Tetteh Quarshie. The Ascension of a Pioneering Cocoa Farmer to a Ghanaian "lieu de mémoire"

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2019

39 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents


1. The Advent – The Complex Introduction of Cocoa into the Gold Coast
1.1. The Columbian Exchange of Cocoa
1.2. The Atlantic Islands as Springboards of Cocoa to West Africa
1.3. The Different Actors in the Introduction of Cocoa into the Gold Coast
1.3.1. The Early Attempts: European traders and missionaries
1.3.2. Tetteh Quarshie
1.3.3. Governor Sir William Griffith and the Aburi Botanical Gardens

2. The Boom – The “Smallholder Crop” Becomes the “Golden Pod” for Ghana
2.1. The Take-Off of Cocoa in the Gold Coast: 1891-1911
2.2. The Boom and the Relative Decline from the Mid-1960s
2.3. The Economic Structures of the Ghanaian Cocoa Industry

3. The Memory – The Glorification of Tetteh Quarshie
3.1. The Importance of Cocoa for Ghana’s Economy and Culture
3.2. Diverging Narratives about the Pioneer(s) of Cocoa Introduction into the Gold Coast
3.3. Tetteh Quarshie’s Ascension to a Ghanaian lieu de mémoire
3.4. The Current Project of the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum


Newspaper articles



In 2018, the Ghanaian Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, announced the Ghanaian government’s plans to build a 3 million US-$ Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum in Mampong near Accra in order to honour the “father” of Ghanaian cocoa. Quarshie is widely considered the one who brought the first cocoa seeds into the former British Gold Coast Colony (since 1957 independent as Ghana). Trained as a blacksmith by the Basel Mission, he thereafter worked as a migrant labourer on the former Spanish island Fernando Po (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea) for six years, from where he allegedly brought the first cocoa seeds to his home town Mampong in 1879. As the story goes, Quarshie subsequently spread these seeds like an African Johnny Appleseed to the “rural capitalists”1 in the Gold Coast. From there, the cocoa plant disseminated throughout the whole West African mainland, which offers ideal climate and soil conditions for cocoa cultivation. After the first exports of cocoa in 1891, the Gold Coast became only two decades later, in 1911, the largest cocoa exporter worldwide. In spite of several setbacks, cocoa has remained until today at the heart of the Ghanaian economy and self-image.

However, the sources of this story are so scarce that differing stories of the beginnings of cocoa cultivation in the Gold Coast have emerged over time – from the son of the British Governor William Griffith who claimed his father as the real cocoa “hero” due to his promotion of cocoa beans from the Aburi Gardens, to the Basel Mission that sees its missionaries as the first cocoa cultivators in the former Gold Coast. Indeed, several sources point to a complex, long and inconsistent process of the introduction of cocoa into the Gold Coast. Nonetheless, the story of the zealous indigenous blacksmith Tetteh Quarshie seems to convince and, more importantly, fascinate the largest audience. Consequently, the personality of Quarshie presents a veritable lieu de mémoire in Ghana today: Most Ghanaians have heard his name, he is printed on the 1 Ghanaian Cedi-bill, and famous institutions such as the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital, the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm and also the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange in Accra are dedicated to the Ghanaian cocoa pioneer.

As the French historian Pierre Nora pointed out, we live in an ère du mémoire in which countless material and symbolic lieux de mémoire shape our collective memory.2 In the words of the global historian Yuval Noah Harari who opts for a longue durée approach: “But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as (…) the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers”.3 This construction of common myths pursuing the goal of nation building seems ever more valid in a colonial construct such as Ghana, which is composed of dozens of different ethnicities and languages. Furthermore, in a country that has suffered from colonial oppression, Tetteh Quarshie presents a suitable lieu de mémoire, given that he can be presented as an indigenous pioneer of cocoa, which is the “smallholder crop” par excellence. It is thus revealing to recount the (hi)story of the introduction of the so important “Golden Pod” into the Gold Coast – and to detect the seemingly inevitable interweavement of collective memory and historical science.

