The European and Eurafrican Population of the Danish Forts on the Eighteenth-Century Gold Coast

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Holger Weiss
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication year: 2018
Journal: African Economic History
Volume number: 46
Issue number: 1
Start page: 36
End page: 68


This essay focuses on the demographic consequences of entanglement in the Danish possessions on the Gold Coast in West Africa. Two sets of data will be analyzed, one on the European composition of the Danish enclaves and discusses demographic trends and ruptures, the other on the Eurafrican population in the Danish enclaves. The first part of the study focusses on the survival of the European personnel in the Danish possessions on the Gold Coast. Similar to the experience of other European trading nations in West Africa, the Guinea Coast was a "White Man's Grave" for the Danish personnel as about half of the newly arrived staff members died within the first year on the coast. The second part deals with the employment and careers of the Eurafricans, i.e., the children of Danish fathers and local African or Eurafrican women. While the Danish authorities enlisted some of the Eurafrican boys as military staff members, the fate of the Eurafrican girls was unclear. In contrast to the Europeans, the Eurafrican population seldom succumbed to the coastal climate. Instead, demographic data suggests that their life expectancy was relatively high, at least compared to that of the European personnel.

Last updated on 2020-06-07 at 06:05