AND THE BRITISH
Please click on the bulleted headings to
J, Castles and Forts of Ghana, Ghana Museums & Monuments Board/Atalante,
undated: 2000? (with fine photographs by Thierry Secretan)
Museums and Monuments Board, P O Box 3343, Accra, Ghana
42 Rue Sedaine, 75011, Paris, France e-mail email@example.com
cover picture is of Cape Coast Castle from the sea.
Kwame (ed.) The Cape Coast and Elmina Handbook: Past, present and future,
Inst. of African Studies, University of Ghana, 1995.
One CAPE COAST AND ELMINA IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
1 CAPE COAST
- 20. .
. for the greater part of their history the two towns (Elmina and Cape
Coast) have grown in parallel alongside and very much aware of each
other, keenly competing, not only in the fields of trade and political
development, but in social, cultural and architectural fields as well.
21 . . . The traditional vernacular name of Cape Coast is Oguaa, from
the Fanti Gua meaning 'market.' The traditions of origin of
the indigenous inhabitants of the town assert that the Fetu state, of
which Cape Coast, Oguaa, is the principal town, was founded by the Guan,
probably during the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. More
recent immigration of Fanti from the Techiman area took place during the
fifteenth to eighteenth centuries.
J. J., Records relating to the Gold Coast Settlements from 1750 to 1874,
Frank Cass, London, 1923 (notes)
- 36 Nov
12 1770 12 slaves belonging to John Cabbess, principal caboceer at
Komenda, some time ago barbarously murdered him. 8 of the
ringleaders delivered to (CC?) castle to be secured until their trial by
Cabbess's family. Members of his family including Cudjoe Cabboceer,
linguist here, the linguist at Elmina, Kings of Abramboe and Agnafoe,
etc. etc sentenced all 8 to death for unparalleled audacity and
villainous behaviour. British prevailed on them to execute only 4.
. . to deter other slaves from behaving in this cruel an atrocious
Jan 3, 1772 8 soldiers at CC castle afflicted
with ulcers; will never recover in this country. Sent off the
coast by any vessel who will carry them. Five pounds per head to
be paid to the Master.
Aug 11, 1772. Council held at Cape Coast Castle.
There is the greatest reason to believe that the
Ashantees intend to come down upon the Fantees and other inhabitants of
the waterside in a hostile manner. Deputies from the Heads of the
Fantees sent to ask the British what part we propose to take in case
they are attacked by their enemies and to request our assistance in
supplying them with gunpowder and guns. Fantees have always lived
in friendship with us; we will grant them every assistance should the
Ashantees attack them. The Fantees (a people long used to the
manners of the Europeans and pretty much civilized) are as neighbours
preferable to the Ashantees who are a rude unpolished set of men,
governed by a despotic tyrannical prince. Chiefs of all forts to
lay in a stock of corn and wood sufficient for 6 months and get their
guns and military stores properly arranged and act with vigilance and
A. B., A History of the Gold Coast of West Africa, London 1893
- 92 The
trade of the Royal African Company, which had commenced to decline with
the passing of the Act of 1698, that declared the trade open, was now in
a very wretched condition; the private traders, who had no
establishments on the Coast to keep up, being able to sell their
merchandise at a far cheaper rate than the Company could, while the
payment of the ten per cent ad valorem for the maintenance of the
forts was generally evaded. In 1721 the Company found it necessary to
raise a large sum by subscription; the salaries of the officials were
cut down, and Surgeon Atkins, of the Swallow who visited Cape
Coast in that year, tells us that the Company's officers, with the
exception of those of the first rank, were both wretchedly paid and
badly used. They were liable to heavy fines for drunkenness, swearing,
sleeping out of the Castle, neglect, and also for not going to church,
and according to Atkins, these fines were so frequently inflicted that
many of the subordinates found their whole pay swallowed up and
themselves in debt to the Company, which in this way obtained a hold
upon them, and prevented them from resigning their appointments. While
he was there the captain of the Company's garrison at Cape Coast Castle
escaped by night to a brigantine which was leaving the Coast; but the
escape was discovered, the brigantine was chased and overtaken by the Weymouth,
her master fined seventy ounces and flogged, and the captain restored to
the tender mercies of the Company. A Mr. Phipps was Director-General of
the English Company at this time. He built a circular tower on a hill
about half a mile to the north of the Castle, which it commanded; it was
