Historicization entails the act of organizing a historical narrative through using the context of place and time, in which, the narrative happened. Most historians have the responsibility of reconstructing long-ago dealings in order to come up with a narrative (Getz et al 97). In this case, historians seek to comprehend what took place and how individuals experienced events, and the reason as to why the events took place. In organizing a historical narrative, historians have to rely on evidence, which may include archaeological remains, written documents and spoken words. These provide a basis for building the narrative. In regard to the narration contained in the book, there is a clear organization of place and time in describing the narration of Abina and the Important Men. Historicization is well indicated through showing place and time regarding different happenings concerning Abina and the Important Men.
The Gold Coast describes a name, which became bestowed by Europeans upon the stretch of West Africa that is roughly approximate the southern part of the current state of Ghana. The name emanates from the history that the inhabitants of this region mined a vast deal of gold, which entered the world economy in the period dating from eighth to the sixteenth century (Getz et al 102). The Gold Coast was populated by most small groups of hunter- gatherers. The languages of the population that existed in the Gold Coast area can be traced to Guan or Etsi languages that a few groups still maintain till the present. Agriculture became the chief economic practice of the population living in the region around 1700 B.C.E. Although agriculture was prevalent in the savanna region of the area, it later spread to the forest zone. Plantains, cassava and yams formed the key staple foods for the population in the Gold Coast. In the fifteenth century, the oldest surviving written source for forest area, which is known as the Gold Coast emerged (Getz et al 103). Vast, organized societies that relied on agriculture for subsistence occupied the area. People in this region spoke languages that have developed into the present languages of southern Ghana. These languages include Ewe, Ga-Adangbe and the Twi languages.
The arrival of Europeans and the rise of the Asante led to political and societal changes in the Gold Coat region. Societal change was associated with the rise of the Asante state while the political change was associated with the arrival of Europeans. The Asante state began like an alliance of aman, whose heading families organized self defenses, but their army beat most surrounding states. The rise of the Asante led to its control of the kola and gold trades in the Gold Coast region (Getz et al 103). In addition, the rise of Asante led to the emergence of a commanding force in the slave trade. The arrival of Europeans brought a political change since the Europeans emerged as political players; they formed alliances with rulers, which influenced the political system in the region.
The British created a system of agreements in the region with the local rulers. The system of agreement focused on creating a colony and the protectorate. The colony agreement provided that the British were to rule formally, but were legally limited to ruling in vast towns such as Cape Coast. Such towns could be under the control of vast forts, which served as defensive establishments (Getz et al 103). On the other hand, according to the British agreement system, the bulk of the area became the protectorate. The protectorate included small and vast states, which supported Britain during the 1873-1874 war and others that were Asante’s allies.
The British civilizing mission targeted at enlightening people to accept living as per the British middle class. According to the British middle class, they claimed that the middle class was the superior class in society. Therefore, the British civilization mission was convincing the lower classes to support and envy the middle class (Getz et al 104). The British civilization included a belief in free trade, free labor as compared to slavery. Civilization also included evangelism and supporting of democratic ideals. Ironically, as the British civilizing mission included a point of freedom and democracy, it also sought ways of depicting Africans and others as unworthy of self-determination and self-rule. In the Gold Coast, the British administrators reflected their civilization mission in some parts, where they reorganized local communities along the British middle class society lines. This mission became pronounced more in the colony and distinctively in the Cape Coast town.
There was slavery in the Gold Coast in the mid 1870’s. Although there is an imprecise support indicating the number of individuals that were slaves, a substantial number of the protectorate population included people, who could be labeled as slaves (Getz et al 106). The Akan institutions, which can be classified under slavery, were evident in the Gold Coast. The institutions were primarily social and political. The Atlantic slave trade changed the slave institution in the Gold Coast through the introduction of laws banning slavery; these laws gave an opportunity to slaves in liberating themselves (Getz et al 108). The British began supporting slave abolition since they wanted their civilization mission to succeed; the abolition of slavery could make the lower classes support the middle class.
Getz, Trevor R, and Liz Clarke. Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.