History in AccraEdit This
The First Settlements
With scarce evidence of human settlements dating as far back as 30,000 to 40,000 years, the area of Accra and the Gold Coast is home to some of the oldest human-settled areas in the world. With a documented past that reaches back to the 12th century, present day Ghanaians’ ancestors migrated from northern areas of the country at the fall of the once prosperous Ghana Empire kingdom that ruled parts of what is today Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
The Foundation of Ghana
Founded in the late 1600s by the Ga people, the name of the city refers to “ants” in the area’s predominant language of Akan, referencing the many anthills found throughout the countryside of Accra. By the end of the 17th century, Accra had been home to the Portuguese, Swedish, British, Danish, Dutch and French who all built forts in the town and used the city as a center for trade. In present day Accra, the original Ga town, as well as the Dutch, Danish and British forts and their communities form the four corners of the core of the modern city.
The Discovery of Gold
Though gold was the original motivation for trading in the area, slave trading slowly gained prominence and then became the most profitable business for over 250 years. The British, Dutch, Portuguese and Danish all competed against one another in the industry that sold over 10,000 slaves annually and managed to construct numerous castles and forts up and down the entire Gold Coast.
In 1877, Accra became the capital of the British Gold Coast colony, replacing Cape Coast at the end of the Anglo-Asante War. Once a railway was completed that was able to transport passengers and goods to the mining and agricultural areas, the city became the center of the economy of the country.
Earthquakes in 1862 and 1939 destroyed large areas of Accra, but the city continued to grow. Spurred by a large seaport and brewery the area continued to boast economic stability and expanded throughout the next century. 1948 brought the Accra Riots and the beginning of a national campaign for independence which ultimately led to Ghana’s nationhood and independence from the United Kingdom in 1957.