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International Conference on the Role of the African Youth on the Continent and in the Diaspora in the 21st Century

Development of Western Civilization I.

Development of Western Civilization - II.

West African History 1000- 1960 - 400 Level Seminar.

Slavery & Emancipation.
History of Africa II (Since 1800).
Themes in Modern African History.
Islam, Christianity and Traditional Religion in African History.
Nelson Mandela: The Man, The Movement, and The Legacy. 
History of Africa I (To 1800), Pre-Colonial African History (Survey Course).  

Dr. Edmund Abaka

Department of History; Tel: (305) 284-3702; e-mail:

Office: Ashe 625F; Office hours: Tue & Thurs 2-3, or by appointment.


This lecture and readings course is designed to assist students in understanding the major political, economic and social events which have shaped European society since the Reformation. These major events include the Reformation, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, and the Political Revolutions that transformed political systems in Europe. The course will also help students analyze the problems engendered by these changes, and how European rulers and subjects alike surmounted them. In the final analysis, it is hoped that the course will help to get a better understanding of how these political, economic and social events have shaped contemporary European society.


Prior to each lecture your professor will write a list of I.D.’s on the blackboard, or on an overhead projector. This will serve as an outline of the upcoming lecture and also as a guide for review purposes.

Students are well-advised to begin each class by copying the ID’s.


Each class session will be organized in such a way that a question and discussion period will supplement the lectures. Students will, therefore, be required to do their weekly readings. The readings are essential for a good grasp of the concepts, ideas and issues discussed in the course. Class attendance and note-taking are also very important in this course.


In a survey course as broad as this one, attendance is important. A missed lecture can cost you a decade, or even a half century of history. Should you be unable to attend a lecture for good reason, find someone in class who will allow you to copy his/her notes. If, after doing this, you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me, or the Teaching Assistant for help.

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. Consistent absences (4 times or 10 contact hours) can result in a student being deleted from the class roll.



This course deals with the dispersal of African peoples throughout the Atlantic basin and the "world" they created. The survivors of chattel slavery and their descendants filtered through their shared experiences functional borrowings from both their white masters, and in some cases, Indian nations, to create distinctive local and regional ‘African’ cultures, broad patterns notwithstanding. Faced with the dreaded plantation system, slaves redefined and held on to their religious, cultural and ethnic identities as a means of survival. Survival under slavery required adjustment and change and these were in large part sought in connections with the past - language, religion and cultural practices. The mechanisms of self identity and how they were nurtured constitute the central focus of this course.

**The course requires intensive reading and class participation. Students will be required to choose a particular community, state, or region for a project. For example: The Maroons of Accompong, The Palmares of Brazil, Specific communities in Bahia Haiti, Cuba etc.

Course Outline

The Gold Coast and Ghana: 1700-1957


This survey course examines the History of Ghana from 1700 to 1957 when Ghana attained independence. It will cover topics in the precolonial and colonial period of Ghana. Some of the major themes to be discussed include, among others, the formation of the Akan and Mole-Dagbane States, Long distance trade and the spread of Islam to the Volta basin, slavery and legitimate trade, and European activities on the Gold Coast (trade and missionary work) down to the scramble and partition. The course will also analyse responses to colonialism, (especially the Anglo-Asante Wars, Anglo-French rivalry in the Northern Territories and Anglo-German Rivalry in the Volta Region); the rise of nationalism and independence. The role of indigenous industries, capital formation and women will be examined in greater detail.

There will be a three-hour lecture each week, followed by a tutorial discussion on a theme relevant to the week's lectures. Apart from the General text, students are required to read at least two of the prescribed material (articles, chapters of books etc.) for each week.


Essays topics are provided at the back of the course outline, together will a list of readings on reserve at the library and a list of General bibliography on African history.

General Text.*

1. Adu Boahen, Ghana, Evolution and Change.

2. James Anquandah, Rediscovering Ghana’s Past. Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1982.

3. Ivor Wilks, Asante in the Nineteenth Century.

4. Wilks, Forests of Gold.

5. D. Kimble, A Political History of Ghana: The Rise of Gold Coast Nationalism, 1850-1928. Oxford: Clarendon press, 1963.

6. D. Forde & Kaberry, West African Kingdoms.

* Available at the book store *

1. Sources of Gold Coast History

(a)Oral Sources (b) archival sources

(c)Colonial Office files (d) Archaeology

(e)Travellers’ accounts (f) Published Sources

(g)European archives - Dutch, Danish, French and Portuguese.

