kemetic-dreams: Before Christopher Columbus there were...


Before Christopher Columbus there were Africans

Christopher Columbus - Italian navigator who history told us discovered the New World in the service of Spain while looking for a route to China was not the fisrt to the Americas, but West Africans.

Relying on the classical theory of the earth’s sphericity and on incorrect calculations by 15th-century scientists, Columbus drew up a plan of a western sea route from Europe to India, which he believed would be shorter than existing routes. In 1485, after the Portuguese king rejected his plan, Columbus moved to Castile, where, with the support mainly of Andalusian merchants and bankers, he was able to get a government oceanic expedition organized under his command.

The first expedition (1492–93), consisting of 90 men on the vessels Santa María, Pinta, and Niña, sailed from Palos on Aug. 3, 1492, turned west from the Canary Islands on September 9, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the subtropical zone and reached the island of San Salvador in the Bahamian archipelago, where Columbus landed on Oct. 12, 1492 (the official date of the discovery of America). What was not mention is the Africans who were part of the journey. [ The whole journey started from Elimina in Ghana West Africa]

The history has left out the part, when on route to India and got to west Africa the town now called Elimina in Gold Coast(present day Ghana), it was the inhabitants of Elimina who told Columbus he was going the wrong way. They narrated and explain to him they have been traded with some people they believed were Indians for generations and point to the direction of the Americas. Christopher Columbus put in some thought and asked for help. The chiefs of Elimina then delegated some of his navigaters most of them traders to accompany Columbus and set sail and thats how America was discovered. The Africans who arrived with Columbus to the Americas were not slaves, but traders who knew the route very well from West Africa to the Americas for generations.

The facts
The first Europeans to arrive at the coast of West Africa were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial deposits of gold in the soil. In 1482, the Portuguese built the Castle of Elmina, the first European settlement on the Gold Coast. From here they traded, gold, knives, beads, mirrors, rum and guns. News of the successful trading spread quickly, and eventually English, Dutch, Danish, Prussian and Swedish traders arrived as well. The European traders built several forts along the coastline. The Gold Coast had long been a name for the region used by Europeans because of the large gold resources found in the area. The slave trade was the principal exchange for many years.

The British Gold Coast was formed in 1821 when the British government abolished the African Company of Merchants and seized privately held lands along the coast. They also took over the remaining interests of other European countries, annexing the Danish Gold Coast in 1850 and the Dutch Gold Coast, including Fort Elmina, in 1871. Britain steadily expanded its colony through the invasion of local kingdoms as well, particularly the Ashanti and Fante confederacies. The Ashanti people had controlled much of the territory of Ghana before the Europeans arrived and were often in conflict with them. They are the largest ethnic community in Ghana. Four wars, the Anglo-Ashanti Wars, were fought between the Ashanti (Asante) and the British, who were sometimes allied with the Fante.

During the First Anglo-Ashanti War (1863–1864), the two groups fought because of a disagreement over an Ashanti chief and slavery. Tensions increased in 1874 during the Second Ashanti War (1873–1874) when the British sacked the Ashanti capital of Kumasi. The Third Ashanti War (1893–1894) occurred because the new Ashanti ruler Asantehene wanted to exercise his new title. From 1895–1896 the British and Ashanti fought in the Fourth and final Ashanti War, where the Ashanti fought for and lost their independence. In 1900 the Ashanti Uprising took place, resulting in the British capture of the city of Kumasi and capture of the Golden Stool, the Asentehene’s throne. At the end of this last Ashanti War, the Ashanti people became a British protectorate on 1 January 1902.

By 1901, all of the Gold Coast was a British colony, with its kingdoms and tribes considered a single unit. The British exported a variety of natural resources such as gold, metal ores, diamonds, ivory, pepper, timber, grain and cocoa. The British colonists built railways and the complex transport infrastructure which formed the basis for the transport infrastructure in modern-day Ghana. They also built Western-style hospitals and schools to provide modern amenities to the people of the empire.

By 1945, the native population was demanding more autonomy in the wake of the end of the Second World War and the beginnings of the decolonisation process across the world. By 1956, British Togoland, the Ashanti protectorate, and the Fante protectorate were merged with the Gold Coast to create one colony, which became known as the Gold Coast. In 1957 the colony gained independence under the name of Ghana.

Elmina, is a town in the Central Region, situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, about 12 km west of Cape Coast. The first European settlement in West Africa, it now has a population of around 20,000 people.
The town grew around São Jorge da Mina Castle, built by the Portuguese Diogo de Azambuja in 1482 on the site of a town or village called Amankwakurom or Amankwa. It was Portugal’s West African headquarters for trade and exploitation of African wealth. The original Portuguese interest was gold but this later expanded to include tens of thousands of slaves channeled through the trading post of Elmina. The location of Elmina made it a significant site for reprovisioning ships headed south towards the Cape of Good Hope on their way to India. The Dutch West India Company captured it in 1637; in subsequent centuries it was mostly used for the slave trade. The British attacked the city in 1782, but it remained in Dutch hands until 1872, when the Dutch Gold Coast was sold to the English.
Elmina is also home to Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill, built by the Dutch in 1666, several Asafo shrines and a lagoon. Today, Elmina’s main industry is fishing.

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