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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Untold Difficulties': The Indigenous Press and the Economic Effects of the First World War on Africans in the Gold Coast, 1914-1918
Author:Akurang-Parry, Kwabena O.ISNI
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic term:Ghana
World War I
economic conditions
Economics and Trade
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/25427026
Abstract:During the First World War, the British colonial government in the Gold Coast (Ghana) vigorously sought to maximize both human and natural resources in support of the imperial war effort. Consequently, the people of the Gold Coast suffered from the wartime policies as well as the direct effects of the war. This article examines the impact of the war on the population of the Gold Coast and African perspectives on the effects of the war on economy and society through the prism of the indigenous press, notably the 'The Gold Coast Leader' and 'The Gold Coast Nation'. These newspapers, published in the capital of the Central Province, Cape Coast, became a hub of African intellectual activism and anticolonial protest politics. Three areas of anticolonial criticism emerged: opposition to the vigorous implementation of indirect rule during wartime, colonial labour and military recruitment exercises, and the economic effects of war. Economic issues addressed included slackening cocoa prices, lack of shipping facilities and space, fall in revenue, stagnation in wages and salaries, scarcity of staple foods and imported commodities, and the demographic effects of the influenza epidemic of 1917-1919. Increased taxation, freight rates, and customs duties equally attracted critical commentary in the press. Unlike official sources, press accounts show that the people of the Gold Coast suffered greatly from the economic impact of the war. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]