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Brokers of ChangeAtlantic Commerce and Cultures in Pre-Colonial Western Africa$
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Toby Green

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265208

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265208.001.0001

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A Motley Company: Differing Identities among Euro-Africans in Eighteenth-Century Elmina

A Motley Company: Differing Identities among Euro-Africans in Eighteenth-Century Elmina

Chapter:
(p.52) (p.53) 2 A Motley Company: Differing Identities among Euro-Africans in Eighteenth-Century Elmina
Source:
Brokers of Change
Author(s):

NATALIE EVERTS

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265208.003.0003

Euro-Africans along the Gold Coast figure as a somewhat obscure minority in contemporary European literature. Perhaps this can be attributed to the kinship system of the coastal Akan that dominated the structure of Gold Coast society and accounted for the integration of Euro-Africans into the local lineages. In Akan culture, children belonged to the abusua or matrilineal family of their mothers, either as free members or as slaves. A different recruiting mechanism was also in operation in the other fundamental institution of the southern Akan polities, the asafo companies. Elmina boys were recruited by their father's asafo, and as a rule, male Euro-Africans had to do without the patrilineal affiliation to these prestigious power associations. The dearth of these ties encouraged a certain minority of Euro-Africans to initiate their own ‘company’, which might be considered a kernel in the development towards a Euro-African identity.

Keywords:   Elmina Euro-Africans, precolonial Gold Coast, intimate encounters, coastal lineages, identity, Akan-speaking peoples

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