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Empire by TreatyNegotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900$
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Saliha Belmessous

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391783

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391783.001.0001

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Palavers and Treaty Making in the British Acquisition of the Gold Coast Colony (West Africa)

Palavers and Treaty Making in the British Acquisition of the Gold Coast Colony (West Africa)

Chapter:
(p.161) 7 Palavers and Treaty Making in the British Acquisition of the Gold Coast Colony (West Africa)
Source:
Empire by Treaty
Author(s):

Rebecca Shumway

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391783.003.0007

This chapter reviews the relationship between Great Britain and the Fante rulers of the area that came to be known as the Gold Coast Colony (West Africa) during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. It argues that, although the British viewed themselves as governing the region as a protectorate with the consent of African rulers, in fact the political relationship between the British and the Fante was highly contested up until the 1860s. This argument is supported by an examination of three written agreements: the 1831 Peace Treaty with Asante, the Bond of 1844, and the Poll Tax Ordinance of 1852. Analysis of the context in which each of these documents was signed shows that the actual negotiation of political agreements between the British and the African rulers occurred through the indigenous West African practice of “making palavers,” not through the use of written treaties.

Keywords:   Africa, Ghana, Gold Coast Colony, Great Britain, palaver, Asante, Fante

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