Portuguese Gold Coast History of West Africa Dutch Gold Coast

Brandenburg's Colony in Africa : Gross Friedrichsburg

In 1682, FREDERICK WILLIAM DUKE ELECTOR OF BRANDENBURG (the Great Elector) dispatched an expedition to the African coast with the task to establish colonial forts. In 1683, the Brandenburg flag was hoisted at GROSS FRIEDRICHSBURG, which was to become the capital of Brandenburg's colonial enterprise, run by the BRANDENBURG-AFRICAN COMPANY. Further trading posts were established by the Brandenburgers, at ARGUIN, TAKRAMA, TAKORADI, FORT DOROTHEA (Akwida), WHYDAH.
The economic objective was to acquire African slaves in West Africa and to sell them on Saint Thomas in the West Indies, where the company had acquired land.
Brandenburg's seaport had been KÖNIGSBERG on the Baltic Sea; however connections to Brandenburg's colonies could be easily interrupted by the Danes (by blocking the Sound) or by the British or Dutch by blocking passage through the North Sea, and this regularly happened in time of war. In response to these difficulties, the seat of the Brandenburg-African Company was relocated to EMDEN in EAST FRISIA (which lay outside of Brandenburg territory, on the North Sea; Emden had a Brandenburg garrison since 1682).
The Great Elector's successor did not share Friedrich Wilhelm's vision of a colonial empire. In 1716 the Brandenburgers abandoned their colonies (Brandenburg had entered the GREAT NORTHERN WAR in 1715). FREDERICK WILLIAM I., KING IN PRUSSIA (title acquired in 1701) sold Brandenburg's African possessions to the Dutch in 1720.

A local ally of the Brandenburgers in Africa, JOHN CUNNY, refused to accept the transfer of his allegiance and of Brandenburg property. He defended Gross-Friedrichsburg against the Dutch, who took it in 1725, renaming it FORT HOLLANDIA. The Dutch abandoned it in 1815.

European forts in Ghana, by Marco Ramerini; Castles and Forts of Ghana, from Akwaaba
Gross-Friedrichsburg, from Deutsche Schutzgebiete , in German
Gross-Friedrichsburg, from Gross-Friedrichsburg.de, with timeline
DOCUMENTS Letter from Hoofman Friedson, officer on the Brandenburg frigate Dorothea, lying off Whydah 1688, from Virginia.edu
Illustration of Gross Friedrichsburg, from 2000 Jahre Chronik, Bilddatenbank
Entry Friedrichsburg, in Zedlers Grosses Universal-Lexikon 1732, click Index, Index, F, Fr, Friede, Friedrichsburg
Entry Gold-Küste, in Zedlers Grosses Universal-Lexikon 1732, click Index, Index, G, Go, Gola, Gold-Küste
List of Governors, Gross Friedrichsburg, from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 6th 2004

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