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History Of Ghana

25 Jan 2022
Prehistoric
Prehistoric

The History Of Ghana


The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval West African Ghana Empire. The empire became known in Europe and Arabia as the Ghana Empire after the title of its Emperor, the Ghana. The Empire appears to have broken up following the 1076 conquest by the Almoravid General Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar. A reduced kingdom continued to exist after Almoravid rule end, and the kingdom was later incorporated into subsequent Sahelian empires, such as the Mali Empire several centuries later. Geographically, the ancient Ghana Empire was approximately 500 miles (800 km) north and west of the modern state of Ghana, and controlled territories in the area of the Sénégal River and east towards the Niger rivers, in modern Senegal, Mauritania and Mali. Central Sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural expansion marked the period before 500 AD.

Farming began earliest on the southern tips of the Sahara, eventually giving rise to village settlements.Toward the end of the classical era, larger regional kingdoms had formed in West Africa, one of which was the Kingdom of Ghana, north of what is today the nation of Ghana. Before its fall at the beginning of the 10th century Akans migrated southward and founded several nation-states around their matriclans, including the first empire of Bono state founded in the 11th century and for which the Brong-Ahafo (Bono Ahafo) region is named.[8] The Mole-Dagbon people, who founded the earliest centralised political kingdoms of Ghana, migrated from Lake Chad to present day Ghana. Later, Akan ethnic groups such as the Ashanti, Akwamu, Akyem, Fante state and others are thought to possibly have roots in the original Bono state settlement at Bono Manso.

The Ashanti kingdom's government operated first as a loose network and eventually as a centralized empire-kingdom with an advanced, highly specialized bureaucracy centred on the capital Kumasi. By the end of the 16th century, most of the ethnic groups constituting the modern Ghanaian population had settled in their present locations. Archaeological remains found in the coastal zone indicate that the area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age (ca. 2000 BC), but these societies, based on fishing in the extensive lagoons and rivers, have left few traces. Archaeological work also suggests that central Ghana north of the forest zone was inhabited as early as 3,000 to 4,000 years ago These migrations resulted in part from the formation and disintegration of a series of large states in the western Sudan (the region north of modern Ghana drained by the Niger River).

Strictly speaking, Ghana was the title of the king, but the Arabs, who left records of the kingdom, applied the term to the King, the capital, and the state. The 9th-century Berber historian and geographer Al Yaqubi described ancient Ghana as one of the three most organized states in the region (the others being Gao and Kanem in the central Sudan). Its rulers were renowned for their wealth in gold, the opulence of their courts, and their warrior/hunting skills. They were also masters of the trade in gold, which drew North African merchants to the western Sudan. The military achievements of these and later western Sudanic rulers, and their control over the region's gold mines, constituted the nexus of their historical relations with merchants and rulers in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Ghana succumbed to attacks by its neighbors in the 11th century, but its name and reputation endured.

In 1957, when the leaders of the former British colony of the Gold Coast sought an appropriate name for their newly independent state—the first black African nation to gain its independence from colonial rule—they named their new country after ancient Ghana. The choice was more than merely symbolic, because modern Ghana, like its namesake, was equally famed for its wealth and trade in go Although none of the states of the western Sudan controlled territories in the area that is modern Ghana, several kingdoms that later developed such as Bonoman, were ruled by nobles believed to have immigrated from that region. The trans-Saharan trade that contributed to the expansion of kingdoms in the western Sudan also led to the development of contacts with regions in northern modern Ghana, and in the forest to the south The growth of trade stimulated the development of early Akan states located on the trade route to the goldfields, in the forest zone of the south.[26] The forest itself was thinly populated, but Akan-speaking peoples began to move into it toward the end of the 15th century, with the arrival of crops from South-east Asia and the New World that could be adapted to forest conditions. These new crops included sorghum, bananas, and cassava.

By the beginning of the 16th century, European sources noted the existence of the gold-rich states of Akan and Twifu in the Ofin River Valley. The Mole-Dagbon Kingdoms are the earliest political kingdoms of Modern Ghana. Found by Naa Gbewaa, numerous kingdoms such as the Kingdom of Dagbon, Gmamprugu, Nanung and others emerged. These kingdoms are spread across the Upper East Region, Upper West Region, North East Region, Ghana, and Northern Region (Ghana) of Ghana. The Kingdom of Dagbon resisted slavery and colonisation fiercely, preferring trade in commodities than humans. As a result, the Kingdom has been significantly influenced by Islam due to trade with neighbouring Kingdoms under the rulership of Yaa Naa Zangina. European and colonial influence was more in Southern and Central Ghana. Dagomba According to oral traditions and archaeological evidence, the Dagomba states were the earliest kingdoms to emerge in present-day Ghana as early as the 11th century, being well established by the close of the 16th century.[13][29] Although the rulers of the Dagomba states were not usually Muslim, they brought with them, or welcomed, Muslims as scribes and medicine men. As a result of their presence, Islam influenced the north and Muslim influence spread by the activities of merchants and clerics.

