"They were the scum of Rio and the Gold Coast"
Map of British Possessions in Colonial Africa as in 1913. The Gold Coast Highlighted.
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMap of British Possessions in Colonial Africa as in 1913. The Gold Coast Highlighted. - Credit: P. S. Burton

From the early 1500s, West Africa's Gold Coast was overrun by adventurers from European nations, including Portugal, France, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Holland, looking to capitalize on natural and human resources.

The British established a fort at Kormatine in 1651, and at Cape Castle in 1661. With vessels laden with goods and gold, piracy was a problem. On March 28 1722, a trial of pirates was held at Cape Castle and 52 pirates were condemned to death. Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre says: "They were executed, according to their sentence, without the gates of Cape Coast Castle and within the flood marks." One of the pirates executed at Cape Castle was John Stephenson, a former Whitby chaplain.

Modern-day Ghana was formed from Britain's Gold Coast colony and the British section of Togoland, a German protectorate that eventually fell under the control of Britain and France. Ghana gained its independence in 1957.

 

Building the Railway from Sekondi to the Gold Mining Region of the Western Gold Coast: The British Empire in Africa
Public DomainBuilding the Railway from Sekondi to the Gold Mining Region of the Western Gold Coast: The British Empire in Africa - Credit: Leo Weinthal: Britain across the seas: Africa; a history and description of the British Empire in Africa, by Johnston, Harry Hamilton