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In My Time of DyingA History of Death and the Dead in West Africa$
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John Parker

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691193151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691193151.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 24 January 2022

Slaves

Slaves

Chapter:
(p.124) 8 Slaves
Source:
In My Time of Dying
Author(s):

John Parker

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691193151.003.0009

This chapter analyzes the entanglement of slavery and death on the Gold Coast. It focuses on the two eighteenth-century texts which reflect on life, death and anticipation of the afterlife in the Ga towns on the eastern reaches of the coast. The Ga (or Accra) had a long and intimate relationship with the Akan peoples to their north and west. The chapter outlines the succession of Akan overlords after the powerful kingdom in the mid-seventeenth century fell. Despite the situation, Ga merchants carved out a lucrative intermediary role and three prosperous towns grew up in association with the European forts in their midst: Kinka (or Dutch Accra), James Town (English Accra) and Osu (Danish Accra). The chapter explores how townsfolk earned their livelihood from trade, in particular the exchange of slaves for a range of imported commodities: cloth, liquor, metal goods, firearms, tobacco — all of which we have already seen come to feature in local funerary cultures. It investigates how slaves died, where and how were their corpses disposed of, and what were their prospects in the afterlife.

Keywords:   slavery, death, Gold Coast, afterlife, Akan peoples, funerary cultures, slaves, afterlife

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