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

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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.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)36–68
JournalAfrican Economic History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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