This paper aims at examining the mythical figure Quarshie and its interpretation. In doing so, it finally tries to answer the following question: How have the narratives about the beginnings of cocoa cultivation in the Gold Coast changed throughout the 20th century and how was Tetteh Quarshie constructed as an enduring national lieu de mémoire that has continued to trigger fascination within the Ghanaian society? In order to answer this question, the paper proceeds in three steps: Firstly, it presents the introduction of cocoa into the Gold Coast in order to enlighten this complex process marked by a few different actors, among these prominently stands Quarshie. Different sources as well as assessments in the later literature are analysed in this context.4 The second chapter deals with the evolution and structures of the ensuing cocoa boom in Ghana that, despite temporal declines, still continues today. As many historians have underscored5, cocoa cultivation was successfully performed by local smallholder farmers largely independent from British influence – as a consequence, the construction of Quarshie as a lieu de mémoire further accentuates the indigenous and emancipatory character of the Ghanaian cocoa industry. In a third step, the commemorative culture about the beginnings of cocoa cultivation in the Gold Coast is retraced, from earlier diverging interpretations to the incremental exaltation of Quarshie.6 Both theoretical literature on commemoration culture7 and topical Ghanaian newspaper articles are thereby used. In fact, the current project of the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum proves that cocoa and its history remain at the core of the Ghanaian self-image – and that Quarshie’s name seems indispensable in this regard. It is thus high time to track down this highly questionable narrative of the cocoa introduction in the Gold Coast, which has not been done yet in detail. In addition, a goal on the theoretical meta-level of the paper is to underline the merits of the lieux de mémoire -approach, particularly in the (West) African context where this has not yet been widely applied.8

1. The Advent – The Complex Introduction of Cocoa into the Gold Coast

1.1. The Columbian Exchange of Cocoa

In spite of the fact that more than 65% of cocoa today derives from West Africa, its homeland lies more than 7,000 kilometres to the West, namely in the tropical basin in what is now Venezuela and Brazil.9 However, cocoa reached its greatest pre-colonial importance in Mesoamerica, where the Olmecs began cultivating it as early as the first millennium BCE. Later on, cocoa constituted one of the most important commodities for the Maya and Aztecs who even used it as a currency and judged it as a godly drink.10 Thus, it was in Mesoamerica where the Europeans saw cocoa for the first time. After Columbus’ short encounter with cocoa, it was the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés who described cocoa after his conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521. Lured by these attractive descriptions, the Spanish imported the first cocoa beans into Europe around 1528.11 Ever since, cocoa has been one of the most consequential and popular items of the Columbian exchange between the Americas and Afro-Eurasia.12

During the following centuries, Spain was the biggest consumer of cocoa, whereas Britain generally preferred tea and Northern continental Europe coffee. Throughout all this time, cocoa presented a commodity that was almost exclusively consumed by the social elites, as this was the case in the pre-colonial Aztec society. This changed only towards the 1880s, when industrial processes made the cocoa beans more attractive for mass consumption, entailing the democratisation of chocolate in industrialising countries. The year 1879 can be regarded here as a global breakthrough of the cocoa industry in several respects: In Switzerland, Henri Nestlé and Daniel Peter “invented” milk chocolate. In the same year, Rodolphe Lindt developed the conching machine which enabled a rise of the quality of the chocolate confect.13 Incidentally, it was arguably in this very year that Quarshie brought the cocoa seeds from Fernando Po into the Gold Coast. In the meantime, prescient tycoons such as William Cadbury in Birmingham and the American Milton Hershey in Pennsylvania extended their respective “chocolate empires”.14 Along with the growing demand in the rapidly industrialising countries in Western Europe and North America, the cocoa frontier spread inexorably in the tropical world during the 19th century. Yet, it was still a long way to go until the Gold Coast became the new epicentre of cocoa production.

