Danish Government Apology– After centuries of the brutal slave trade in Ghana, the Danish government has presented a formal apology.
In a visit to the Gold coast, the Danish politician and representative admitted to the horrid treatments meted out to Ghanaians most of whom ended up as slaves outside the African shores- America and Europe.
The transatlantic slave trade was heavy on West Africa, Nigeria and Ghana especially. Most Africans from this region were shipped off to the present day Caribbean Island.
Granted that the Danish government were not the leading perpetrators of the transatlantic slavery but the harm done to the people in the words of Anders Samuelsen, the Foreign Affairs Minister remains “unforgivable”.
“…I also take the opportunity to bring up a more distant shared history. We share a dark history of slave trade – shameful and unforgivable part of Danish history. Nothing can justify the exploitation of men, women and children in which Denmark took part.”
The Minister said this during an official visit to Ghana recently. He visited alongside Queen Magarethe II who is the first Danish Monarch to visit Ghana.
In the same vein, he did not fail to point out the positive democratic system as seen in the transparent and violence- free election that ushered Nana Akufuo Addoh to Presidency.
Several reactions have followed the seeming apology for the age old slave trade.
While some consider it to be acceptable on the average, some other disregarded it with both groups pointing out that nothing can ever take away the historical dent and humiliation that the colonial administration gave to the West African country.
Brief History Of The Danish Colonial Rule In Ghana
The Portuguese were the first to arrive Ghana in 1471. From the year 1867-1957, the Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa.
Ghana’s central attraction were the gold deposits found in its soil, thus why it was called the “Gold Coast”.
With the commercial potential, the British, Dutch, Danish, Prussian and Swedish traders made their way to the golden destination.
On April 20, 1663, history records that Denmark conquered two forts on the Gold Coast of Africa. In time these Danish-Norwegian forts- Christiansborg and Carlsborg – were where captured Ghanaian slaves were made to work before they were shipped off to sugar plantations in the Danish West Indies.
Ghana became a Danish crown colony in 1750.
The slave trade continued till Norway was conquered by Sweden, leading to a dissolution of the Dano-Norwegian empire in 1814. Another factor that led to the stop of the Danish slave trade was Christianity. Denmark became a Christian nation.
However, the Danish interaction with Ghana back in the day also saw some good moments.
As Ghana won her independence in 1957, Denmark assisted their former colony to run the Folk High School at Tsito in the Volta Region, making it one of the first development projects by a Danish NGO in Africa.
Some Ghanaians have Danish ancestry.
Over the years, both countries have sustained a diplomatic relationship. With Ghana’s push in the economic sector, it is seen that their relationship is transcending into a stronger trade cooperation.
According to the President Akufo-Addo, who expressed appreciation for the “friendship with Denmark”,
“Increasingly, the focus of Ghanaian policy is to accentuate economic partnership between our partners, to ensure that businessmen can get together and invest in our country, and Ghanaian businessmen, if they can, also invest in Denmark.”
“Denmark has been a solid ally, friend and partner of Ghana. There are so many areas of our national life which have been affected by the generosity of the Danish people, and the co-operation development area encompasses many areas.”