WORLD HISTORY

EARLY CENTRES OF CIVILISATION

Introduction Nigeria has not produced evidence of remains of man or man-like creatures such as living between one and three million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa. However, archaeological evidences from various parts of Nigeria, suggest that parts of the country had been settled by man since the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age period: 500,000 – 900,000. Early man in Nigeria developed tools which consist of pebbles fashioned for chopping and cutting tools. Archaeologists call such tools oldowan type tools. This is because these types of tools were first discovered at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. These evidences were specifically found in Bornu. Archaeological evidence show that early man in Nigeria advanced from the early Stone Age to the later Stone Age. He soon began to make hand axes. These were tools which were oval and pointed in shape. They also had cutting edges and were trimmed from both sides. These tools were replica to those found in Acheul in Northern France and so were referred to as acheulean. Evidence of these tools present themselves in Jos, Plateau State. The oldest of surviving groups of Nigerians are to be found in the forest of the South. The largest known groups of this region were the Yoruba and Edo; others are the Igbo and Ibibio. These evidences have been thrown up by centres of early civilisation. These sites include Nok, in Jos and Taruga in South-East Abuja. Others are lle-Ife, Esie Iwo-Eleru, Lokoja, Benin and Igbo-Ukwu. Early History of Nigeria relates to the period of history in which archaeological evidence has shown that people were already living in Nigeria at Iwo Eleru, Ondo State as early as 11,000 BC and perhaps earlier in Ugwuelle-Uturu in Okigwe in south eastern Nigeria. In Taruga, there is the earliest evidence of the use of furnaces specifically employed in the production of ceramics or pottery. The Efik, Ibibio and Annang represent a large group of people having single ancestry and were known to have lived in the area several thousand years before Christ. Nigeria pre-history is believed to have developed an early iron age as evidence from Kainji Dam excavation show that iron works had started in Nigeria by the second century B.C.   Centres of Early Civilisation/ Cultural Centres Nok culture and artefact The main evidence of West African earliest use of iron comes from Nok in Nigeria. Archaeology has shown how people who lived in the region of the Niger-Benue confluence used iron as early as 500BC. The site of this evidence is known as Nok in the western part of Jos Plateau. It extends as far as Ankiring, Kagara, Taruga and Yelwa. It was characterised by terracotta figurines’ mostly heads of human beings. Other artefacts included round stone axes, iron axe blades, small stone arrow point and bards, and some quantity of pottery. Not far from Nok Culture to the North East of Borno was Diama. It produced simple clay/terracotta animal figures and bronze figures which were dated 500B.C. and crafted by Neolithic or Stone Age population of herdsmen. Significantly, was the development of circular shaped hut which had floors made of potsherds pavement. The fired clay figures included humped cows, sheep and human beings. The Nok Culture represents a period of cultural transition; that is, from one major culture advancement to another. This is due to the presence of both the Stone Age tools and Iron Age tools within the same cultural complex. The discovery of Nok Culture clearly shows the development of the Nok Man at par with his counterpart in other parts of the world. His tools were similar to those of the Acheulian man in northern France.   The Ife culture and artefact Ife is an ancient town regarded as the cradle and spiritual home of the Yorubas. Ife is 320 kilometres South West of Nok. The first Ife works to be discovered were glass beads known as Segi. It was discovered by Richard and John Lander in 1836. But Ife is best known for its life-size brass heads executed in naturalistic style. There were also terracotta heads of humans and animals which appeared natural or semi natural. These heads had tribal marks called Striations and they distinguished them from other terracotta works. Ife Bronze belongs to what has been referred to as the lost wax system of cire – purdue method. It is believed to be the oldest system in Africa. Ife artefacts like those of Nok were found at Jebba, Tada and Jitaga all villages located on the Niger. These are called the “Tsoede bronze”. This is indicative of inter-group relation between the Yoruba and the peoples of the Niger. At Esie, half way between Ife and the River Niger is a collection of stone figures whose location might be significant in the Northward trade from Yoruba land.   