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GOLD COAST, a British colony in Western Africa reconstituted on the 24th of July 1876 by a royal charter which defines it as consisting of two settlements - (1) the Gold Coast proper, comprising "all places, settlements, and territories which may at any time belong to us in Western Africa, between the fifth degree of west longitude and the second degree of east longitude ; and (2) the settlement of Lagos, similarly comprising all possessions between the second and fifth degrees of east longitude." The charter appoints a governor, establishes a legislative and an executive council, and authorizes the appointment of judges and other legal officers, tiz,c. Both the Gold Coast colony and Lagos had previously been administered by lieutenant-governors dependent on the governor of Sierra Leone ; and the two divisions are still sufficiently distinct to require separate treatment.
By Bosnian, the Dutch factor at Elmina in the beginning of the 18th century, the Gold Coast is said to extend "about 60 miles, beginning with the Gold River, 3 miles .west of Assini, or 12 miles above Axim, and ending with the village Ponni, 7 or 8 miles east of Acra."1 In modern times, Cape Apollonia (2° 35' W. long.) being accepted as the western boundary, and the mouth of the Volta river (0' 41' 2"E. long.) as the eastern, the whole coast measures about 225 miles, and this is divided into two sections, the windward or western and the leaward or eastern, the boundary between the two being the Secoom river (0° 3' 2" W. long,). Beginning at the west, the first places on the coast that deserve to be mentioned are Grand Bassam and Assini, both French settlements up to 1870. The mouth of the river Assini forms the outlet of a series of lagoons, the eastmost of which is fed by a considerable river - the Tan no or Tondo. About 55 miles eastward from this point are the Four Hills or Hummocks of Apollonia, where the English formerly had a fort ; and about 20 miles from Apollonia is the mouth of the Ankobne. Three miles further and we come to Axim, the site of an old Dutch fort built near the mouth of the Axim river ; and other 20 miles and we reach Great Friedrichsburg, founded by the Brandenburg Company. Rounding Cape Three Points (2° 7' W. long.), whose vicinity is marked by a line of breakers nearly 21- miles long, the first place of importance that we find is Akodah or Aquidah, and 10 miles beyond Akodah lies the better known Dixcove or Dick's Cove. From Dixcove Pompendi is distant 10 miles, and other 12 or 13 miles brings us to Secondee, which is only 8 or 9 miles from the mouth of the Busum (or Sacred) Prah. With the exception of the Volta this is the largest river of the Gold Coast ; it is on one of its sub-tributaries that Coomassee is situated. At the mouth of the Beyah, 19 or 20 miles eastward, stands Elmina, or in the native language Edena, one of the most important posts of European settlement, with a native population of some 10,000 (see ELM1NA). Eight miles east of Elmina is Cape Coast Castle, which was the capital of the British territory until 1876. Anamaboe, 10 miles distant, is a town of some 4000 or 5000 inhabitants, with a free port and a good landing-place ; and about 38 miles further on we come to Winnebah, which up till 1812 was the seat of an English fort. About 11 miles eastward there is another abandoned fort at Barrozoe ; and at Barrocoe we arc only 23 miles from Acra or Accra (in Tshi Nkran), the present capital of the Gold Coast colony. It was selected instead of Cape Coast Castle on account of its comparatively healthy position. In the words of Dr A. F. Elliot, it is the healthiest station on the west coast of Africa, being surrounded for miles by fresh undulating ground, and backed at the distance of a day's journey, or about 30 miles, by a range of hills where Europeans can recruit. A sanitary station has been fixed at Akropong, 1800 feet above the sea-level, where the Basel missionaries have their headquarters. About 2 miles east of Acra is the old Danish fort of Christiansborg. There is no station of much importance except Tassi, Ponce, and Great Ningo or Ningua, in the 60 miles between Acra and the Volta. The Volta, otherwise known as the Firaw, the Shilao, or the Amu, is a large river, the course of which has been only partially explored, but which may be expected to furnish a means of opening up the interior. In December 1875, M. M. J. Bonnat, journeying partly by water and partly by land, proceeded as far as Salaha or Paraha, a commercial town of some 18,000 inhabitants. He reports that the Labelle rapids, though 25 feet high, can be ascended by steamers during the rains in September and October, because at that season the river rises 50 feet. The lower part of the course is of difficult navigation in the dry season owing to the shallows, Addah, on the right bank of the river near its mouth ; Quittah, the seat of a British fort ; and Jellah Coffi, a trading port, are the principal places on the coast between the Volta and Flouhow, which lies at the eastmost extremity of the Volta lagoon. According to the ordinary divisions we enter the Slave Coast when we proceed east of the Volta.
