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Frontiers of modern Ghana

Quite early on, the British began on mark out the frontiers, or furthest boundaries, of southern Ghana. The story of the northern frontiers is quite different. It was a long time before British officials visited the north. For many years, that part of the country was not surveyed. The Europeans did not know the area well enough, and they did not make maps of it until the British Conference of 1884 and 1885. Then, the British were eager to study the area carefully and to sign treaties with the chiefs. They did this because they wanted to add to the part of Ghana which was already under the rule.

Why did this become necessary? The answer is this. From about 1885 onwards, French influence was spreading from the west into the northern part of Ghana. And from the east, German influence was beginning to reach this area. Also, at the time, there was a great West Africa leader called Samory Toure.

He was fighting the French to stop them from taking more and more lands from West Africa. He was also catching many people to make them slaves. The British did not like this.

The British said: “ We must mark out the area in the north, so that the French may not take more land than their share. The Germans, too, must be stopped. Something must be done against the greedy Samory.” The Governor in Accra decided to bring the north under British rule, to stop the French and the Germans from taking too much land which could become British rule, to stop the French and the Germans from taking too much land which could become British. He said: “We must survey the north and make maps of the area. Then we can bring it under British rule.” These maps helped them to draw their boundaries with the French and the Germans.

(Story: Hidden Stories).

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