Benin culture and artefacts Benin is South East of Ife, Benin is notable for her Bronze work, wood carving and extensive sculpture on walls. Benin bronze are naturalistic in shape and size. They depict the people in their true nature and give special cognisance and regard to the institution of Obaship similar to that of Ife. Benin bronze work served the same purpose as those of Ife, but those of Benin had other dimensions. They do not only depict the Kings and palace activities, but also indicated Benin’s connections with Europeans. This centre was discovered in 1959 by Frank Willet who worked on the Benin Baptist Church site when digging foundation trenches, and threw up quantity of pottery. Apart from bronze, Benin culture comprises a massive complex network of earth work of walls which circumvent the inner city and various other cells which indicated early nucleation and centralisation.   Igbo ukwu culture and artefact Igbo-Isaiah Igbo-Ukwu lies about 30km south east of Onitsha. In 1939, a man hired to dig a latrine-pit by Mr. Isaiah Anozie accidentally discovered some objects and ornaments made of bronze. Further excavation on the site by Professor Thurstan Shaw between 1960 and 1964 revealed sacred vessels used for some ceremonial or ritual purposes and of ornaments and regalia for some important person or persons. This was probably a shrine. This site is referred to as Igbo-Ukwu-Isaiah.   Igbo-Richard The second site, Igbo-Richard, was a burial chamber of some important person. The individual was found in a sitting position atop a copper studded in the corner of a wood line chamber. Its arms were supported on copper brackets and had been dressed in coronation finery with a copper crown, a bead covered head dress, a copper pectoral plate on its chest, fourteen anklet, four wristlets and a pair of bead in-laid copper armlets. In one hand, it held a fly switch whose handle portrayed a horse and its rider. There were also three elephant tusks and a long handled hand fan with feathers and a copper holder.   Igbo-Jonah The third site, Igbo-Jonah, appeared to be a refuse pit, but produced the most decorated pots ever to be made by a potter; there were also 200 finely worked copper wire links; other objects of either copper or bronze were thirty-five wristlets, two small balls, six cylindrical staff ornaments, a long painted rod, a large jingle ornament and various other miscellaneous pieces and a large quantity of broken pottery as well as a number of complete vessels.   Significance of Early Centres of Civilisation in Nigeria Firstly, it adequately proved that early man in Nigeria participated in the Stone Age. Archaeological discoveries in Diama and Borno, Iwo Eleru, in Osun and NOK, all point to the fact that early Nigerians fashioned stone tools like other groups elsewhere in the world. Indeed, there are evidences of Achuelian and Sangoan tools in Nigeria. Widespread evidence of terracotta and brick works also point to an advancement in technology. Ceramic work or terracotta appeared in all cultural centres in Nigeria; and in all cultural centres, there were evidences of advancement and these advancements show a sequence of cultural advancement among the various groups. Besides, its widespread from the North East to the North Central, to South West and South East points to the fact that there must have been contacts between the peoples of Nigeria long before the coming of Europeans. Copper, as an alloy in the production of bronze among Benin and copper items in Igbo-Ukwu, pointed to the fact that both Benin and Igbo-Ukwu had been engaged in long distance trade along the Niger. This might have been either to northern Nigeria or towards Mediterranean Africa. The cowry shells found in Benin indicated direct contact with Mediterranean Africa-North Africa through the Niger water ways. Pink beads in both IgboUkwu and Benin also stresses this fact. The method of casting bronze in all centres were similar. They used the lost wax or cire pedure system indicating a cultural diffusion properly carried by interaction, migration and intergroup relations among the people of Nigeria long before the advent of Europeans on the coast of Nigeria.   COMPLEX WORDS Paleolithic: This refers to an era marked by crude and early stone implements. Archaeology: This refers to the study of old age and ancient materials such as the remains of buildings, monuments of an ancient historical period, inscriptions, implements, written manuscripts, other relics etc. Acheulean: This is an early age industry that is characterised by primitive technology and manufacturing of tools such as stone handaxes. The acheulean hand-axes were multi-purpose tools used to accomplish variety of domestic tasks.

