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Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana$
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Carola Lentz

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748624010

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624010.001.0001

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The Introduction of Chieftaincy

The Introduction of Chieftaincy

(p.33) 2 The Introduction of Chieftaincy
Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana

Lentz Carola

Edinburgh University Press

Britain put the Northern Territories under its control in order to prevent European rivals from establishing themselves along the trade routes from Kumasi to the north. As part of their pacification of the region and the mobilisation of labour to carry goods and build roads, the British decided that ‘native chiefs’ were to be the pillars of a ‘scheme of government of the simplest and most economic form’. This chapter deals with the introduction of chieftaincy in the formerly chiefless societies of North-Western Ghana, a process guided by colonial officials' normative ideas of ‘tribes’ and ‘native states’. It also explores how the chieftaincy was subsequently appropriated locally and analyses the competing paradigms by which the new chiefs were legitimised, as well as the interplay between local ‘strongmen's strategies and British interventions.

Keywords:   Northern Territories, Britain, North-Western Ghana, chieftaincy, tribes, native states, chiefs, strongmen, pacification

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