Guns, Gold and Slaves

The Ashanti Gunmen

Paul Brinkley

The glory and the horror of battle, guns, gold, and slavery in Atlantic West Africa. A ruthless world where only money and muskets ruled.
Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Musket to Maxim 1815-1914
No associated books available.


Guns, Gold, and Slaves seeks out Gold Coast history primarily from the African view. The Black Atlantic Confederacies that battled each other were strong nations, not meek victims of European Traders. In fact, their existence and creation depended exactly upon the successful control of, not just participation in, slavery. In that respect, the history of Old World Atlantic Africa is often more callous and pragmatic than New World histories, whether black or white, would imagine.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in Europe the tide of books, save for academic materials, has never primarily focused upon the voices of Africans. Such new literature as there is usually approaches the matter from Black New World modern perspectives, not objective assessments including contemporary Old World African perspectives. Old Africa was neither all victim nor all innocent. West Africa’s history was complex. That was never truer than in the case of the Asante, the Land of Gilded Emperors and gun toting hordes who achieved greater victories against Britain, and for longer, than other African Kingdoms like the Zulus and the Afrikaners.

It is a story of many strands touching upon Arab, Black, and White Trading Routes. Primarily its focus however is upon the military machine and fighting of the Asante as well as the Fante Middlemen Merchant network connecting with the European Slave Castles at the coast.

It also illustrates the increasing host of African enemies ranged against the Asante Battlemen. Theirs was the rain forest and they defended it to the end against British, local African rivals, and latterly distant African auxiliaries of Queen Victoria.

It is a story of war drums, gold dust, trade muskets, savage bravery, unforgivable cruelty, and unbeatable tradition.

About The Author

Paul Brinkley was born in the Bristol suburbs and trained in Birmingham’s Whittall Street (the heart of the old, once awesome Birmingham Gun Quarter) as a Lawyer, little knowing the relevance or significance that these two places had to the Slave Trade and World history. Living in Birmingham and being aware of Jamaican influence on the City he was intrigued by these World links and felt that all those strands of time, place and peoples should be pulled together and explained in an approachable manner, picking out the core issues from amongst dry Victorian accounts and learned scholarly studies, whilst maintaining an objectivity amongst the present revisionism raging over Atlantic and Empire issues. Working back, Paul Brinkley was drawn to Georgian times when the New World was shaped as much by Asante and Fante Armies and Businessmen as by American Settlers and Caribbean Planters. The story led to West Africa and the pernicious legacy of European Traders. Paul Brinkley is interested as a Solicitor in recording accurately the evidence, apportioning responsibility and facing surprising truths, which abound in this equally harsh yet uplifting tale of human cruelty, coercion, suffering and courage. Paul Brinkley’s interest hopes to extend next to the Caribbean Islands where the fallout from the awful West African Slave Trade was most keenly felt.

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