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THE SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA

The Europeans had frequented the coasts of West Africa since the fifteenth century and established settlements along the coast in order to facilitate trade, in particular the transatlantic slave trade. There was, however, little interest in driving colonisation inland before the 1870s except in the Cape region (South Africa) and in Algeria that the French had turned into a settler colony, i.e. a colony where waves of European migrants often violently dispossessed the inhabitants of their lands. Forty years later, the situation would be radically different; in 1910, only Liberia and Ethiopia escaped European rule. What were the reasons behind Europe’s Scramble for Africa and why did it happen so rapidly at the end of the nineteenth century?   The Industrial Revolution Many historians and economists have argued that the colonisation of Africa was the direct consequence of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. During the nineteenth century, most European powers experienced a dramatic growth of productivity caused by a number of technical innovations such as steam engines, steel furnaces or electric power. It meant that European countries produced more goods than they could sell. They were constantly looking for new markets because the Europeans did not consume enough to absorb the vast quantity of products made possible by new manufacturing techniques. This is the theory of European under-consumption. This under-consumption led companies and states to look for trading opportunities around the planet. For them, the continent that they knew the least, Africa, needed to be open to trade. In exchange for tropical products in high demand in Europe, Africans would receive their manufactured products. The British, for example, wanted to obtain palm oil, cotton and rubber from the Gold Coast or groundnuts from the Gambia. Palm oil was used to create industrial lubricants, cotton to produce clothes, rubber to manufacture tyres and groundnuts were transformed into soap and wax. African products were thus at the centre of the Industrial Revolution. Powerful capitalistic interests were therefore among the reasons which pushed the Europeans to send expeditions along the rivers of Africa in the second half of the nineteenth-century. This explains why the colonisation of Africa was often driven by chartered companies, i.e. European private investors receiving privileges from their government to trade in territories outside of Europe. Some of these companies were instrumental in the creation of colonies as was the case for the Royal Niger Company in Nigeria. After years of transatlantic slave trade, industrialisation and what former slave trading European nations called “legitimate commerce” had thus become a strong motive reason for the European colonisation of the continent. This was then justified according to other pseudo-explanations, as we shall see below.   European Scientific Developments It could be argued that the Europeans could have invaded Africa before for the same commercial reasons. So why then did the colonisation of the continent take place at the end of the nineteenth century and not before? The reason might come from new technological developments of the Industrial Revolution. New weapons enabled the Europeans to conquer vast swathes of lands in a very short period of time whilst African societies did not have the tools to fight efficiently. The British army’s Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle could hit a target nearly a mile away, and could be fired 12 times a minute. The Maxim gun could fire 600 rounds a minute. In comparison, many Africans were fighting with single-shot muskets. Superior weaponry did not mean that many Africans were not able to defend themselves in a series of localised conflicts. Indeed many resisted European troops. For example, in modern-day Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali and Ivory Coast, Samori Ture fought against the French until his capture in 1898. The Asante in modern-day Ghana also chose to fight against the British to defend the Golden Stool. The Bijagó of Guinea-Bissau resisted formal colonisation and hut taxes until the 1930s.   Other tools also facilitated the European invasion at the end of the nineteenth century. The steamboat and the telegraph accelerated the pace of the colonial conquest as faster travel and communication meant that European armies could easily distribute troops in different corners of Africa for short periods. Tropical diseases were brought under control by scientific discoveries. Before 1860, Europeans in West Africa were 75% likely to die within 2 years, but the treatment of malaria with quinine saw the risk fall to 8% by 1900.   Humanitarianism and Racism Beyond material causes, the scramble for Africa required an ideological justification. The colonial conquest was based on the religious idea of a ‘mission’, the ethical idea of ‘ending slavery’, all inspired by racist ideas. After being responsible for the enslavement of more than twelve million Africans between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Europeans ironically justified their African conquests in the name of the abolition of slavery. At the end of the nineteenth century, the slave trade became considered inhumane, and contrary to Christian values in the case of Britain and Republican values in the case of France. The 1889-90 Brussels anti-slavery conference perfectly illustrates this new vision of Africa where the Europeans considered themselves as the saviours of Africa – a vision which prefigures modern-day humanitarian interventions in