Political and Economic Conditions in Pre-Colonial Ghana

analytical Essay
861 words
861 words

Ghana, whether an ancient kingdom or centrally governed nation in Western Africa, has been in the fabric of economic development and exchange in Sub-Saharan Africa for the past thousand years (Berry, 1994, p. 63). Known for its abundance of gold, the nation of Ghana, touted as “The Gold Coast” by European traders (Berry, 1994, p. 63), has felt the political and economic aftermath of the world becoming less isolated over the past six centuries by virtue of growing European power. In this essay, by examining the current state of Ghana and drawing upon historical exchanges between Europeans and Ghanaians, I intend to reveal the ramifications of both British colonialism and globalization on Ghana’s political and economic infrastructure. Political and Economic Conditions in Pre-Colonial Ghana Before British colonization, Ghana employed a decentralized form of governance such as the Akan political system, where towns were autonomous and leadership was entrusted to local traditional leaders, namely chiefs, elders, and civil militia leaders (Odotei, 2008). The framework of the Akan indigenous political system also involved facets of democracy via the consultative process of electing political officials and each chief’s administration of his town, for which the Akan symbols tumi te se kosua and kurontire ne akwamu give insight (Assanful, 2013). The symbol tumi te se kosua, which translates to “power is like an egg”, describes the fragility of political power if not justly wielded or incorporating accountability, because if power is “held too tightly, it may break, if it is held too loosely, it might fall and break” (Assanful, 2013, p. 202). The symbol kurontire ne akwamu, derived from a saying “one person does not rule a nation”, draws... ... middle of paper ... introduced to the Gold Coast in 1878 by a blacksmith named Tetteh Quarshie (Ludlow, 2012, p. 7). After the Dutch withdrew their presence entirely in the Gold Coast by 1872, tensions between the Asante Kingdom and the British began to rise. The Asante, who saw the Dutch as a source of economic support, viewed the recent absence of the Dutch and increasing British presence along the West African coast as a threat to their trade access (Berry, 1994, p. 7). The Asante subsequently orchestrated an invasion of the coast in 1873, which was quickly extinguished by Britain’s military forces. With their defeat to the British in 1874, the Asante were forced to relinquish their southern territories along the coastline to the European empire, and the area soon became a British crown colony with Accra rather than Cape Coast as the new colonial capital (Berry, 1994, p. 8).

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the ramifications of british colonialism and globalization on ghana's political and economic infrastructure.
  • Explains ghana's akan political system, a decentralized form of governance entrusted to local traditional leaders, such as chiefs, elders and civil militia leaders. it also involved facets of democracy through the consultative process of electing political officials and incorporating accountability.
  • Explains that ghana was a well-established member of the trans-saharan trade network through its gold commodities, which exposed the kingdom to other cultures across the sahara, such as the muslims of north africa, and europeans.
  • Explains how the united states outlawed the importation of slaves and britain abolishes the slave trade in the gold coast. the asante viewed the dutch as a threat to their trade access.
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