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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 Lawra Confederacy Native Authority

The Lawra Confederacy Native Authority

(p.104) 4 The Lawra Confederacy Native Authority
Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana

Lentz Carola

Edinburgh University Press

The tribes in North-Western Ghana, as defined by Britain, never developed into political communities, and all attempts to make chiefdoms and ‘tribes’ coincide had failed. The native states were not an agglomeration of tribes, but rather entities, whose borders were determined by factors quite different from ethnic ones, the ethnic labels being attached ex post-facto. Yet British political philosophy continued to rely on the concept of ‘tribes’. The 1930s constitutes a particularly important period in North-Western Ghana which — through the introduction of ‘indirect rule’ and the establishment of the Lawra Confederacy — set the stage on which to this day local politics is played, not least because it was during this time that the foundations were laid for the formation of an educated elite which was imbued with this new loyalty to tribe and chiefdom. This chapter explores the contradictions inherent in British policies of indirect rule, and the conflicts surrounding the territorial reconfiguration of the Lawra District, the introduction of taxation, and the codification of customary law.

Keywords:   Britain, North-Western Ghana, tribes, indirect rule, Lawra Confederacy, politics, Lawra District, taxation, codification, customary law

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