Readings: (any three)

J. Ki-Zerbo (ed.), UNESCO General History of Africa. I. Methodology and African Pre-history. 1989, Introduction.

Peter L. Shinnie, "Archaeology in Gonja and Asante Connections," in Enid Schildkrout (ed.) The Golden Stool: Studies in the Asante Centre and Periphery. New York, 1987, pp.23-28.

James O. Bellis, "A Late Archaeological Horizon in Ghana: Proto-Akan or Pre-Akan?" in Scildkrout (ed.), The Golden Stool: Studies of the Akan Centre and Periphery, pp. 36-50

2. Long Distance Trade, Early Development and State Formation

a) Akan States - Fante, Denkyira, Akwamu, Asante, Gyaman.

b) Mole-Dagbani States - Mamprusi, Dagomba, Gonja.


Nehemiah Levtzion, Bruce Haight and Ivor Wilks, Chronicles of Gonja.

Ajayi and Crowder, A History of West Africa. Vol.1

Daryll Forde and E. Kaberry, West African Kingdoms in the 19th. Century. London, 1967.

Emmanuel Terray, "Long-distance Exchange and the Formation of the State: The Case of the Abron Kingdom of Gyaman," Economy and Society 3, 3 (1974): 315-345.

K.Y. Daaku, "Pre-Ashanti States," Ghana Notes and Queries 9 (Nov. 1966)

J. Friedland & M. Rowlands (ed.), The Evolution of Social Systems. London, 1977.

K. Arhin & J. Goody (eds.) "Ashanti & the North West," Research Review, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.

K. Arhin, "Savannah Contributions to the Asante Political Economy," in Enid Schildkrout (ed.), The Golden Stool. Studies in the Asante Centre and Periphery. pp.51-59.


3. European Expansion and European Activities on the Gold Coast - Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, English.

(I) Economic activities - trade in gold, slaves and European manufactured goods.

(ii)Social activities - the beginnings of education and christianity.

(iii) Scramble and Partition of Africa - Informal and formal expansion (French, English, German)

a) The Fante states b) Asante c) The Northern Territories


Adu Boahen, Topics in West Africa.

--------------. Ghana, Evolution and Change.

D. Kimble, A History of Ghana.

Larry Yarak, Asante and the Dutch.

Kwamena Po, The Development of Education in Ghana.

4. Slavery and the Slave Trade.

a) Domestic slavery

b) The Atlantic Slave trade

c) Abolition of the Slave trade


Raymond E. Dummett, "Traditional Slavery in the Akan Region in the 19th Century: Sources, issues and Interpretation," in David Henige and Thomas C. McCaskie, (eds.), West African Economic and Social History.

R. Dummett & M. Johnson, "Britain and the Suppression of Slavery in the Gold Coast Colony, Ashanti and the northern territories," in Suzanne Miers and Richard Roberts (eds.), The End of Slavery in Africa.

Edward Reynolds, Stand the Storm

Suzanne Miers & Igor Kopytoff, Slavery in Africa

Paul Lovejoy Transformations in Slavery

P. Lovejoy & M. Klein, "Slavery in West Africa," in Gemery & Hogendorn (eds.), Uncommon Market

J.E. Inikori, Forced Migration.

Rattray, Ashanti Law and Constitution

J.E. Casely-Hayford, Gold Coast Institutions

5. Economic and Social Development in Ghana Since 1865

(I) Construction of roads

(ii) Sea ports and harbours

(iii)Sea and river transport - steamboats, mail boats, merchant shipping eg. Elder Dempster

(iv) Impact of these developments on the colonial economy.


H.J. Bevin (Comp.), Documents on Ghana History.

Kwamina Bosomafi Dickson, A Historical Geography of Ghana. 1969

Ward, A History of Ghana.

Boahen, Ghana. Evolution and Change.

6. Missionary Activity on the Gold Coast - Education and Christianity

a. English b. Dutch c. Danish activities.

(i) African Traditional Religion vs. Christianity.

(ii) Christianity and social institutions.

(iii) Education - Traditional education vs. Formal Western Education


Adu Boahen, Topics in West African History.

Boahen, Ghana, Evolution and Change.

Paul Jenkins, Correspondence of the Basel Mission in Ghana.

Bartels, The Roots of Ghana Methodism

7. Nationalist Movement and the Struggle for Independence

a) The Fante Confederation

b) The Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society.

c) Formation of Political Parties - The United Gold Coast Convention and the Convention People’s Party.


F. Agbodeka, African Politics and British Policy in the Gold Coast, 1868-1900.

Boahen & Webster, Revolutionary Years

Boahen, Ghana, Evolution and Change

UNESCO General African History Series

Kimble, A History of Ghana

8. Independence and After

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