named, after him, Phipps's Tower, but in after years became known as
Fort William. In the decay of their prosperity the Company was now
compelled to give credit to the natives, in order to compete with the
private traders, who were unable to do this, as they only remained a
short time on the Coast. Atkins says that, to secure the payment, the
Company's officials used to make persons asking for credit pawn
themselves to the Company, with the liability of being eventually sold
It was in consequence of the wretched condition of the affairs of the
Company that on March 26th, 1730, the House of Commons resolved that the
trade to Africa should be absolutely free, but that as it was necessary
to keep up the forts on the Coast, Parliament should grant an allowance
to the Company for that purpose. The trade had really been practically
free since 1700, and all that this resolution effected was to transfer
the cost of the maintenance of the forts to the English tax-payer,
instead of making the private traders, who enjoyed their protection,
contribute to their support; but it had been found impossible to collect
the sums due from the latter under the old Act. In accordance with this
resolution £10,000 was voted annually till 1744, when, on account of
the war with France and Spain, the amount was doubled. In 1745 the grant
again fell to £10,000, but in the year 1747 nothing was granted.
Relieved of the cost of keeping up the forts, the Royal African Company
contrived to prolong its existence till 1750, when an Act, entitled “An
Act for extending and improving the trade to Africa,” was passed, and
a fifth company, called the African Company of Merchants, was formed.
The slave trade had now increased to such an extent that the Gold Coast
alone was said to furnish annually ten thousand slaves for the West
Indies. This impulse was chiefly due to the success which had attended
the arms of Ashanti, and thousands of prisoners of war were sent by that
people to the great slave mart of Manso for sale to the native brokers.
The Gold Coast negroes were termed Koromantees, or Koromantyns, in the
jargon of the slave traders, this name being a corruption of Coromantine,
whence the English had first exported slaves. They were distinguished
from all other slaves by their courage, firmness and impatience of
control; characteristics which caused numerous mutinies on board the
slavers, and several rebellions in the West Indies. In fact every
rebellion of slaves in Jamaica originated with, and was generally
confined to, the Koromantees; and their independence of character became
so generally recognised that at one time the Legislature of Jamaica
proposed that a bill should be brought in for laying an additional duty
upon the “Fantin, Akin, and Ashanti negroes and all others, commonly
called Koromantees,” that should be imported. The superior physique of
the Gold Coast negroes, however, rendered them very valuable as
labourers, and this bill met with so much opposition that it was
withdrawn; and, notwithstanding their dangerous character, large numbers
continued to be introduced to the island. Bryan Edwards says: “Even
the children brought from the Gold Coast manifest an evident
superiority, both in hardiness of frame and vigour of mind, over all the
young people of the same age that are imported from other parts of
Africa. The like firmness and intrepidity which are distinguishable in
adults of this nation, are visible in their boys at an age which might
be thought too tender to receive any lasting impression, either from
precept or example. I have been myself an eye-witness to the truth of
this remark, in the circumstance I am about to relate. A gentleman of my
acquaintance, who had purchased at the same time ten Koromantyn and the
like numbers of Ibos (the eldest of the whole apparently not more than
thirteen years of age) caused them all to be collected and brought
before him in my presence, to be marked on the breast. This operation is
performed by heating a small silver brand, composed of one or two
letters, in the flame of spirits of wine and applying it to the skin
which is previously anointed with sweet oil. The application is
instantaneous and the pain momentary. Nevertheless, it may easily be
supposed that the apparatus must have a frightful appearance to a child.
Accordingly, when the first boy, who happened to be one of the Ibos, and
the stoutest of the whole, was led forward to receive the mark, he
screamed dreadfully, while his companions of the same nation manifested
strong symptoms of sympathetic terror. The gentleman stopped his hand;
but the Koromantyn boys, laughing aloud, and immediately coming forward
of their own accord, offered their bosoms undauntedly to the brand, and
receiving its impression without flinching in the least, snapped their
fingers in exultation over the poor Ibos.