In the broad belt of rugged country between the northern boundaries of the Muslim-influenced state of Dagomba, and the southernmost outposts of the Mossi Kingdoms (of present-day northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso), were peoples who were not incorporated into the Dagomba entity.[31] Among these peoples were the Kassena agriculturalists. They lived in a so-called segmented society, bound together by kinship tie, and ruled by the head of their clan.[32][33] Trade between Akan kingdoms and the Mossi kingdoms to the north flowed through their homeland, subjecting them to Islamic influence, and to the depredations of these more powerful contro Bono State (or Bonoman) was a trading state created by the Bono people, located in what is now southern Ghana. Its was founded sometime around the eleventh century Bonoman was a medieval Akan kingdom in what is now Bono, Bono East and Ahafo region respectively named after the (Bono and Ahafo) and Eastern Ivory Coast.It is generally accepted as the origin of the subgroups of the Akan people who migrated out of the state at various times to create new Akan states in search of gold.

The gold trade, which started to boom in Bonoman as early in the 12th century, was the genesis of Akan power and wealth in the region, beginning in the Middle Ages. Various aspects of Akan culture stem from the Bono state, including the umbrella used for the kings, the swords of the nation, the stools, goldsmithing, blacksmithing, Kente Cloth weaving, and goldweighing. Ashanti Empire Under Chief Oti Akenten (r. ca. 1630–60), a series of successful military operations against neighboring Akan states brought a larger surrounding territory into alliance with Ashanti. At the end of the 17th century, Osei Tutu (died 1712 or 1717) became Asantehene (king of Ashanti).[35] Under Osei Tutu's rule, the confederacy of Ashanti states was transformed into an empire with its capital at Kumasi. Political and military consolidation ensued, resulting in firmly established centralized authority.

Osei Tutu was strongly influenced by the high priest, Anokye, who, tradition asserts, caused a stool of gold to descend from the sky to seal the union of Ashanti states. Stools already functioned as traditional symbols of chieftainship, but the Golden Stool represented the united spirit of all the allied states and established a dual allegiance that superimposed the confederacy over the individual component states.[38] The Golden Stool remains a respected national symbol of the traditional past and figures extensively in Ashanti ritual.[13][39] Osei Tutu permitted newly conquered territories that joined the confederation to retain their own customs and chiefs, who were given seats on the Ashanti state council.

Tutu's gesture made the process relatively easy and nondisruptive, because most of the earlier conquests had subjugated other Akan peoples.[40] Within the Ashanti portions of the confederacy, each minor state continued to exercise internal self-rule, and its chief jealously guarded the state's prerogatives against encroachment by the central authority. A strong unity developed, however, as the various communities subordinated their individual interests to central authority in matters of national concern.[13][39] By the mid-18th century, Ashanti was a highly organized state. The wars of expansion that brought the northern states of Dagomba,[41] Mamprusi, and Gonja[42] under Ashanti influence were won during the reign of Opoku Ware I (died 1750), successor to Osei Kofi Tutu I.

By the 1820s, successive rulers had extended Ashanti boundaries southward. Although the northern expansions linked Ashanti with trade networks across the desert and in Hausaland to the east, movements into the south brought the Ashanti into contact, sometimes antagonistic, with the coastal Fante, as well as with the various European merchants whose fortresses dotted the Gold Coast. European Entry and Slave Trade When the first European colonizers arrived in the late 15th century, many inhabitants of the Gold Coast area were striving to consolidate their newly acquired territories and to settle into a secure and permanent environment.[44] Initially, the Gold Coast did not participate in the export slave trade, rather as Ivor Wilks, a leading colonial historian of Ghana, noted, the Akan purchased slaves from Portuguese traders operating from other parts of Africa, including the Congo and Benin in order to augment the labour needed for the state formation that was characteristic of this period.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive. By 1471, they had reached the area that was to become known as the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was so-named because it was an important source of gold.[48] The Portuguese interest in trading for gold, ivory, and pepper so increased that in 1482 the Portuguese built their first permanent trading post on the western coast of present-day Ghana.[49] This fortress, a trade castle called São Jorge da Mina (later called Elmina Castle), was constructed to protect Portuguese trade from European competitors, and after frequent rebuildings and modifications, still stands. The Portuguese position on the Gold Coast remained secure for over a century. During that time, Lisbon sought to monopolize all trade in the region in royal hands, though appointed officials at São Jorge, and used force to prevent English, French, and Flemish efforts to trade on the coast.[51] By 1598, the Dutch began trading on the Gold Coast.[52] The Dutch built forts at Komenda and Kormantsi by 1612.

