As molten gold flows into a mould, so too does the Ankobra River, also known as the Siane. Why is this river important today? As rivers shape the landscape, so too has this one shaped the communities along the Ankobra Gold Route.

Over centuries past, the Ankobra has witnessed many cross-cultural and multicultural interactions – some of which were longstanding - as a myriad of scenes were played out with a wide range of actors from diverse countries and communities, all shaping the history of the river and even affecting her physical shape over at least six centuries.

Ghanaian-Dutch interactions are one of these influences. This relationship lasted for centuries and operated throughout coastal Ghana with a striking intensity. For some communities, especially those hosting Dutch establishments, this relationship was of crucial importance, but for the vast majority of coastal communities, it was one among many other presences and influences, be they African or European.

In reality, Dutch political influence was relatively limited, when compared to that of the Asante or the British. However, the Dutch succeeded in forging and strengthening very deep and meaningful ties with the African individuals and communities they associated with. Despite their relatively discrete presence, the links that the Dutch established with the people of Elmina and Axim marked the history, culture and human structure of those communities to a degree unknown in many other coastal areas.

The impact of these interactions was mutual: it was not just the Dutch influencing the Africans. Rather, it was a process of deep interaction over centuries that saw the Dutch community living on the Gold Coast absorb behaviours, convictions and visions of life that prevailed among the Africans, while their African counterparts were subject to similarly strong influence from the Dutch, due to proximity and daily interaction.

The Dutch who settled in the remote interior had good reasons for doing so: they had a very strong connection with the people of Axim, who were already active in that region, carrying on a flourishing trade in salt. The Dutch associated with them and followed them in their business, focusing their attention on another important trade item: gold.

Even among the Africans, trade was a significant part of life along the Ankobra. For instance, in the town of Essiama, the royal family comes from Nwole Mozu, where a large group of merchants produced and sold significant quantities of salt to communities inland. In Upper Axim, even today, you can see the remains of the store building of Paa Grant, one of the main timber dealers from 100 years ago. Paa Grant would buy timber upstream from small communities, and carry the tied up logs like a raft to Axim. The same is done today with bamboo and fuelwood. These are just two examples of how this river has shaped us.

The Ankobra Gold Route is one that explores the culture and history of gold exploration in Ghana’s Western Region. You can discover the entire route, taking in the beautiful sights and learning about the area’s heritage, or you can explore just a small part of the route, if you are struggling for time.

The Ankobra River stretches 190km from north east Wiawso to the sea west of Axim, and it has seen the growth and collapse of fishing industries and trades of many goods, mainly salt, fish, pots, people, and even clothes. In recent years, much gold and timber have been traded on these beautiful waters.

The geographical coverage of The Ankobra Gold Route, a new tourism product, includes Butre, Akwidaa, Princess Town and Axim, Beyin  and  villages along the Ankobra River in the vicinity of Fort Ruychaver, Fort Duma and Fort Eliza Carthago, which are Sanwoma, Brawire, Awurozo, Awudua and Gambia.

These are historical, archaeological and ecological sites that have witnessed the interaction between the local population and the Dutch, in the Gold Coast, between 1600 and 1900 AD.







Home| History | Culture | Architecture |Archaeology | Maps | Credits

© 2012 Ghana West Coast  |  All Rights Reserved
Website designed and Powered by DonFox Systems