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British Forts and Their CommunitiesArchaeological and Historical Perspectives$
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Christopher R. DeCorse and Zachary J. M. Beier

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056753

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056753.001.0001

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Landlords and Strangers

Landlords and Strangers

British Forts and Their Communities in West Africa

(p.206) 8 Landlords and Strangers
British Forts and Their Communities

Christopher R. DeCorse

University Press of Florida

Drawing on historical sources and archaeological work, this chapter considers the varied communities associated with the British forts and outposts of West Africa and places them in their wider economic and cultural contexts. Beginning with founding of the first English fort in Ghana in the 1630s through the construction of the smaller proto-colonial defensive works of the nineteenth century, British trading companies established dozens of outposts of varying size and duration on the Guinea coast. Although all primarily established for trade within an expanding sphere of British commercial enterprise, the outposts and the communities with which they were associated differed in terms of their histories, the cultural interactions represented, and their component populations. Predominantly African, the diverse communities associated with these forts underscore both the ways in which the expanding Atlantic economy structured these intersections and how African social, cultural, and political traditions shaped the entanglements that unfolded.

Keywords:   Atlantic economy, Ghana, English fort

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