1.2. The Atlantic Islands as Springboards of Cocoa to West Africa

Until the middle of the 19th century, the relatively small demand for cocoa in Europe could easily be met with imports from Central (mainly Trinidad) and South America (mainly Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil). What should not be disregarded in this context is the fact that the intra-American cocoa trade was of far greater importance than the still comparatively low cocoa exports from the Americas to Europe.15 However, in the 19th century, the European empires possessing colonies in tropical areas aimed at cultivating this cash crop “newcomer” due to the rising demand and the outlook of financial gains. Especially Portugal and Spain were forerunners in this process after having l their cocoa-producing American colonies. Roughly coinciding with the independence of its largest colony Brazil in 1822, the Portuguese planted the first cocoa seeds of the forastero type on Príncipe. In 1852, they spread it to the bigger neighbouring island of São Tomé.16 Nevertheless, the first entering of cocoa did not cause an instantaneous boom. Rather, it seems as if São Tomé also needed its “own” Tetteh Quarshie, namely a reportedly decisive pioneer: In the 1850s, a mulatto enriched by the clandestine slave trade in Angola called Jose Maria de Souza e Almeida (c. 1816-1869) harvested the first noteworthy cocoa yields on São Tomé.17 From the 1870s onwards, São Tomé and Príncipe experienced a veritable cocoa boom.

Similarly, in the neighbouring island Fernando Po, since 1758 at least officially a Spanish colony, the first cocoa trees were planted in 1854.18 After a sluggish beginning, the cocoa industry there also experienced a rapid rise in the 1880s thanks to the speedy industrial innovations facilitating the processing of cocoa in Europe. As a result, the three small Atlantic islands off the African coast became the well-known “cocoa islands” being the largest cocoa exporters worldwide between 1905 and 1910. Yet, on the flip side were miserable labour conditions, in particular on São Tomé: After the abolition of slavery in 1875, European landowners complained about the high cost of recruiting free labour from West Africa. Consequently, most labour was by force “imported” from other African areas, notably from the former Portuguese colony of Angola.19

The prosperousness of the first cocoa plantations on the “cocoa islands” started evoking interest also on the West African mainland in the 1850s: Several European missionaries and locals attempted to set there the beginnings of cocoa cultivation. Among these was Squiss Ibaningo, a chief from Bonny in south-eastern Nigeria, who planted seeds originating from Fernando Po in 1874, and a Creole merchant of Lagos who did likewise in 1880.20 Cocoa was also cultivated from the Ivory Coast to Sierra Leone by 1870, albeit in tiny quantities.21 Nonetheless, in 1900, 90% of the 16,000 tons of exported cocoa beans out of Africa still originated from São Tomé.22 But then, within less than a decade, the Atlantic islands were rapidly overtaken by the mainland colonies, especially by the Gold Coast. But how did cocoa enter into the Gold Coast – and what particular role did the reported pioneer Quarshie play in this process? And which other actors were potentially crucial trailblazers?

1.3. The Different Actors in the Introduction of Cocoa into the Gold Coast

1.3.1. The Early Attempts: European traders and missionaries

The very start of cocoa in the Gold Coast was not marked by Quarshie, but arguably by the Danes almost one hundred years earlier. Already in 1788, the Danish crown, having some possessions in the lucrative Gold Coast, ordered the planting of cash crops, being lured by the successful examples of the plantation economy in the Americas. The protagonist of this endeavour was the German botanist in Danish service Paul Isert (1756-89), who propagated the establishment of crop plantations in Africa as an alternative to the transatlantic slave trade.23 Particularly on the Akwapim ridge, the Danes planted coffee, cotton and perhaps to a minor extent also cocoa. Some years later, British and Dutch traders aimed at establishing different plantations (mainly cotton and coffee) as well, likewise with a geographical focus on the Akwapim ridge. Clarence-Smith thus holds the view that “Dutch missionaries may have been the first to plant cocoa on the Gold Coast, in 1815.”24 Although the sparse sources do not allow the determination of an exact date or the minute circumstances of the first cocoa plants in the Gold Coast, one fact is certain: Those early attempts of establishing plantations were a failure, chiefly due to political and social instability resulting from frequent local wars under the aegis of the expanding Ashanti.25 Yet, a commercial agriculture emerged in the Gold Coast during the 1840s: It exported different crops that were increasingly demanded by the rapidly industrialising Western European countries, such as palm oil, palm kernels and rubber.26 These first cash crops had shaped the foundations of a cash economy and had initiated the experience with an export-oriented agriculture among local farmers – a considerable head start for the cocoa industry upon which it could build on in the following decades.27