Such are the chief points of interest along the Gold Coast, but there is a considerable range of territory extending from 20 to 60 miles inland, which belongs to the colonial protectorate ; and about this a few words are necessary. The western portion of the protectorate is occupied by the woody hill country of Fanti, which stretches northwards towards Ashantee. From the month of the Secoom a tine range varying in height from 1200 to 1500 or 1600 feet stretches N.N.E., and divides the eastern portion into two halves, Between the mountains and the sea there are large stretches of prairie land, in which the grass grows to a height of 10 or 12 feet.
The inhabitants of the Gold Coast may be divided into two great classes - the Tshi or Chee, a black type, and the Acra, a red type. The Fantis and Ashantis, both belonging to the former class, have already been described in ASHANTEE. The Akems live in a thick forest region, and maintain existence by hunting, gold-digging, and the gathering of wood snails. The capital of their country is Kyebi.' The Aquapems are extensively engaged in agriculture and in trade, both with the other tribes and with Europeans. The Ga or Acra, a clever race, greatly modified by contact with European culture, are to be found in all the towns of the West African coast RS artisans and sailors. They arc employed by the interior tribes as middle men and interpreters. On the right bank of the Volta are the Adangme2 or Adampe, distinguished by strength and rudeness. The Crobos live in little villages in the midst of the palm tree woods which grow round about the Croboberg, an eminence about 1000 feet high.
The Tshi or Chee language3 belongs to the great prefix-pronominal group. It comprises many dialects, which may, however, be reduced to two classes or types.4 Akan dialects are spoken in Assini, Ainanahia (Apollonia), Awini, Ahanta, Wasaw, Tslmforo (Jeer or Tufel), and Denkyera in the west, and in Asen, Akem, and Aquapem in the east, as well as in the different parts of Ashantee. Fante dialects are spoken, not only in Fanti proper, but in Afutu or the country round Cape Coast, in Abora, Agymako, Akomfi, Gomoa, and Agana. The difference between the two types is not very great ; a Fanti, for example, can converse without much difficulty with a native of Aquapem or Ashantee, his language being in fact a deteriorated form of the same original. Akem is considered the finest and purest of all the Akan dialects. The Aquapem, which is based on the Akem but has imbibed Fanti influences, has been made the book-language by the Basel missionaries. About a million people in all, it is estimated, speak dialects of the Tshi. The south-eastern corner of the Gold Coast is occupied by another language known as the Ga or Acra, which comprises the Ga proper and the Adangme and Crobo dialects. Ga proper is spoken by about 40,000 people, including the inhabitants of Ga and Kink3 (i.e., Dutch and British Acra, in Tshi, :\.ikran, and Kankan), Osu Christiansborg), La, Tessi, Ningua, and numerous inland villages. It has been reduced to writing by the missionaries. The Adangme and Crobo dialects are spoken by about 80,000 people. They differ very considerably from Ga proper, but books printed in Ga can be used by both the Crobo and Adangme natives. Another language known as Gum is used in parts of Aquapem and in Anum beyond the Volta ; but not much is known either about it or the Obutu tongue spoken in a few towns in Agana, Gomoa, and Akomfi. The dialects of the Ahanta country have still to be investigated.' Mahometanism and Christianity are both making themselves felt to some extent among the natives of the Gold Coast. A Danish mission was started at Christiansborg about 1736 by Protten and. Huckoff, the Moravian brethren. In 1935 the Wesleyan mission began its lahrours among the Fanti. The Basel missionaries had made a start in 1828, but it was not till 1835 that they were fairly settled at Akropong, the capital of Aquapem. They now have stations also at Kyebi, nt Kukurantimy, at Abnne, at Abokoli, at Addah, and at Aera, and the leaders of the English expedition against the Ashantees speak very highly of their labours.
The climate of the Gold Coast is notoriously unhealthy. At' Cape Coast Castle the thermometer ranges from 72° to 85° or 90°, and the amount of moisture in the atmosphere is very great. Not only are the coasts in many places lined with swamps and lagoons, but, according to Dr Gordon, the See an interesting paper by Captain Hay. "On the District of Akem in West Africa," in Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc., London, 1876.
'2 Adangme Adan-ghe, i.e., Adah language, so called from the town of Ada or Addah on the Volta.
