Free State of Accany
|Official languages||Tjui • Dutch|
|Recognised regional languages||Akan dialects • Bouwlij–Anji dialects • Djoela • Senoefo • Gaan|
|Religion||Protestantism (majority) |
• Treaty of Asebu: first Dutch settlement
• Annexation of the Ashanti Empire
• Dominion status established
• Full sovereignty achieved
The Free State of Accany (Dutch: Vrijstaat Acanij, /vrɛjstɑːt ɑkɑnɛj/; Tjui: Akanman De Ho), formerly and colloquially known as the Gold Coast (Dutch: Goudkust), is a sovereign state located in western Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to the west, Manden to the north, and Guinea to the east. The area of modern Accany has been populated by indigenous states and colonial outposts for centuries, consolidating into the Dutch Gold Coast colony in the late 19th century and eventually obtaining independence in the late 20th century.
Most notably mentioned in a 1629 map, the name Accany (Acanij) was used by Europeans to refer to powerful pre-Ashanti Akan statse, which were largely located in the modern southeast of the country. Generally, Accany was divided into two parts; Great Accany was the designation for the then-mighty Adansi confederation, while the comparatively smaller Assin people were given the label of Little Accany.
In 1908, Euro-African intellectual Henricus Peterszon revived the term Acanij, using it to describe the shared cultural and political space inhabited by Akan-speaking peoples in littoral western Africa. During the horrors of the East Indies Crisis, Acanij (English and Amerikaens 'Accany') was popularized by the Literary Union of Accanists as a substitute for the term 'Gold Coast', in the same way that 'the East Indies' was rapidly being replaced by 'Soenda'.
Once the country gained dominion status in 1967, Accany was selected as an official name of the country. In 1976, upon full independence, it became the sole official name.
Accany's colonial period is rooted in the establishment of the Dutch Gold Coast. The Dutch forged a cooperative relationship with the Ashanti Empire, which intensified after the Canton War as the Dutch undertook significant investments and infrastructural development in the colony. This resulted in a deeper economic and political integration between the Dutch administration and the Ashanti kingdom.
In the 1870s, the Dutch started building a successful plantation economy in the colony's coastal territory. Following the Third Anglo-Virginian War in 1874, the Ashanti Empire sought Dutch protection against British encroachment, becoming a Dutch protectorate in 1876.
By 1890, the Ashanti Empire was beset by internal strife due to a secession crisis. In response, the Dutch annexed the empire in 1893, incorporating it into their Gold Coast colony while still allowing some degree of regional autonomy. As part of their strategy to consolidate control and legitimize their rule, the Dutch adopted a policy of Batavinization, which involved sending Ashanti princes to the Netherlands for Christian and Western education. These educated Ashanti heirs were then used as figureheads, presiding over the plantations and collaborating with the locals in the colonial administration. In order to maintain stability, many Akan dissenters were exiled into the Dutch East Indies.
After the treaty of Amsterdam in 1905, a rebellion erupted, led by former Ashanti loyalists and anti-Dutch Akan tribes. This led to the further expansion of the plantation economy and the spread of Zoekerism and Protestant Christianity among the Akan population in the colony.
The society of the Dutch Gold Coast in the 20th century was primarily agricultural, dominated by Akan agricultural workers who gradually converted to Zoekerism and Christianity. The middle class comprised mixed race Akan-Dutch citizens known as 'Tapoeijers' or 'Vrijburghers,' who served as minor administrators and overseers for the small Dutch plantation-owning elite.
In 1967, the Dutch granted the Gold Coast a status similar to the East Indies, establishing the Dominion of the Goudkust with semi-autonomy. While it had a local Director, it remained under the guidance of a Dutch High Commissioner. This semi-autonomous status changed in 1976 when the Dominion elected a republican government that declared full independence, forming the Republic of Accany.