Then, in 1857, the Basel Mission in the Gold Coast under the lead of the Agricultural commissioner Johannes Haas received cocoa seeds from Suriname and in 1858 from Liberia. In November 1861, the missionary Johann Jakob Lang reported “that he had then got ten little cocoa-trees, which were very delicate”.28 These were planted in the centre of influence of the mission, namely in Akropong, the biggest town of the Akwapim ridge. But already in 1863, most of the trees had died due to different diseases and only one tree prevailed. This tree produced 20 pods in 1867 which were spread among Christian villagers.29 Eventually, this lonely tree died in 1870 as well. Howard sees the lack of a market demand as the main reason for the early failure, whereas Guri points to the frequent Ashanti invasions in the Akwapim area between 1868 and 1873.30 Despite some scattered cocoa trees around the town Odumase, one can speak of a temporary absence of cocoa in the Gold Coast for the following decade.31

1.3.2. Tetteh Quarshie

According to the existing sources, it can definitely be precluded that Quarshie brought the very first cocoa beans into the Gold Coast. Likewise, the renowned Ghanaian historian Perbi comes to the conclusion that “it was not Tetteh Quarshie who brought the famous cash-crop cocoa to Ghana”, but that the first cocoa seeds were brought “from Brazil by a Basel Missionary called Reverend Hass”.32 Why is Quarshie nevertheless often described as the decisive pioneer of Ghanaian cocoa who spread the cocoa seeds like a generous Johnny Appleseed? An answer to this question requires a more detailed analysis of the sparse trustworthy information that we possess on Quarshie.

The first official source by the British colonial government mentioning Tetteh Quarshie was the Gold Coast Annual Report for 1902, where Quarshie was named and the date of the entering of the cocoa pods was given as 1879.33 However, seven years later, the Director of Agriculture Tudhope described the introduction of cocoa pods into the Gold Coast as follows:

“The introduction of the first cocoa seeds into the Colony cannot very definitely be traced to one individual. Several people appear to have been instrumental in introducing some about the same time. From fairly authentic information supplied to me, one small importation is set down to a native farmer who brought some with him on returning from the Cameroons about 1882. This was planted in Mampong district.”34

Two aspects are here of prime importance: Firstly, he underscores that many actors played a role in the intricate process of cocoa entering into the Gold Coast – a statement that undoubtedly corresponds to the truth. Secondly, he also alludes to a “native farmer” which might possibly be Quarshie. Yet, both the geographic area (“returning from the Cameroons” instead of Fernando Po) and the date of his homecoming (1882 instead of 187935 ) differ from the Annual Report and later testimonies. Merely the location of Quarshie’s first cocoa farm (Mampong) conforms to the current picture. Thus, it seems as if the enigmatic Quarshie was already by 1908 a very obscure figure incorporating contradictory attributions. The third chapter will deal with the changing narratives around Quarshie in detail.