From the testimony of Phillips (1693) we find that Gold Coast slaves
would always yield in the West Indies £3 or £4 a head more than these
of Whydah, who were generally called Pope, or Pawpaw, negroes. These
latter again were preferred to the Ibos, and the Awuna slaves were
considered the worst of all. Snelgrave, who made voyages to the Gold
Coast in 1721 and 1722, confirms this, and says that the Koromantees
were the most dangerous slaves to deal, with. He gives particulars of
two mutinies of slaves on board slave-ships, one at Anomabu which were
planned and carried out by Koromantees; and remarks that such slaves
were “desperate fellows who despised punishment, and even death
itself.” Some mutineers, when asked why they had mutinied, boldly told
him that he was a great scoundrel to have bought them for the purpose of
taking them away from their native country, and that they were resolved
to obtain their liberty if they could.
The large majority of the slaves exported from the Gold Coast were
prisoners of war, of both sexes, and of all ages; the residue being
persons who were slaves in their own country, and those who under the
customs of the country had become liable to enslavement for debt or
crime. Many young men, it is said, were entrapped by the wives of men of
rank, who, instructed by their husbands, formed intrigues with them and
then denounced them. By native law such an offence could only be
expiated by the payment of a sum proportionate to the rank of the
injured husband, with the alternative of slavery; and as the youths
entrapped were commonly such as could not pay, numbers thus became
enslaved and were sold out of the country.
The slaves, before being brought to market by their native owners, were
close-shaven and anointed with palm oil, so as to give the skin a glossy
appearance, and it was no easy matter to distinguish a young from a
middle-aged slave, except by the decay of the teeth. Various artifices
were resorted to by native slave dealers to give an appearance of youth
and health to slaves of an inferior quality, and there was as much
chicanery brought into play over the sale and purchase of slaves as
there is at the present day in horse-dealing. Hence, all slaves bought
for exportation were carefully examined by a surgeon, to see if they
were sound in wind and limb, and were put through various performances.
Such as passed the surgeon's examination were then branded on the breast
or shoulder; the men were coupled together with irons, and all were
consigned to the dungeons or slave-rooms of the various forts, till such
time as a ship arrived to convey them to the West Indies.
The slaves so dreaded leaving their native country for an unknown fate
in a strange land, that they often, unless most carefully watched and
secured, leaped overboard from the canoe or ship, and kept under water
till they were drowned; while others starved themselves to death. Death
had for them no terrors; there was no uncertain future to be faced.
There was simply a more or less prolonged struggle and then a change of
residence to a spirit world, similar in all respects to this, where they
would continue the old life amongst their own people; and it is not
surprising that they should prefer this to a life of unknown, and
consequently dreaded, terrors in another sphere. The natives of the Gold
Coast were so confident that after death they would rejoin their own
people in their own spirit world that during the suppression of every
rebellion of slaves in Jamaica, numbers of Koromantees committed
suicide; and dozens were sometimes found hanging to the branches of the
silk-cotton trees. By some tribe, it was held that dismemberment
prevented this return and it appears that the masters of some slave
vessels, who had reason to anticipate wholesale suicide, did not
hesitate to cut off the arms or legs of one or two slaves to terrify the
On board the slave ships, slaves were fed twice a day, and allowed in
fair weather to be on deck from seven in the morning till sunset. The
women and children were allowed to go about free; but the men were
usually kept in irons at all events till some days after the African
coast had been left, and were invariably separated from the women. Every
Monday they were allowed the luxury of pipes and tobacco. Although there
were, no doubt, individual cases of cruelty here and there, yet, on the
whole it seems that this monstrous traffic was carried on with as much
humanity as the circumstances and the system allowed. The traders had a
pecuniary interest in the well-being of each human chattel, and
therefore they did not ill-treat them, or so act as to cause their value
to be lessened. The slave ships were usually roomy and well found, and
at this time, while the trade was lawful, not half the hardships were
experienced that afterwards fell to the lot of slaves exported when the
trade was declared to be illicit.