See D. L. Carr and F. P. Brown, Mfantsi Fanti) Grammar, Tshi, Akra, by Christaller, Locher, and Zimmermann, Basel, very basis rock of the country - a granite in which iron ore and hornblende are present - gives off under the influence of the air and the rain large quantities of sulphuretted hydrogen gas. The native towns are populous and dirty, and to add to the evil it was, until the prohibition of the British authorities (at Elmina by Colonel Festing, and at Cape Coast by Governor Strahan), the custom to bury the dead in the floors of the houses. Intermittent fevers, remittent fevers (the so-called coast fever is of this class), and dysentery are the diseases thost to be dreaded by the European. " Thu native inhabitants," says Marcus Allen, " appear to enjoy tolerable health and to live to an average age ; but in the rainy season it is not uncommon to find them suffering from pleuritis and pneumonia, rheumatic attacks, bronchitis, and catarrh."
Though the precious dust to which the Gold Coast owes its name is no longer obtained in any considerable quantities by the rude methods of collection employed by the natives, there is abundant proof that the whole region is more or less auriferous, and it is possible that European energy and skill might make it again a real gold coast. In some parts of the country - in the neighbourhood of the Volta, for example - the surface of the ground is broken by innumerable small pits dug by the native miners.6 At present the value of the territory is mainly due to the profusion of vegetable products supplied by the rich alluvial soil. Of the timber trees which abound in the vast stretches of forest, the best known are several species of the genus bombax (silk cotton tree, &c.), from which canoes and wooden wares are manufactured, and the odoom used for building and cabinet-work. The cocoa-nut and the palm oil are common along the coast, and the bread-fruit tree has been introduced with success at Napoleon. Indian corn, yams, cassava, sweet potatoes, tiger-nuts, ground-nuts (Arad/is hypogwa), Guinea corn (Sorghum vulgare), Guinea grains (Amman grana-paradisi), the egg-plant (Solarium ovigerum), beanie seed, oranges, limes, shaddocks, pine apples, ginger, and indigo are some of the many objects of cultivation. Nor must the kola. nut be forgotten (Sterculia acuminate), variously styled colat, khola, and in older writers gura or gouroo ; for it is the favourite substitute in Western Africa for the betel nut, and forms an important article of export. Both tobacco and cotton are indigenous, but neither is cultivated by the natives. Coffee and tobacco are grown by the missionaries at Akropong.
The exports are mainly gold dust, palm oil, and palm kernels; and the imports, in exchange, dry goods from the United Kingdom, and tobacco and spirits from America. In 1875 and 1876 the exports were respectively of the value of £327,012 and £465,268, and the corresponding imports amounted to .E364,672 and £116,088. The revenue of the Gold Coast, mainly derived from customs duties, was ,67,368 in 1875, and £64,788 in 1876; the corresponding expenditures were £67,368 for 1875, and £93,944 for 1876. There is no public debt.
The jurisdiction of England on the Gold Coast was defined by the bond of the 6th of March 1844, an agreement with the native chiefs by which Her Majesty receives the right of trying criminals and repressing human sacrifices, pannyaring, Rze. The limits of the protectorate inland were not very rigidly defined. The purchase of the Danish forts in 1851, and of the Dutch forts and territory in 1871, led to the consolidation of the British power along the coast ; and the Ashantee war of 1873-74 resulted in the extension of the area of British influence towards the interior. By the royal ordinances of December 1874 the selling, buying, or dealing in slaves was declared unlawful, and no person can any longer be put in pawn for debt ; but those who were actually slaves at that date are left in the same state, except where cruelty can be proved against the masters.
See The Golden Coast or a Description of Guinney, together with relation of such persons as got wonderful estates by their trade thither, London, 1665: James Horton, Medical Topography of the West Coast of Africa, London, 1859, Physical and Medical Climate, London, 1S67, and Letters on the Political Condition of the Gold Coast, London, 1S70 ; Otto Fins* "Die Goldkhste and ihre Bewohner in ihrem heutigem Zustande," in Zeitsch. far ally. Erdkunde, Berlin, 1864 ; Wanderings lie West Africa by cc F.R.G.S. (i.e., Captain Burton), London, 1863; Marcus Allen, The Gold Coast, London, 1374 ; Charles A. Gordon, Life on the Cold Coast, London, 1874 ; Captain Croft, " Exploration of the River Volta," in Proc. Roy. Gcog. Soc., Bond., 1874 ; P. Warm, "Anfange der Basler Mission auf der Goldkiiste," in Evangelisehes Missions-Magazin, 1874 ; E. Buhl, " Die Basler Mission auf der •oldkiiste," Ibid., 1377. The following maps are of service : - J. Wyld, Map of British Possessions on the Gold Coast, London, 1873 ; Die Goldkiiste nach den Arbeiten der Missionarc A. Riis, Sze., Basel and Stuttgart, 1873 ; and E. Stanford, Map of the Gold Coast, &c., 1873.