Despite the blurry character of the sources, one can after all conclude that Tetteh Quarshie (who lived presumably between 1842 and 1892) was definitely a historical figure. His family originated from the coastline close to Accra and belonged to the Ga-Dangme ethnic group. After his education as the first blacksmith in Akropong by the Basel Mission, Quarshie worked as a migrant labourer on the former Spanish island Fernando Po for about six years. From this notorious “cocoa island”, Quarshie illegally smuggled cocoa seedlings into the Gold Coast, more precisely to Mampong, a small town on the Akwapim ridge.36 In contrast to the attempts by Danish and Dutch traders as well as by Basel missionaries, this time cocoa cultivation endured: After Quarshie’s first successful yields of his small cocoa nursery (roughly 0.94 acres) in 1883, this plant enjoyed an increasing popularity among farmers in the Akwapim hills.37 Moreover, the Basel Mission was still a crucial actor in the establishment of the cocoa industry in the Gold Coast, as it continued to distribute cocoa pods in the late 1880s and 1890s.38 However, cocoa did not experience a rapid breakthrough, but it took some years before cocoa spread among the local population. Hence, according to Governor Griffith (1886-95), there was not much cocoa to be seen in Akwapim by 1888.39 And he intended to change this.

1.3.3. Governor Sir William Griffith and the Aburi Botanical Gardens

According to different sources, Griffith, who had a great practical interest in fostering the cultivation of new cash crops in West Africa, had received cocoa seeds for experiments from São Tomé in 1886.40 In Aburi, the southernmost town of the Akwapim ridge and hence not far from the capital Accra, Griffith established an experimental cocoa station inside the Aburi Botanical Gardens that he had established in 1890. As he intended to “teach” the local farmers to cultivate crops in a systematic manner in the purpose of exporting them, Griffith distributed cocoa seedlings among the local population after the first bearing in 1893.41 Here, the opinions about the retrospective importance of the Aburi Gardens differ: Some authors see Griffith and hence the British government as the real pioneers of the cocoa industry in the Gold Coast.42 Others, on the contrary, judge that the governmental activities only had a minor impact.43 In any case, Griffith was in the month of his retirement (April 1895) satisfied with the state of the Botanical Gardens – both the cocoa and coffee trees were in full bearing. Moreover, the Aburi seeds were spreading among the population, so that the coffee and cocoa exports increased rapidly.44 Griffith’s role should therefore not be underestimated, although he is today not widely remembered in Ghana, surely not least because he was a British coloniser.

All in all, one can conclude that the story of Quarshie as the decisive cocoa pioneer in the Gold Coast puts too much emphasis on one individual and thus appears apocryphal. Instead, a larger picture must be drawn: There were many migrant workers from the Gold Coast who reached different places in West Africa (São Tomé and Príncipe, Fernando Po, Nigeria, the Cameroons) and who became familiar with different crops, evidently also with the cocoa plant. Besides, there already existed a commercial agriculture in the Southern Gold Coast (specifically on the Akwapim ridge) and cocoa was among the first crops planted by European traders and missionaries. In addition, Governor Griffith’s promotion of cocoa and his experimental station in Aburi contributed at least partially to the export orientation of the ensuing cocoa boom. The ideal climate (more than 1,000 mm of rainfall and an average temperature of more than 21°C) and soil (suitable ochrosols) conditions, the availability of cheap and fresh forest lands, the gathered experience with commercial agriculture by local farmers, the growing international demand for cocoa, the already well established European mercantile houses, and not least the global free trade system during the so-called “first wave of globalisation” between 1850 and 1914 were hence more essential for the spread of cocoa than just one individual praising cocoa’s benefits. However, one single indigenous farmer apparently presents a more appealing lieu de mémoire than these abstract ecological, geographical and economic factors (cf. chapter 3).

2. The Boom – The “Smallholder Crop” Becomes the “Golden Pod” for Ghana

2.1. The Take-Off of Cocoa in the Gold Coast: 1891-1911

As already mentioned, the real breakthrough of the cocoa industry in the Gold Coast took some time – between the introduction of the cocoa beans in the 1870s and the first noteworthy exports in the mid-1890s lie nearly two decades. One reason for this is that the cocoa tree takes roughly five years until it bears a noteworthy harvest.45 This reflects the sharp rise of the cocoa exports from the mid-1890s46 onwards, presuming that the first wave of cocoa trees were planted along with the widespread local dissemination following Quarshie’s example and the establishment of Aburi Botanical Gardens in 1890. Another cause is the boycott of the “cocoa island” São Tomé due to its miserable labour conditions by the large chocolate company Cadbury’s and Co. in 1909. Many companies shared these humanitarian concerns and followed the boycott. The Gold Coast, where indigenous landownership was by far the most common and effective form of cocoa farming, constituted the desired opposite for the companies and hence benefited enormously from this reorientation.47