Any account of the Gold Coast at this time would be incomplete without
some reference to the pirates who infested the whole West Coast of
Africa. The breaking up of the haunts of the buccaneers in the West
Indies had led those gentry to adopt a change of scene, and their
vessels, two or three of which usually sailed in company, roamed up and
down the whole African coast, and committed the greatest depredations.
Some of the pirates made a business of waylaying slave ships,
transferring the human cargoes to their own vessels, and selling them in
the West Indies; while others plundered and burned every peaceable
merchantman they met. They were sufficiently formidable to capture some
of the Royal African Company's forts. For instance, James Fort, in the
River Gambia, was taken by Davis, the pirate, in 1719, and Bunce Island
Fort, Sierra Leone, by Roberts, in 1720; and, as already mentioned, the
two Danish men-of-war, each of 26 guns, sent out to recover
Christiansborg from the natives, were taken by Avery in 1693. In one
year, Roberts destroyed over a hundred sail of ships along the coast,
and at last commerce became so crippled that the English Government, in
1721, sent out the Swallow and Weymouth men-of-war, to put
an end to these depredations. The Swallow fell in with Roberts,
with three pirate vessels, at Cape Lopez. In the action which ensued
Roberts was killed, and the pirates, some three hundred in number,
nearly all Englishmen, surrendered after a very feeble resistance. The
prisoners were conveyed for trial to Cape Coast Castle, where fifty-two
of them were executed; and when Smith, surveyor of the Royal African
Company, visited Cape Coast in 1727, the remains of several of these
were still hanging in chains.
William, A Voyage to Africa, London 1821
- . . .
Proceeding seven miles further in an easterly direction is Cape Coast
Castle, the British head-quarters, which is a large and commodious
building, containing comfortable apartments for the officers, and good
barracks for the privates, besides many excellent warehouses, where the
property of our merchants is lodged in the event of war with the
natives; and even in time of peace, one or two of the warehouses
are made use of for this purpose. There are also excellent tanks
for the supply of water in the dry season, or when blockaded and great
credit is due to the present chief governor for the improvements he has
made . . .
. . The Importance of the African Company's Forts and
Settlements Considered , London 1745 (quotations and notes)
of 1744 - Royal African company. The path to Ashantee,
going north from Elmina: ABRIMBAO, AMODO'S CROOM, OPPUMASHEE,
KIKKEOURA, RIVER PRA, AKOOBONG, SEEYAN (25 Dutch Miles) ....OCCOMASSIE -
60 Dutch Miles)
Strong current flows W to E except during Harmattan (E to W)
Will not every British planter in America and West India Merchant in
England grant, that the Negroe trade on the coast of Africa in the chief
and fundamental support of the British Colonies and Plantations in
America? Should our most formidable rivals monopolize the African
trade to themselves, will they not naturally furnish their own colonies
with the best of the Negroes and suffer Englishmen to purchase their
Refuse only and that too at an exorbitant rate? Our
neighbours Nations wisely consider their African trade in the light of a
nursery to their colonies and plantations in America and as such they
studiously cherish and preserve its . . .
5 Is it not evident that here is not a man in
this Kingdom, who, in proportion to his rank, the Community does not
more or less partake of the Benefits of the African Company's Forts and
Castle in Africa?
6 Before the RAC had built a sufficient
number of forts and castle on the Gold Coast, the Dutch interrupted our
Trade and seized and confiscated our ships on that coast.
19 Exports to West Africa: long list including:
and brass of all sorts, blankets, bells, amber beads, crystal and coral
beads, broad cloth, carpets, cotton stuff of many sorts, worsted
damasks, fringe, flints, fire steels, muskets, carbines, blunderbusses,
fowling pieces, pistols, gunpowder.
Imports from the East Indies: Bombay stuffs, calicoes, ginghams, guinea
cloths, sattins, seersuckers, taffaties, silks, fine hats, felt hats,
handkerchiefs, iron bars, wrought iron, knives, lead bars, lead shot,
liquors (brandy, beer, rum, wine) looking glasses, medicines, paper,
padlocks, pewter, provisions (beef, bread, butter, cheese, flour, pork,
suet, vinegar) German Scotch and Irish linen, cutlasses, swords,
buttons, gold and silver thread, coats, waistcoats, breeches, drawers,
shirts, shoes, slippers, stockings . . .