Africa after natural or political upheavals. For the British, Civilisation, Commerce and Christianity (often known as the 3 Cs) were the main reasons behind colonialism. For secular France, it was the ‘civilising mission’. It had become a duty to bring peace to Africa to educate the Africans as they would be freed from the ills of war, disease and famine. According to racist theories developed in Europe by the end of the nineteenth century, Africans were supposed to belong to an inferior race which had to be enlightened by Europeans. This racist justification of colonialism was backed up by pseudo-scientific theories which situated Africans at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. Therefore, it was the ‘white man’s burden’ to educate an inferior race. These theories materialised again as justification for Apartheid in South Africa.   European internal politics and rivalry Internal European politics might be responsible for the beginning of the Scramble for Africa. In 1870, newly-created Germany won a war against France. After this France tried to restore its national pride by competing with the Ottoman Empire and Italy for domination in North Africa and with the United Kingdom for commercial influence in West Africa. The new French colonial empire in West Africa presented an opportunity to show the strength and the values of the French Third Republic. For the British, the Suez Canal was a crucial bridgehead for the sea route leading to India. Egypt was officially under the control of the Ottoman Empire but was experiencing a series of political and economic upheavals in the 1870s. Afraid of losing control of such an important economic and strategic asset, the British invaded Egypt in 1882. For the British, the occupation of Egypt marked the transition between the period of informal empire, i.e. the period when empires dominated strategically or commercially non-European regions without claiming the territories as their own and high imperialism, i.e. the period when European powers invaded non-European territories. The rivalry between European powers was also one of the main drives behind the Scramble for Africa. In order to prevent each other from acquiring more territories, the Europeans carved up the African continent into colonies. Acquiring prestige by invading new territories was particularly important and the competition between the British and the French was responsible for the creation of most borders in West Africa.   The Partition of West Africa Most African borders were created rapidly between c. 1900 and the end of the First World War by the Europeans. Why did it happen so quickly and how was West Africa partitioned?   African territories at the end of the nineteenth century Europeans imagined Africa as terra nullius: a vast land belonging to no none. Terra nullius was a legal invention of the Europeans to justify their encroachment on non-European lands. This was of course an absurdity which took no heed of the realities of complex African states and historical changes dating back to distant times. It was an invention of racist historians who knew nothing of Africa. During the nineteenth century, there were many well-organised states in West Africa. For example, following the jihad of Usman dan Fodio at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Hausa-Fulanis created a caliphate which was the largest state in Africa at the time, and which had extensive textile industry and long distance trade. Meanwhile, the neighbouring kingdom of Borno was the heir of the sixteenth-century of the empire of Kanem-Borno, while in Guinea the Fuuta Jaalo state spread over a large area and conquered Kaabu’s longstanding empire in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau in the 1860s. While these larger states may have been the exception during the nineteenth century, smaller communities in West Africa also had a long history of trade and contact with the rest of the world. In the nineteenth century, West Africans lived in complex and varied political systems where authority could be exerted by men and women alike.   The African reaction to the arrival of European troops The difference between societies living in organised states and those living in non-centralised polities might explain why African men and women reacted differently to the arrival of colonial troops. Historians have tried to explain why some of them chose to fight while the large majority of them did not make or were not offered the same choice. In societies with little tradition of centralised government, traditions of local autonomy made submission to a colonial empire inconceivable (for example, the relatively small communities living in the Niger Delta, Nigeria or the Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau). Other larger societies in contact with the European for longer might have known the superior European firepower and accommodated themselves to the prospect of foreign rule accordingly; their subjects were also used to accommodating to political power, so the larger states were easier to conquer – as the Spanish had found in the Americas in the sixteenth century. Other societies were also profoundly divided and used the Europeans in their internal struggle. Africa like other continents was not a monolithic block and the idea of a continental-wide African resistance to colonialism would be anachronistic. Africans were thus divided when European troops conquered the continent. For example, the British became players in a civil war in Northern Nigeria and backed one side against the other. This was the pattern of divide and rule which had long been used by European imperialists, since the sixteenth century. In 1903, the conquest of Kano was thus undertaken with the help of its own inhabitants, just as the conquest of Mexico City by the Spanish had been undertaken with the help of Native American allies from Tlaxcala.   