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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Symbol of Power: Christiansborg Castle in Ghanaian History
Author:Hernaes, Per
Periodical:Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana (ISSN 0855-3246)
Geographic terms:Ghana
West Africa
Subjects:slave trade
traditional polities
symbols of power
History and Exploration
History, Archaeology
Power (Social sciences)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41406728
Abstract:It may seem an irony of history that the former Danish castle, Christiansborg, has been made the headquarters of the Ghanaian government, and thus become the centre of African power and a symbol of African independence. However, in the author's opinion, the appropriation of 'The Castle' as symbol of Ghana's independent government makes sense. It links the present to the precolonial past, to the indisputable autonomy of African rulers confronting European traders, from the time of the Portuguese arrival in the 15th century to well into the 19th century. A few case stories from the repertoire of Danish Christiansborg's relations with their local African hosts, or masters, notably the conquest of Christiansborg by Chief Asameni in 1693, illustrates the essential autonomy of African polities in the slave trade era. The Castle stood for power, but that power was greatly restricted. The reality behind the symbol underlines the continuity through the colonial period as well as after independence. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]