The colonial factor and social transformation on the Gold Coast to 1930
This thesis traces indigenous social and economic developments among the Akan and the incorporation of the territory known as the Gold Coast into the international world economy up to 1930. The focus for the thesis is threefold: developments and conflicts within the Akan social formation itself, pressures and demands by social classes in Europe calling for greater and new forms of contact with the Gold Coast and also, perhaps more importantly, processes which were the outcome of struggles and conflicts between the European colonisers and the indigenous residents on the Gold Coast. To assess the full nature of the political, social and economic pressures linked to the incorporation of the Gold Coast into the economies of Europe, we begin the thesis by sketching in an, account of the early contact indigenous Akan social formations. We then trace and try to characterise the differentstages of colonisation and the different demands by Europe for gold, slaves and indigenous cash crop production, and how the outcome of these European demands were largely determined by the nature of indigenous class struggles, and not simply by the wishes of actors in the so-called 'centre'. The extent and nature of indigenous slavery is explored with specific focus both upon Akan state formation, and how the Atlantic slave trade represented a change in the demands of Europe from gold to labour to work in the Caribbean, and that at that stage of history to acquire sufficient labourers the Europeans were dependent upon indigenous forms of capture and reproduction of slave labour. We examine why, at the turn of the nineteenth century, Europe returned to demand gold and cash crop production from the Akan and how this led to the formation of formal colonialism, which in its early stages was dependent upon indigenous relations of production and reproduction. We then trace the development of a colonial capitalist political economy on the Gold Coast; the 'policy' of indirect rule and the two processes of commercialisation and commoditisation of Akan land and labour.