In 1637 they captured Elmina Castle from the Portuguese and Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid-17th century, largely English, Danes, and Swedes.[53] The coastline was dotted by more than 30 forts and castles built by Dutch, British, and Danish merchants primarily to protect their interests from other Europeans and pirates. The Gold Coast became the highest concentration of European military architecture outside of Europe. Sometimes they were also drawn into conflicts with local inhabitants as Europeans developed commercial alliances with local political authorities.[54] These alliances, often complicated, involved both Europeans attempting to enlist or persuade their closest allies to attack rival European ports and their African allies, or conversely, various African powers seeking to recruit Europeans as mercenaries in their inter-state wars, or as diplomats to resolve conflicts. Forts were built, abandoned, attacked, captured, sold, and exchanged, and many sites were selected at one time or another for fortified positions by contending European nations.

The Dutch West India Company operated throughout most of the 18th century. The British African Company of Merchants, founded in 1750, was the successor to several earlier organizations of this type. These enterprises built and manned new installations as the companies pursued their trading activities and defended their respective jurisdictions with varying degrees of government backing. There were short-lived ventures by the Swedes and the Prussians.[l The Danes remained until 1850, when they withdrew from the Gold Coast. The British gained possession of all Dutch coastal forts by the last quarter of the 19th century, thus making them the dominant European power on the Gold Coast. In the late 17th century, social changes within the polities of the Gold Coast led to transformations in warfare, and to the shift from being a gold exporting and slave importing economy to being a major local slave exporting economy Some scholars have challenged the premise that rulers on the Gold Coast engaged in wars of expansion for the sole purpose of acquiring slaves for the export market. 

For example, the Ashanti waged war mainly to pacify territories that in were under Ashanti control, to exact tribute payments from subordinate kingdoms, and to secure access to trade routes—particularly those that connected the interior with the coast. The supply of slaves to the Gold Coast was entirely in African hands. Most rulers, such as the kings of various Akan states engaged in the slave trade, as well as individual local merchants.[45] A good number of the Slaves were also brought from various countries in the region and sold to middle men. The demographic impact of the slave trade on West Africa was probably substantially greater than the number actually enslaved because a significant number of Africans perished during wars and bandit attacks or while in captivity awaiting transshipment. All nations with an interest in West Africa participated in the slave trade.

Relations between the Europeans and the local populations were often strained, and distrust led to frequent clashes. Disease caused high losses among the Europeans engaged in the slave trade, but the profits realized from the trade continued to attract them. The growth of anti-slavery sentiment among Europeans made slow progress against vested African and European interests that were reaping profits from the traffic. Although individual clergymen condemned the slave trade as early as the 17th century, major Christian denominations did little to further early efforts at abolition.[63] The Quakers, however, publicly declared themselves against slavery as early as 1727. Later in the century, the Danes stopped trading in slaves; Sweden and the Netherlands soon followed.[45] In 1807, Britain used its naval power and its diplomatic muscle to outlaw trade in slaves by its citizens and to begin a campaign to stop the international trade in slaves.

The British withdrawal helped to decrease external slave trade.[65] The importation of slaves into the United States was outlawed in 1808. These efforts, however, were not successful until the 1860s because of the continued demand for plantation labour in the New World. Because it took decades to end the trade in slaves, some historians doubt that the humanitarian impulse inspired the abolitionist movement. According to historian Eric Williams, for example, Europe abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade only because its profitability was undermined by the Industrial Revolution.[66] Williams argued that mass unemployment caused by the new industrial machinery, the need for new raw materials, and European competition for markets for finished goods are the real factors that brought an end to the trade in human cargo and the beginning of competition for colonial territories in Africa.[67] Other scholars, however, disagree with Williams, arguing that humanitarian concerns as well as social and economic factors were instrumental in ending the African slave trade.

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