The communities along the coastline of Ghana boast a long and vibrant maritime culture. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the region experienced creeping British imperialism and incorporation into the British Gold Coast colony. Drawing on a wealth of Ghanian archival sources, historian Kwaku Nti shows how many aspects of traditional maritime daily life—customary ritual performances, fishing, and concepts of ownership, and land—served as a means of resistance and allowed residents to contest and influence the socio-political transformations of the era.
Nti explored how the Ebusua (female) and Asafo (male) local social groups, especially in Cape Coast, became bastions of indigenous identity and traditions during British colonial rule, while at the same time functioning as focal points for demanding a share of emerging economic opportunities.
A convincing demonstration of the power of the indigenous everyday life to complicate the reach of empire, Maritime Culture and Everyday Life in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Coastal Ghana reveals a fuller history of West African coastal communities.
Kwaku Nti is Associate Professor of History at Georgia Southern University. His research interests include lived experiences of colonial southern Ghana, the African diaspora (historic and contemporary), the processes and pathways of globalization in world history.
"This book provides an in-depth study of maritime culture as well as everyday life in 19th and 20th century coastal Ghana, with an emphasis on the social history of Cape Coast. Kwaku Nti, its author, deserves high commendation for his meticulous research and laser-sharp analysis."—A.B. Assensoh, Emeritus Professor, Indiana University
"Maritime Culture and Everyday Life in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Coastal Ghana puts Ghanaian fisherfolk, gender-based organizations, and traders front and center in the making of a 'colonial' city. Trying to explain to students how to mine colonial documents and read between the lines for African ideas, frames of reference, goals, and agency? Teach this book. It is a stunning model."—Laura Fair, Columbia University
"Maritime Culture and Everyday Life in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Coastal Ghana, Kwaku Nti makes an important contribution to the social history of indigenous African institutions and figures, and the conflicts and compromises brokered between them and British imperialists on Africa's Gold Coast/Ghana. Using the optics of Cape Coast, broader historical patterns are insightfully revealed."—Kwasi Konadu, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Endowed Chair, Colgate University
"Maritime Culture and Everyday Life in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Coastal Ghana is a well-written, engaging, compelling book that brilliantly centers Akan people in the telling of their history. Kwaku Nti's use of Akan sources, coupled with his skillful reading of European sources through an Akan lens, opens new vistas for considering Africans' historical experiences. A must read for Africanists and maritime historians, alike."—Kevin Dawson, University of California, Merced