Exports: gold, beeswax, elephants teeth, gums of all sorts, cotton
wool, divers dying woods and Negroes and Laybourers for the Plantations,
24 On average it costs about £17000 p.a. to
maintain all RAC forts and castles in Africa.
Ankobra Dutch fort
Fredericksburg at Cape 3 points Dutch fort
Butteroe Dutch fort
Tacquerado Dutch factory house
Succundee Dutch fort
Shumah Dutch fort
Commenda Dutch fort
St. George del Mina Dutch fort
St Iago Dutch fort
Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle
Stone, Brick, Tiles, Lime and Tarras
Apartments for Director General, Chief Merchants, Chaplains, Factors,
Writers, Surgeons, Artificers, Soldiers
Magazines, warehouses, storehouses, granaries, guardrooms, tanks or
cisterns built with brick or tarras holding about 2000 tons,
repositories to lodge about one thousand Negroes and vaults for rum,
workhouses for smiths, armourers, coopers, and carpenters, 57 great
guns, small arms, blunderbusses, buccaneer guns, pistols, cartouche
boxes, swords, cutlasses. Ammunitions for great guns and small
arms, stores and tools for brick makers, bricklayers, armourers, gunners
and gardeners, small vessels, pinnaces, cannoes and men answerable
attending on the Castle and Garrison and for fetching and carrying
materials for buildings and stores to and from the outforts.
Ponds and canals for fresh water, gardens of a large extent, producing
all necessaries for the Castle and Shipping as plaintaines, bananoes,
pine apples, apples, potatoes, yams, corn, colworts, peas, beans,
cabbages and all other European refreshments.
A. W. Trade Castles and Forts of West Africa, Jonathan Cape, London, 1963 (quotations
and notes) See
also Lawrence, A. W. Fortified Trade Posts: The English in West Africa
Cape, London, 1968 (recast
in a shortened form and retitled) Copyright
material is used here with the permission of the owners, the Trustees of the
Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust.
- 29 European
salad plants, cabbages and cauliflowers from imported seed, fruit trees
from tropical Asia and America. Newly introduced: lemon, sugar
cane, melons, orange, tamarind, banana, coconut, pineapple, pawpaw,
guava. (mango - origin in Indo-Burmese region- and avocado -
native of Central America - were then evidently unknown) sweet potato,
yam, maize (?) cassava.
49 Senior and junior officer, free artisans,
soldiers, slaves for indoor and outdoor work. Paid
(sometimes live-in) free Africans or mulattoes. If necessary
Governor might even get supplies from a foreign fort in the
neighbourhood. In 1778 Cape Coast borrowed cartridge paper from
Elmina. In 1780 Elmina sold 55 fathoms of new 5" cable,
weight 274 lbs. at 1 oz of gold per 100 lbs. for a schooner of the
Loneliness: mutual business (between forts) usually arranged by
Only Members of Council or Company's seamen made regular journeys.
Officers jumped at the chance of going visiting, several hours by canoe
or in a hammock carried by 1 or 2 couples of men. Different
companies entertained one another, relations superficially amicable;
business rivalry, spies, plots.
1779 the indefatigable pains and perseverance, peculiar to the Dutch,
with which they by degrees endeavour in future to bring about their
beloved and political but diabolical plan to force the English town of
Komenda into uniting with their own protectorate across the river.
Tedium, strains, isolation, conditions of physical and mental distress,
grumbling, bad temper. Open dissensions and quarreling at the
Governor's table. Maudlin and assertive recollections of elderly
governor. Senior officers might arrange for Africans to drum and dance
in the garden for their entertainment. Main feature of
conviviality was drinking. English mixed their brandy with lime juice,
sugar and water. Drank to excess.
English allowed men to spend the night in the town and to bring women
into the fort. Slaves brought firewood - large amounts required.
