded with material goods and titles. In addition Akyaawa was given the nickname “Yikwan,” meaning “she who made a new path” or “she who blazed a trail.” Nobody knew about what happened to her. She was never heard from again.