Britain And The Gold Coast 1871 – 1901
The period 1874- 1901 saw the establishment of British rule in the Gold Coast. Stages by which this was achieved.
The Annexation of the Southern states: 1874
The first stage was the annexation of the southern states as the British Crown Colony of the Gold Coast in 1874.
The decision to annex the southern states was influenced by the following factors. First, the withdrawal of the Dutch from the Gold Coast and the consequent take-over of all their forts by the British in 1872 enabled the latter to raise sufficient revenue from customs duties.
The British were thus enabled to meet the rising cost of administration which had hitherto been the main hindrance to the expansion of British authority in the Gold Coast from 1872, annual revenue from customs duties alone amounted to the record figure of £90,000 between 1875 and 1880, while expenditure on the country amounted to £83,000.
Secondly, there was a change in British attitude towards the acquisition of colonies from the 1870s. This change was brought about by the rise of the new imperialism which began with the growing competition for the overseas markets. Because of this, contemporary British public opinion was against withdrawal and in fact favored acquisition of new territories to serve as overseas markets.
Thirdly, the most immediate cause of the annexation was the Asante invasion of the coastal states in 1873 and the consequent British Victory in the war. The defeat of the Asante restored Britain’s prestige in the Gold Coast and put her in a position of strength to do what she liked with that country.
In the circumstances, the British Government felt that the only guarantee against further Asante invasions was the annexation of the coastal states under British protection. So in July 1874, the British Government issued a charter by which it formally annexed the southern states as the British Crown Colony of the Gold Coast.