Arrival of ships interrupted everyones routine. When the
fort's lookout sighted approaching sails, the flag was hoisted and
preparations made to receive the vessel. Canon made ready (is it a
pirate?) Friendly man-o-war or ship with VIP entitled to a salute
of so many guns. Cargo brought ashore by canoes or small boats belonging
to the fort. Canoemen organized by a bumboy, free African employed
by the fort. Transport of goods from the beach to storerooms done
by slaves on their heads. Clerical staff hard worked, inventory of
incomings, calculating prices. Ships master in a hurry - scared of
disease affecting his crew. Medical precautions. Men not to
drink palmwine. Unsuitable living quarters, poor diet, habitual
drunkenness, savage punishments. Malaria, yellow fever, waterborne
Mrs. R. (Mrs. T. Edward Bowdich), Stories of Strange Lands, London, 1835
From Cape Palmas we had little more than the current to help us.
However, this slow progress enabled us to see the
situations of Apollonia, Dix Cove, Succondee, and Commenda, all English
forts and factories; and, passing the picturesque castle of Elmina, we
cast anchor in the roads before Cape Coast. I did not go on shore till
the next day, and had ample time to contemplate the lovely appearance
this place presents, when viewed from the sea. The castle, which is a
large white stone building, and surrounded by curtains, bastions
&c., is partly erected on a rock; called the Tarbara. The
native houses, interspersed with the more tasteful dwellings of the
European merchants, lie to the right; and everywhere the hills rise from
the water's edge, covered with the richest and most luxuriant forest.
Further down the coast, and about four miles distant, the ruins of
the Spanish fort of Moree crown one of these hills; and a glimpse of the
English Annamaboo greatly increases the beauty of the landscape.
Frederick,The Lion and the Unicorn in Africa: The United Africa
Company 1787-1931 Heinemann 1974 (quotations and notes)
5 The barque Guiana 256 tons built in Sunderland 1831: 3 masts,
long and low.
Plate 6 The brig, Sarah, 118 tons, built in Denmark 1806, Two masts
Plate 3 Sailing ship with temporary awning moored alongside a trading
3 1780-1790 period of great activity for
the slave trade. c64,000 slaves being carried across the Atlantic
each year. British share c38,000. By 1785 Gold Coast was
exporting about 10,000 slaves per year. Trade in commodities was
beginning - mainly palm oil (used in Europe principally to make soap)
also ivory, gold, hides, beeswax, timber.
6 Palm fruit harvested throughout the year mainly
March to May. Fruit grows in a bunch each with several hundred
fruits. Nut, kernel (commercial palm kernel) pericarp (flesh
eaten, source of palm oil). Palm kernel oil not known in
18c. Palm oil red liquid, traditionally used as food, as an
illuminant, and for making soap in combination with ash. Oil palm
tree reaches up to 40ft. Village boys climb trees using locally made
ropes around tree and body 'to give a purchase'. Cutter climbs
palm, cuts ripe fruit bunches, collects them, takes them home.
Fruit detached, placed in cauldron and boiled with water.
Women's work, steamed fruit placed in wooden mortar and pounded
with a wooden pestle. Fruit reduced to a pulp containing fruit
fibre (with oil) and nuts. Nuts separated by hand (women and
children) Fruit fibre placed in a rope net, twisted using a stick for
leverage, wrings oil out of the fibre. Sometimes fruit mass is
placed in a canoe and treaded - oil flows to the lower end.
Palm oil supplied in calabashes.
Forest zone infested by tsetse fly which caused sleeping sickness.
Ivory coast was called Bristol Coast. Language of trade was in
general pidgin English (Dalby, David, Patterns Of Communication,
Indiana University, 1970)
13 There must have been a tremendous slaughter of
small elephants. Fresh fruit and provisions available. Trade
in blue baft (woven cloth with indigo dye) muskets, powder, leaf
tobacco, pipes, rum, second hand clothing, trinkets incl. beads.
27 Treatment for malaria was bleeding.
Surgeons essential for attending to European community.
Slaves had to be kept in health pending shipment. Surgeons pay in
1789 was £100 pa plus commission on slaves exported (worth about
Recruits graded as writers, promoted to factors. Death rate
amongst Europeans was fantastic.
James, Black ivory: a history of British slavery. London: HarperCollins,
1992. (quotations and notes)
The main factor would accumulate slaves and
other African goods to await the incoming ships. Life in the forts
was generally very difficult. Quite apart from discomfort and
disease and the inevitable deaths commercial life on the coast was a
permanent worry. Forts needed frequent and great repairs.