The military conquest of West Africa The conference of Berlin in 1884-85 set the rules for the partition of the whole of Africa. Strangely, it recognised the Congo Free State as the personal possession of Leopold II, the king of Belgium. Leopold II had been one of the instigators of the formal European land and power grab, and was personally rewarded for this role; the result would be the creation of one of the most inhumane of all the European colonial systems established in Africa. Otherwise, the conference did not create borders in West Africa. Rather it allowed free navigation on the Congo and Niger Rivers. The conference of Berlin stipulated that in order to claim a colony in Africa, treaties needed to be signed with local rulers. The years following the conference of Berlin saw the multiplication of expeditions which aimed at signing treaties. However, these treaties were often misunderstood by local rulers who did not know that they would lose their authority. These were also expeditions backed by strong military force, which gave the rulers little choice other than to agree. To have their conquests recognised by the other colonial powers, the Europeans introduced the concept of effective occupation. Effective occupation meant that the…

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THE HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT OF THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT IN WEST AFRICA

The land of West Africa consists of contrasting kinds of physical environment. The forest environment differs from the savanna environment, a mountainous area from a flat lowland area, riverine area from one away from a river, an area with predominantly sandy soils from one with predominantly loamy soils. Each kind of physical environment presents a peculiar set of problems or challenges which must be solved if people are to survive on the land. A farmer, for example, should take the physical characteristics of the land into serious consideration and devise suitable methods to ensure that he gets good results. He would probably perish or live a very simple and miserable life if he were unable to find ways of solving the problems of the physical environment.   GEOLOGY West Africa, like most parts of Africa, is largely composed of Pre-Cambrian rocks, which have been folded and are often aligned from north- east to south-west, as is reflected in much of the relief. They are exposed over about one-third of west Africa or over two-thirds of the area south of  12o N and are part of the vast continental platform of Africa which in West Africa has an average elevation of about 400m (1,300ft). The oldest rocks may be about 4000 million years old. Some are metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, others are ancient volcanic and intrusive. Pre-Cambrian rocks have been variously subdivided, but their ages are uncertain as radioactive dating methods are not reliable with metamorphic rock. This oldest or lower Pre-Cambrian, comprises the Archaean or Dahomeyan and probably the Birmian system. The Archaean consists of highly metamorphosed rocks. Prevalent acidic types are mica schists, gneisses and quartzites, most are the product of the granitisation and metamorphism of original sediments. Basic rocks are garnrtiferous geneisse and amphiboite. Gneisses of similar composition are found in the Kasila series of Sierra Leone and others are known in Mauritania and Nigeria. The Birimian system occurs in southern Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The lower Birimian has folded and steeply dipping alternating grey-wacks and argillaceous beds, as well as some tuffs and lavas. The upper Birimian (Greenstones) consist mainly of volcanic rocks. The Kambui and Marampa schists of Sierra Leone may also be Birimian.   RELIEF West Africa lies generally about 200m and 500m (600 to 600ft) and consists mainly of the worn monotonous and fairly level surfaces of the platform of Pre-Cambrian rocks. Higher relief may occur where trends in the ancient rocks can still be traced from the north-south hills of the Sierra Leone interior. Residual granite domes are common and the ‘Younger Granites’ are responsible for some bold relief, an example is the Jos Plateau in Nigeria. Certain series of the Pre-Cambrian give higher relief. An example is the several Birimian, Tarkwaian and Akwapim-Togo –Atacora ridges.   DRAINAGE The drainage characteristics of West Africa may be summarized as follows: Rapid run off on crystalline rocks, especially on the south or south-western Pre-Cambrian shield, where the rainfall is particularly heavy. Behind the south western and Guinea coasts, rivers are cutting down to new base levels, probably because of Miocene and later uplifts and inward tilting. Thus the Volta River is gaining at the expense of others. The Guinea Coast Rivers are frequently interrupted by rapids and deposit relatively little alluvium, except close to the shoreline. Greater maturity and indeterminate courses of the rivers of the sandy central lowland zone compared with the immaturity and vigor of the Guinea Coast Rivers. The Senegal, middle Niger and the upper reach of the Volta rivers have devious courses from the central zone. Great seasonal variations in river flow a seasonal rain causes extensive flooding eg. along the Central Niger.   