The geographical centre of the early cocoa cultivation in the Gold Coast was unquestionably the Akwapim ridge. Since the Akwapim farmers had cultivated export crops (mainly palm trees, rubber, and coffee) beforehand, they were well accustomed to an export-oriented commercial agriculture. However, as Hill showed in her excellent study The migrant cocoa farmers of Southern Ghana (1963), many Akwapim cocoa farmers migrated to the Akim Abuakwa area, west of the Densu River, during the beginning of the cocoa boom around 1897. As the major reasons for this intense migratory process, Hill points to the lack of space on the densely populated Akwapim ridge and the availability of inexpensive fresh forest lands on the other side of the river Densu.48 This migratory process highlights that cocoa cultivation was in fact in the hands of forward-looking and profit-oriented farmers who were largely independent from any British activities, especially in the first years. Attracted by promising profits, the cocoa frontier spread rapidly from 1900 onwards, namely from its origins in the South East of the Gold Coast Colony in a north-westerly direction to the still fresh land in Southern Ghana’s forest zone. It reached the Ashanti-Brong Ahafo region, later the most important cocoa area, around 1902, whereas it never extended to the Northern half of Ghana owing to its unsuitability in terms of climate and soil.49


1 Hill 1963, 238; Southall 1978, 185.

2 Pierre Nora does not mean by the term lieu de mémoire a lieu in its topographic, geographic sense, but rather a metaphorical “spot” in the collective memory. Hence, lieux de mémoire are not only visible and material, such as memorials, buildings, museums or books, but explicitly also historic events, figures, institutions or memorial days. According to Nora, in our present ère du mémoire the lieux de mémoire become increasingly important due to a speeding up of time and the obvious break with the past that many people remark. As a result, all social groups (nations, ethnicities, families etc.), the so-called communautés de mémoire, feel the need to trace their history and thus form a collective memory with numerous lieux de mémoire – such as the Ghanaian nation does. Cf. Nora 1990, 7-20.

3 Harari 2014, 27.

4 Important sources are Tudhope 1909 and Knapp 1920. Other essential documents were published in Dickson 1969 and above all in Hill 1963 (Appendix VI, 1: The Introduction of Cocoa into the Gold Coast, pp.170-178).

5 The most noteworthy among these historians are Austin 1987 and 1996, Clarence-Smith 2000, Green/Hymer 1966, Hill 1963, Ross 2014 and Sutton 1983.

6 In order to trace the remembrance on Quarshie, the paper will examine different accounts on the question who introduced cocoa into the Gold Coast. Among these are Ephson 1969, Knapp 1920, the Nowell Report 1938, Sampson 1969 [1937], Schwarz 1928.

7 The classic literature on commemorative culture will be consulted, such as A. Assmann 2000, J. Assmann 2018 [1992], Halbwachs 1985 [1939] François/Schulze 2009 [2001] and Nora 1990.

8 Yet, some new literature regarding the commemorative culture in Africa has been published in the recent years, such as Akyeampong 2001, Axiotou/Keown/Malpas 2009, Likaka 2009, Opoku-Agyemang 2008, and Rice 2012.

9 Cf. Knapp 1920, 7, 20; Wickizer 1951, 287.

10 Cf. Knapp 1920, 5-8; Satre 2005, 13; Wickizer 1951, 304.

11 Cf. Knapp 1920, 7; Wickizer 1951, 304.

12 Cf. Crosby 2003 [1972], 66, 170, 186. See also Coe/Coe 1996, 242.

13 Cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 10-32; Coe/Coe 1996, 285-296. Using a metaphor, Wickizer (1951, 303) aptly describes cocoa and chocolate as „twins born of the marriage between tropical agriculture and Western industry“.