Humidity, torrential rains, fierce heat, corroded the buildings.
In those steamy quarters merchants, soldiers and tradesmen lived
out their unpleasant and often all too brief existence in Africa.
Monotonous procession of corpses to the local burying ground.
33 Grace, functionalism, power of Elmina.
. . . defences against Africans and other Europeans, their
big guns trained seaward against the possibility of attack by
enemy ships. They were trading posts, with a host of
offices, storage rooms and negotiating forums. They provided a
home for a procession of white men and for many more Africans. The
keeping of slaves underground is a good security against any
34 Massive airless cellar. Slave Hole at
Komenda 1756. In some forts light and air filtered into the
slaves' prisons from grilles set in the overhead walkways. The
enslaved Africans could see free people walking above them, as they were
to see the crews of slave ships pacing the decks above them.
35 Slave ships offered storage space for slowly
accumulating cargo. Africans arrived in coffles i.e. tied by the
neck with leather thongs, at about a yard distance from each other,
thirty or forty in a string. Arrived with a bundle of corn or
elephants teeth upon each of their heads. Slave trading on the
coast developed its own conventions, rituals and etiquette, all of which
had to be observed. Gifts were offered and accepted, drinks and smokes
exchanged, food cooked and consumed together.
36 Slave traders did not want sick or diseased
Africans. Experience was important in spotting sick slaves. Worst
of all were contagious slaves, for their ailments could cause
devastation in the squalid confines of the ships.. Examined slaves
as butchers examine beasts at European slaughter houses.
Countenance, stature, good set of teeth, pliancy in the limbs and
joints, free of venereal taints. If they were afflicted with
any infirmity or are deformed or had bad eyes or teeth, if they are lame
or weak in the joints or distorted in the back or of slender make or
narrow in the chest in short if they have been or are afflicted in any
manner so as to render them incapable of much labour. If any of
the foregoing defects are discovered, they are rejected. Rejected
slaves often had to bear the anger of the thwarted slaver.
G. McLean, Cape Coast in Historical Perspective, self-published? 1994
Roger. Liverpool, the African slave trade, and abolition: essays to illustrate
current knowledge and research. Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire.
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Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1975.
Richard Nelson. The British trans-Atlantic slave trade, 1650-1775. Dissertations
in American economic history. New York: Arno Press, 1975, c1971.
George E, The letter book of Capt Edward Harrington, Tr. Hist Soc of Ghana, Vol.
J. K., African European Relations on the Gold Coast 1791-1844 (thesis)
Michael. Sinews of empire; a short history of British slavery. [1st ed.]. Garden
City, N.Y., Anchor Press, 1974.
P.I., The Image of Africa Madison: British Ideas and Action 1780-1850
Davies, K G,
The Royal African Company London 1957
A. D. C., The Architectural History of Cape Coast Tr. Hist. Soc. of Ghana, Vol.
XVI, 2, New series no.1 1995
Roy and Yvonne Foy, The British in Africa, London 1971.
Colin A.. Human cargoes: the British slave trade to Spanish America, 1700-1739.
Blacks in the New World. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, c1981.
C., The British West African Settlements, 1750 -1821, London 1927
Margaret, West African Trade and Coast Society, OUP 1969
British slave trading activities MA Thesis 1964 Senate House Library London
James. Slaves and slavery: the British colonial experience. Manchester
[England]; New York: Manchester University Press; New York: Distributed
exclusively in the USA and Canada by St. Martin's Press, c1992.
James. England, slaves, and freedom, 1776-1838. Jackson: University Press of
The Cape Coast
Media Collection (database of images in .jpg and .mov format), Panoramic Images
(.mov) and the beginnings of an Architectural Inventory. From The University of
Virginia and US/ICOMOS.
Collection of photographs. From The University of Virginia.
Cape Coast Site Analysis for Integrated Planning
Paper about sensitive and sustainable site development in Cape Coast to help the
local economy through tourism. Photographs plus hightech imagery. From the US/ICOMOS
Cultural Site Analysis Initiative.