AGRICULTURE Agricultural pursuits are the basis of almost all West African life. As in any part of the world, important determinants of crop distribution are climate and soils. In the forest, crops have to be raised from small plots by periodic cutting and burning. Soil becomes exhausted and, as there is very little animal manure and artificial fertilizers are expensive and difficult to use satisfactorily in the tropics, there is no simple alternative to a long fallow period. Thus the forest farmer generally expends much energy per acre. Yet he is more than compensated by growth of permanent tree crops such as the cocoa, the oil palm, kola and coffee. By contrast, savanna farms are generally large and less varied in their crops, as the shorter growing periods restrict the farmer to one main crop unreliability of rainfall and lack of bumper harvest are challenges that may encourage more  careful cropping. Population presence may also induce better farming, for example, the Kabrai of Togo, the Hausa around Kano and others. Inter cropping or double cropping is very common in West Africa. Although this method may seem inefficient and looks a muddle, it saves labour and land and limits soil erosion by keeping the ground covered. Moreover, some plants may benefit from inter-cropping. On the other hand mixed cropping may necessitate the use of crop varieties tolerant of this system.   THE DISCOVERY OF COCOA The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) originated in South America and its bean consumed as a drink by Mayans and Aztecs. Historians believe the Olmecs (first major civilization in Guatemala and Mexico) first discovered that the cocoa fruit was edible by observing rats eating it with gluttonous vigor. They soon realized the tree produced a fruit with a thousand flavors and nearly as many uses. The Olmces (1500-400BC) were almost certainty the first humans to consume chocolate, originally in the form of a drink. They crushed the cocoa beans, mixed them with water and added spices, chillies and herbs (Coe’s Theory). They began cultivating cocoa in equatorial Mexico. Over time, the Mayans (6000 BC) and Aztecs (400 AD) developed successfully methods  for cultivating cocoa as well. For these civilizations, cocoa was a symbol of abundance. It was used in religious ritual dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god responsible for bringing the cocoa tree to man to Chak ek Chuah, the Mayan patron saint of the cocoa and as an offering at the funerals of noblemen. Cocoa beans were also used as a form of currency in pre-Columbian Mexico. Cocoa production advanced as people migrated throughout Meso-America but consumption of the drink remained a privilege for the upper classes and for soldiers during battle. By this time, the re-invigorating and fortifying virtues of cocoa were becoming widely recognized and embraced.   COMMERCIALIZATION OF COCOA (16TH CENTURY) In 1502, Columbus got his first glimpse of cocoa beans on a native canoe during a stop-over in Nicaragua, but he did not appreciate its awesome potential value. The true importance of this ‘brown gold’ was not recognized until Hernando Cortez drank it with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, and brought it back to the Spanish court in 1528 along with the equipment necessary for brewing the drink. Even then, it is unlikely anyone envisaged it ultimate importance as a world commodity. Following a victorious war against the Aztec empire and the downfall of the Aztec civilization, Cortez intensified cultivation efforts in New Spain, with the intention of developing a lucrative trade with Europe. The Spanish court soon fell under the spell of this exotic elixir and adapted it to their taste, adding cane sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and pepper. Initially Spain reserved cocoa for its exclusive use, carefully guarding its existence from the rest of the world. They were so successful keeping cocoa secret that when a group of English pirates captured a Spanish gallons, not recognizing the value of the weighty cargo of beans, they burned them! In 1585, the first cargo of cocoa beans arrived on the Iberian Peninsula from New Spain (the Spanish name for Mexico. This launched the trade in cocoa, and resulted in the establishment of the first chocolate shops, thus ushering in a new era of rapidly growing demand for this mysterious nectar from the new world.   THE EARLY INTRODUCTION OF COCOA TO WEST AFRICA  The date of the first introduction of the Cacao tree to the British West African possessions is somewhat uncertain. The credit of having first brought the cacao tree from the New World to the African tropics undoubtedly goes to the Portuguese. They are reputed to have planted cacao on the island of Sao Tome (off the coast of Gabon) as far back as 1822. It was not until about 1870, however, that cultivation was undertaken seriously there. By 1895, the export of cocoa beans from this island had reached a million kilograms, which was a considerable quantity for those days.   ORIGIN OF COCOA IN GHANA  With regard to the Gold Coast, which has been for many years the leading cocoa producer of West Africa, it is stated that in 1868 the Basel Mission at Akropong (in Akwapim, Eastern Province) had a few cacao trees growing in their grounds and that these were flourishing. It is also stated that in 1879 a native of Mampong (also in Akwapim) brought back pods from Fernando Po (an island off the Cameroons) where he had been working, and raised a few trees which he planted on his farm near that village. These trees are believed to have been the parent trees of the Gold Coast industry. Cultivation on the Gold Coast was greatly encouraged by Sir William Griffith, who was Governor from 1880 to 1895, and who established the botanic garden and experiment.   