West Africa: ° Benin ° Cameroon ° Congo ° Cote d'Ivoire ° Gabon ° (Republic of the) Gambia ° Ghana ° Guinea ° Liberia ° Mauritania ° Mozambique ° Nigeria ° Sao Tome and Principe ° Senegal (Dakar) ° Sierra Leone
East Africa (The Horn of Africa): ° Djibouti ° Kenya ° Eritrea ° Madagascar ° Somalia ° Sudan ° Tanzania ° Zanzibar
Antique Map of Africa. 1864.
The history of the Gold Coast before the last quarter of the 15th century is derived primarily from oral tradition that refers to migrations from the ancient kingdoms of the western Soudan (the area of Mauritania and Mali).
Ancient Ghana derived power and wealth from gold and the introduction of the camel during the Trans-Saharan trade increased the quantity of goods that were transported.
Much of the knowledge of Ghana comes from Arab writers. Al-Hamdani, for example, describes Ghana as having the richest gold mines on earth.
These mines were situated at Bambuhu (called Banbouk by the French), on the upper Senegal river. Bambuhu was a principal source of the gold that made West Africa famous in the Muslim world north of the Sahara from the tenth century onward — and later among the Europeans. Much of the European activity on the Senegambian coast between the end of the fifteenth and the end of the nineteenth century was attracted by the promise of wealth from the ‘gold mines’ of Bambuhu.
The Soninke people also sold slaves, salt and copper in exchange for textiles, beads and finished goods. They built their capital city, Kumbi Saleh, right on the edge of the Sahara and the city quickly became the most dynamic and important southern terminus of the Saharan trade routes. Kumbi Saleh became the focus of all trade, with a systematic form of taxation. Later on Audaghust became another commercial centre. The wealth of ancient Ghana is mythically explained in the tale of Bida, the black snake. This snake demanded an annual sacrifice in return for guaranteeing prosperity in the Kingdom, therefore each year a virgin was offered up for sacrifice, until one year, the fiancé (Mamadou Sarolle) of the intended victim rescued her. Feeling cheated of his sacrifice, Bida took his revenge on the region, a terrible drought took a hold of Ghana and gold mining began to decline. There is evidence found by archaeologists that confirms elements of the story, showing that until the 12th Century, sheep, cows and even goats were abundant in the region.
Other than the oral traditions, little is known of the small African kingdoms in the region between the Tano and Volta rivers until the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century.
Portuguese navigators, working their way down the west African coast, reached this area in 1471 and built Elmina Castle as a permanent trading base.
The Asante kingdom was founded by the great King Osei Tutu in the eighteenth century. His fetish priest was Okomfo Anokye, who unified the Asante states through allegiance to the Golden Stool, which miraculously descended from heaven. Okomfo Anokye planted two trees in the forest and predicted that one tree would live and become the capital of Ashanti. Hence is derived the name Kumasi (the tree lived); the place in which the other tree was planted became Kumawu (the tree died).
The first recorded English trading voyage to the coast was made by Thomas Windham in 1553. The early cargos were gold.
During the next three centuries, the English, Danes, Dutch, Germans, and Portuguese controlled various parts of the coastal areas. Slaves became the lucrative trade when the Ashanti traded people for muskets.
In 1821, the British Government took control of the British trading forts on the Gold Coast. In 1844, Fanti chiefs in the area signed an agreement with the British that became the legal stepping-stone to colonial status for the coastal area.
From 1826 to 1900, the British fought a series of campaigns against the Ashantis, whose kingdom was located inland.
In 1902, they succeeded in establishing firm control over the Ashanti region and making the northern territories a protectorate. British Togoland, the fourth territorial element eventually to form the nation, was part of a former German colony administered by the United Kingdom from Accra as a League of Nations mandate after 1922.
The original Gold Coast Colony now comprises the western, central, eastern, and Greater Accra Regions, with a small portion at the mouth of the Volta River assigned to the Volta Region; the Ashanti area was divided into the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions; the Northern Territories into the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions; and British Togoland essentially is the same area as the Volta Region.
The Third Anglo-Ashanti War lasted from 1873 to 1874. In 1869 a German missionary family and a Swiss missionary had been taken to Kumasi. They were hospitably treated, but a ransom was required for them. In 1871 Britain purchased the Dutch Gold Coast from the Dutch, including Elmina which was claimed by the Ashanti. The Ashanti invaded the new British protectorate.
In 1873, General Garnet Wolseley was sent against the Ashanti. With 2,500 British troops and several thousand West Indian and African troops, the battled ended in five days. The capital, Kumasi, was abandoned by the Ashanti, briefly occupied by the British and subsequently burned.
August 3, 1900, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
ASHANTIS DEFEATED BY THE BRITISH FORCES
BEKWAI. Ashanti. August 1.— Major H. R. Beddoes, with 500 men and two guns, started July 24 to locate the enemy's war camp. The camp was found, the warriors numbering 3000 to 4000 men after three days' marching east of Dompessi. Several hours" fighting resulted in the defeat of the Ashantis after a stubborn resistance. Major Beddoes' losses were heavy. He and Lieutenants Phillips and Swaby were severely wounded. Thirty men were also wounded. More troops will be necessary before the campaign can poasibly finish.
Major Beddoes, Who Was in Command of the Detachment, Receives a Severe Wound.
(Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence.)
The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor
Africa has been coveted for its riches ever since the era of the Pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew fortune-seekers, merchant-adventurers, and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other valuable minerals. He traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization.
The Diary of Antera Duke: An Eighteenth-Century African Slave Trader
Stephen D. Behrendt, A. J. H. Lathma, David Northrup
In his diary, Antera Duke (ca.1735-ca.1809) wrote an eyewitness account of the slave trade by an African merchant. A leader in late eighteenth-century Old Calabar, a cluster of Efik-speaking communities in the Cross River region, he resided in Duke Town, forty-five miles from the Atlantic Ocean in what is now southeast Nigeria. His diary, written in trade English from 1785 to 1788, is a candid account of daily life in an African community at the height of Calabar's overseas commerce. It provides valuable information on economic activity with other African businessmen and with European ship captains who arrived to trade for slaves, produce, and provisions.
Basil Davidson states that by examining three important areas of Africa in the history of slavery against a general background of their time and circumstance he was taking "a fresh look at the overseas slave trade, the steady year-by-year export of African labour to the West Indies and the Americas that marked the era of forced migration." (Africans were joined in forced camps by abused laborers from China, "indentured servants" from Ireland, and Britain's hideous prison hulks.)
The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo
Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people. 64 paintings.
The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
The successful 1776 revolt against British rule in North America has been hailed almost universally as a great step forward for humanity. But the Africans then residing in the colonies overwhelmingly sided with London. Gerald Horne complements his earlier celebrated Negro Comrades of the Crown, by showing that in the prelude to 1776, the abolition of slavery seemed all but inevitable in London, delighting Africans as much as it outraged slaveholders, and sparking the colonial revolt.
Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005
James T. Campbell
Many works of history deal with the journeys of blacks in bondage from Africa to the United States along the middle passage, but there is also a rich history of African Americans traveling in the opposite direction. In Middle Passages, award-winning historian James T. Campbell recounts more than two centuries of African American journeys to Africa, including the experiences of such extraordinary figures as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, and Maya Angelou. This series is under presiding editor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.