14 Coe/Coe 1996, 288-300.

15 Cf. Coe/Coe 1996, 221-227. The biggest demander of cocoa was still Mesoamerica, particularly Mexico.

16 Cf. Addae-Boadu 2014, 8; Satre 2005, 34. These small islands, circa 200 km off the African coast, have the advantage of an ideal climate, fertile lands and the relative proximity to the rapidly growing European market.

17 Cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 144; Vallenilla 2018, 154. A comparison between the respective remembrance of Quarshie and Almeida would be insightful, above all the question whether Almeida is a similar lieu de mémoire in São Tomé and Príncipe as Quarshie is in Ghana. This does not seem to be the case, for the cocoa exports were not all that important for São Tomé and Príncipe in the recent past. Moreover, Almeida is unlike Quarshie a mulatto who was born on Princípe to a Bahian father. Unfortunately, a precise analysis cannot be handled here due to a limitation of space.

18 Cf. Addae-Boahu 2014, 8; Coe/Coe 1996, 242.

19 This system was famously criticised by Henry Nevinson in his book A modern slavery (1905). Between 1875 and 1909, more than 70,000 forced labourers arrived in São Tomé and Príncipe, cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 221-225. As a consequence, the largest chocolate company Cadbury boycotted São Tomé (cf. chapter 2.1.).

20 Cf. Muojama 2018, 18-20. See also chapter 3.3. Besides, also Creoles played a major role in the emergence of a cocoa industry in Nigeria, cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 144.

21 Cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 144; Vallenilla 2018, 157.

22 Cf. Vallenilla 2018, 158.

23 Cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 133.

24 Clarence-Smith 2000, 133.

25 Cf. Dickson 1969, 126-130; Sutton 1983, 470. As a consequence, the Danes left the Gold Coast around 1850.

26 Cf. table in Hill 1963, 176: Annual Gold Coast Exports (in lb., 000) 1890: palm oil 145, palm kernels 78, rubber 231 (1889: merely 55, there was a “rubber boom” around 1900), gold 92, coffee 0.2. Cf. Sutton 1983, 461.

27 Cf. Sutton 1983, 470: “It is notable that the leading areas of the palm oil trade, the rubber trade and cocoa production were the same, and one sees many of the same peoples – Akwapims and Krobos, for instance – moving from one to the other in succession”

28 Cited by Hill 1963, 171.

29 Cf. Buah 1980, 118; Clarence-Smith 2000, 144; Dickson 1969, 165; Vallenilla 2018, 156. Also here, different amounts and dates are given: For instance, Vallenilla and Dickson speak of a harvest of 15 pods in 1866. For a general overview on the introduction of cocoa and the Basel Mission see Kwamena-Poh (2005) and Steiner (1908).

30 Cf. Guri 1975, 24 and Howard 1978, 73. See also Buah 1980, 118; Dickson 1969, 165.

31 This assessment derives from sources in Hill 1963, 170-173. See also Dickson 1969, 165.

32 Graphic online 2017.

33 Cf. Gold Coast Annual Report 1902, 23, cited by: Hill 1963, 172.

34 Tudhope 1909, 34-35.

35 Yet, also in the later literature different dates are given. For instance, Dickson (1969, 166) and Vallenilla (2018, 157) give 1878 as the date of Quarshie’s homecoming and Ayesu (2011, 639) and Kwamena Poh (2005, 123) suppose the year 1876. Other authors assume that Quarshie returned in 1876 and established his cocoa farm in Mampong in 1879 after vain attempts to plant cocoa trees in the coastal town Osu, cf. Asiedu/Gbedemah 2011, 34.