ORIGIN OF COCOA IN NIGERIA  In Nigeria, the position is very similar to that of the Gold Coast. For cocoa is alleged to have been first introduced there by a native chief called “Squiss Banego” in 1874—also from Fernando Po. He established a cocoa farm in the Bonny district and cultivation spread. By 1887-9 a few plantations had been established by European companies, those of the Royal Niger Company at Abutshi and Onitsha being taken over by the Government of South Nigeria in 1900. It is thus apparent that the cacao of both the Gold Coast and Nigeria was derived from a common source—Fernando Po. From which part of the American tropics the Portuguese obtained their seed or plants in the early part of last century there appears to be no record, but it is probable that they would have come from Pará in the Amazon region, or from other parts of Brazil.   ORIGIN OF COCOA IN SIERRA LEONE In Sierra Leone the cacao in cultivation is conceded to be of a different type from that in general cultivation in the Gold Coast and Nigeria. This raises the question of the origin of Sierra Leone cacao. In this connection it may be of interest to note that among old records at Kew is one of young cacao plants being sent to Glasgow Botanic Garden for shipment to West Africa on the 30th August, 1864. Unfortunately, there are no details as to the ultimate destination of the plants and how they fared. However, it is probable that at this early period they would have been consigned to Freetown and not to any other part of West Africa. As the voyage is a comparatively short one it is quite probable the plants survived and ultimately became established in Sierra Leone. At about this time, economically productive plants of various kinds, including cacao, were constantly sent from Kew to such far off places as the botanic gardens at Brisbane and at Durban and usually survived the long voyage. There was free intercourse and exchange of plants between Kew and the West Indies at this period and the probability is that the cacao plants dispatched from Kew in 1864 were raised from West Indian seed and were not of Brazilian origin as is believed to be the case with the early introductions to the Gold Coast and Nigeria. There is thus the interesting probability that the present day cocoa of West Africa (apart from recent introductions at experiment stations) is of dual origin, that of the Gold Coast and Nigeria having originated…

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SEROLOGY AS A SOURCE OF AFRICAN HISTORY

Serology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study of blood types. It deals with the blood serum components that protect the blood against diseases.   ADVANTAGES OF SEROLOGY Human blood varies in composition from one person to another in the sense that some genes present in some people in some people are absent in others. For that matter people can be categorized according to their blood groups. It is therefore possible that adequate knowledge of a predominant blood type in another area or region should be able to establish some kind of hypothesis that the people of region A must have formed part of region B. Belonging to a source: Studies in the frequency of the sickle cell should be able to give the clue that, people belong to a particular source. A very good example of how the studies in the frequency in sickle cell can help historical research could be found in Windward Coast in Liberia. In this region, the Kru people are almost devoid of the sickle cell trait. Yet it is very common among the neighboring people. This confirms the fact that the Kru has been a close community who did not intermarry with their neighbors.   METHODS USED IN GATHERING/COLLECTING INFORMATION FOR THE WRITING OF AFRICAN HISTORY To collect data for the reconstruction of African history, the historian must not rely solely on written sources or non-documentary sources but rather the following methods must be employed to check biases, prejudices and exaggerations. Personal enquiry and interview: One method of gathering information from non-documentary sources of African history is interviewing of knowledgeable persons about the culture of a particular community. This is to say that the historian must interview people about the information of the past such as eye-witnesses or traditional historians like court linguists, older court officials and the elderly. The historian can record these interviews and later play, write out and analyze the information given. Inter-disciplinary approach: Another method of gathering information about African history is the interdisciplinary approach. Cooperation with scholars in other fields of knowledge gives information for African history. The historian has to cooperate with specialists like the linguists, archeologists, botanists, ethnographers among others to obtain materials that can be used to reconstruct African history. The researcher works together with these scholars to gather important information to draw valid conclusions. Reviewing: In writing African history, one can use the review method to get information by reviewing the written sources such as books, newspapers, journals, broadcasts, diaries, manifestoes, and private letters among others, by reviewing the research through written sources both primary and secondary for information which they examine and cross-check. Even though these written records have shortcomings and inadequacies, they can be reviewed by the historian to ensure an accurate reflection of the past. This helps to produce unbiased history which is backed by evidence. Questionnaire: To get the best results of collecting data for writing African history, a carefully composed questionnaire should be used which must cover the political, economic, social, religious and technological aspects. In this situation, a