A History of Ghana
A History of Ghana
Every one who writes on Gold Coast history should begin, after the fashion of the country, by pouring a libation and sacrificing a sheep in honour of Dr. Claridge, whose monumental History of the Gold Coast and Ashanti is not likely to be superseded. Though I have gone direct to many of the sources which Dr. Claridge used, I have based great parts of my narrative on his, particularly when describing diplomatic negotiations and wars between the British and the Ashanti.
There can be no question of superseding Claridge's great work; but I have tried to supplement it. Claridge's book was published in 1915. Since then much has happened in the Gold Coast which should be recorded, and much has been added to our understanding of African thought and custom, notably by the researches of Captain Rattray, Dr. Fortes and Dr. Field. I have tried to bring the narrative up to date, and to take advantage of the new light thrown by this modern research not only upon anthropology but upon history.
Secondly, as I have hinted above, Claridge is fullest and most interesting when dealing with military operations and with the negotiations between rival Governments. I have compressed the story of military and diplomatic affairs to leave more room for social and economic history.
Thirdly, although this book is based only to a slight degree on original research among European archives, it does incorporate the results of my own research among African traditional history. Rattray has published some Ashanti tribal histories in his Ashanti Law and Constitution. I have done similar work in other Ashanti States, and in Akim, Akwapim, Adansi and Akwamu; and, as footnotes will show, I have made considerable use of these traditions.
The European reader may wonder what these tribal memories are worth. Of course, they vary considerably in fullness and in length. As a general rule, Akan village traditions go back at least to the time of Napoleon, and any important town will have traditions going back a hundred years earlier. The traditions of the paramount chief of a big State will usually take us back to the . . .