36 Cf. Buah 1980, 199; Dickson 1969, 165-171; Howard 1978, 302. At Quarshie’s first plantation in Mampong, a small museum was erected in 2003, cf. chapter 3. Hill (1963, 172-173) interviewed local people who told her “that it had not been Tetteh Quarshie himself who had gone to Fernando Poo, but a maternal relative and/or apprentice, sometimes called Agya, who had presented pods to his uncle or master in returning from the island where had been working as a labourer.” Indeed possible, but according to Hill (1963, 173): “though in themselves they do nothing to detract from the significance of Quarshie, whose contribution was that of establishing a small cocoa-nursery”.

37 Cf. Dickson 1969, 165-166; Hill 1963, 172-173; Ross 2014, 59.

38 Cf. Green/Hymer 1966, 303; Hill 1963, 171.

39 Cf. Griffith’s Dispatch 21, August 1888, ADM 1/489, cited by: Hill 1963, 173.

40 Cf. Hill 1963, 173-175. This information was spread by his son. However, Griffith sen. wrote in letters in 1888 that he only then planned to receive pods from São Tomé. Another officer called Sir Hesketh Bell wrote in 1890 that Griffith had already imported cocoa seeds about three years ago whose cultivation failed.

41 Cf. Hill 1963, 15-16, 175; Tudhope 1909, 36.

42 Cf. Tudhope 1909, 36: „The establishment of a Botanical and Agricultural Station by Government at Aburi in 1890, from which many plants and seeds were distribute, seems to indicate that the impetus thus given to the industry by the government is responsible for this gratifying development, more especially as development seems to have first taken place along the range of the Akwapim hills where Aburi is situated”. See also Buah 1980, 118.

43 Cf. Green/Hymer 1966, 306. They highlight the failure of the first cocoa plants in Aburi. Others, such as Hill (1963, 175) point to Griffith’s concentration on coffee which was his prime concern – and not cocoa. In fact, coffee was until 1896 the more important export good but was then rapidly overtaken by cocoa, cf. Hymer/Green 1966, 303.

44 Cf. Hill 1963, 176: Whereas Griffith saw an intensive coffee cultivation on the Akwapim ridge, the quantity of cocoa cultivation was according to him still comparatively low in 1895.

45 Cf. Wickizer 1951, 283-291. Cocoa trees usually reach their highest yields 10-15 years after their planting.

46 Incidentally, 1896 can be regarded as the crucial year of the rise of cocoa in the Gold Coast. Whereas in 1895 merely 28,906 lb. of cocoa exported, the exports of 1896 almost tripled to 86,754 lb., cf. Tudhope 1909, 34-35.

47 Cf. Clarence-Smith 2000, 113-119; Satre 2005, 112-130. Cadbury’s cocoa purchases from the Gold Coast rose from 41 t (1908/09) to 2,768 t (1910/11). Conversely, São Tomé lost its role as principal African cocoa exporter.

48 Cf. Hill 1963, 1-28, 75-80. See also Ayesu 2011, 640; Clarence-Smith 2000, 158.

49 Cf. Dickson 1969, 167. This process was fuelled by the completion of the railroad Accra-Kumasi in 1903. According to Hill (1963, 217), in 1948/49, 126,000 t out of 278,000 t exported cocoa came from the Ashanti-Brong Ahafo region. Other important cocoa areas were the Eastern region (46,000 t) and Western region (46,000 t).

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Tetteh Quarshie. The Ascension of a Pioneering Cocoa Farmer to a Ghanaian "lieu de mémoire"
Humboldt-University of Berlin  (Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften)
Agriculture and Colonialism in Africa
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ISBN (Book)
Lieu de mémoire, Ghana, Tetteh Quarshie, Afrikanische Geschichte, Kakao, Goldküste, Sir Guggisberg, Aburi, Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Geschichtskonstruktion, Mémoire collective, Kulturelles Gedächtnis, Assmann, Nora, Kolonialismus, Landwirtschaft in Afrika, Schokolade, Exportboom
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Tim R. Kerkmann (Author), 2019, Tetteh Quarshie. The Ascension of a Pioneering Cocoa Farmer to a Ghanaian "lieu de mémoire", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/504072


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