series of well-structured questions are given out to persons who know about the past to solicit for information. The responses to these questions are gathered and analyzed by the historian in order to draw a reasonable conclusion. Personal Observation and Records: Through personal observation by visiting places of historical importance like slave sites, castles, forts etc. and personally recording events like festivals, funerals and the like, important findings can result in the collection of data for writing African history. Such details are necessary since they constitute first-hand information as the events happened before their own eyes i.e. eye witness account. Such accounts can be compared and questions are asked on them to get a reliable view of what actually happened in the past. Reliability of the sources for the study of African history: Despite the fact that written and unwritten sources of African history have shortfalls, we can still describe them as adequately reliable, since the work of a historian is based on historical methods where they use scientific methods in drawing conclusions. Written records of history have a high level of precision and very reliable. All the documentary sources e.g. newspapers, personal letters, diaries, journals, manifestoes etc. can be reviewed and cross checked for a fair assessment of the past. This process helps to get rid of prejudices, biases to ensure truthfulness. By putting written records side by side with other forms of evidence, the historian can establish an objective conclusion. The reliability of unwritten sources of history cannot be underestimated since they all involve scientific methods in carrying out researches. For instance, the Ghanaian linguist, Professor Abena Dolphyne undertook a research on the Bono, Asante and Fante people and arrived at an important conclusion. She found out that the Asante language is less related to the Fante. Also, archeology which is our main source of information on African history uses scientific methods like reconnaissance, stratification, radiocarbon and potassium argon dating methods and data analysis. These methods help archeologists to come to accurate and reliable conclusions significant for historical writing. Reconnaissance involves the process of discovering sites and plotting them for digging. However, archeology as a non-documentary source of African history has some flaws. It is an unfortunate fact that there is no conscious system of preserving archeological knowledge. For that matter what archaeologists come across may be an accidental preservation. In this case, one goes into archeological excavation with the idea of acquiring some knowledge but relying on chance if not luck. Again, archaeological remains are subjected to wear and tear, weathering, and disfigurement and therefore are likely to present difficulty in the historians’ attempt to derive very reliable information from them. The process of radio-carbon dating is very expensive and that constitutes a hindrance to effective research. Moreover, oral tradition is full of exaggeration on establishment of information to suit the narrator’s interest. Many a time, they tend to present history in a way that would not only exclude portions that do not meet their interest but worse of all, it might not be able to give specific details due to genuine loss in memory. Again, oral tradition tends to put so much emphasis on personalities and events like wars, whilst playing down on social and economic aspects of the past With this, information becomes very scanty to the disadvantage of scholarship and posterity. In conclusion, we can deduce that both documentary and non-documentary evidence must be used to complement each other in the writing of African history. Since both are the work of human beings, one cannot be more reliable than the other since people tend to be subjective, biased and impressionistic.

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ARTS FORMS/ARTS HISTORY AS A FORM OF AFRICAN HISTORY

Art history is the study of art forms such as engravings, paintings, carvings and sculpture on stone surface, tombs, slabs or walls of caves, palaces and shrines.   ADVANTAGES OF ART HISTORY Activities of human beings: Arts forms or history helps to discover the economic activities, religious beliefs, culture and political power a group of people had in the past. For instance, the art works found in the Tassili Caves suggest that the dry areas of North Africa might not have been as dry in the past as they are today. Eating Habits: Paintings of food crops found in the tombs in the Sahara give impressions that the early inhabitants of these region might have relied on grains as food source. This helps historians to know and determine the eating habits and occupations of the early inhabitants of the Saharan regions. Life in the Sahara: Another painting found in the rocks of the Sahara might have shown that the Sahara had at a point in time harbored aquatic animals. This has given the impression that the Sahara has always not being as dry as it is today.   DEMERITS OF ARTS HISTORY Difficult to get: Rock paintings which are peculiar to art forms are not common on the African continent especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This is due to the fact that painting was restricted to perishable surfaces such as textiles, wood, house walls among other therefore could not survive the high humid climatic conditions of the environment. Depend on other sources: The art historian encounters the problem of dating their artistic find. For that matter they resorts to the archaeologist in dating things such pre-historic art.

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