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© Image copy: National Archives
He knows nothing about the history of slavery
Akwasi, an Amsterdam rapper and businessman, is unhappy with his compatriots. It seems as if they are all historians, Lahit Parul says. Everyone keeps saying that the Ashanti in Ghana were slave traders, when they have no evidence of that. Akwasi himself comes from these people. So.
With this, Akwasi explains that he has no cowardice or cowardice wakye He ate from the history of slavery. There is ample evidence to support the claim that the Ashanti played an essential role in the transatlantic slave trade. Their kings had before this dealt not only with the Dutch in Elmina, but also with the English, the Danes, and even for a time Brandenburg. They all had forts on the coast of Ghana. There were independent kingdoms in the interior. Only around 1900 did the English actually gain control.
If Akwasi was looking for clues about the role of his ancestors in the slave trade, he would not have gone to the University of Amsterdam library on the Singel River in vain. Then he comes across these studies, for example. I can also recommend all of Basil Davidson’s works. Now of course he’s thinking: This is another white man glorifying colonialism. on the contrary. Basil Davidson put an end to this in his pioneering investigative work.
Then there is Professor Henry Louis Gates. He works at Harvard University, where he holds a chair and directs at the same time Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. If anyone is providing the Black Lives Matter movement with essential, science-based information, it’s him. All of his works focus on African American liberation. Professor Gates never compromises on the foundations of science. Even when he confronts sacred cows or reveals unpleasant truths. About ten years ago, Professor Gates sounded the alarm in The New York Times by highlighting the role of African empires – including the Ashanti empires – in the transatlantic slave trade. Gates: Slavery was a highly regulated and profitable business for European buyers and African sellers alike.. He recommends the work of two colleagues, John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University. They wrote together Central Africa, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1660. Only from Thornton’s hand A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250-1820. Both professors have many publications to their names. They enjoy a good reputation all over the world. For the record, and for the experts among you, they are greatly indebted to the famous French innovator in the field of historical research, Ferdinand Braudel.
Last year, Professor Thornton gave a lengthy interview to Scielo, a journal published by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. There he provides an overview of his scientific views. It is an important interview because it emphasizes that African countries have not been weak-willed victims of history. Together with the Europeans in their trading posts, they created a common dynamic, one of the results of which was the transatlantic slave trade. In fact, the idea of victimhood presented by Akwasi underestimates the enormous power and creativity that Africa possesses. It sounds like disdain. You can tell the same story about Asia.
At the end of the interview, Thornton offers important advice for anyone who wants to engage in African history. Learn at least one African language. He knows only three, he humbly admits: Hausa, Swahili and Kikongo. Always study the history of one country and one people in a global context. Otherwise you are drawing one-sided conclusions.
In any case, the myth of African innocence is not only inconsistent with the facts, but is also an insult to the already despised and underestimated people of that continent.
By the way, the call educate yourself It is directed not only at Akwasi, but perhaps also at you with your prejudices and third world social prescriptions. If you don’t have one, my sincere apologies.
addition: After the British banned the transatlantic slave trade in 1807, but not slavery, the Ghanaian empires, including the Ashanti, had to look for alternatives. The most important of these was palm oil, which was produced on plantations run by slaves. Slaves became nice and cheap because the ban on transporting them to the Americas caused prices to fall. You can read about that and much more in this book.