Treasures of Ghana how did the glory of the Gold CoastPictolic
When in the XV century the first Portuguese landed their ships to the shores of Ghana, they were amazed by the amount of gold. It was all over and to get it, it was literally just bend over. Gold nuggets are washed by the rivers, across the sand, and just dug out of the earth. It is not surprising that this African country got the name Gold Coast.
Gold in Ghana were used as money and thus is valued much lower than in Europe. Today, in every souvenir shop in the country offer the miniature bronze figures of animals, birds and African soldiers, which the locals call goldweights.
To question travelers about what they mean, locals like to say that in the old days they were used as weights-the weights for gold dust. Hence the name of these objects — the combination of the English words gold and weight plummet. These gifts are a reminder of the past greatness of Ghana in which the people — Ashanti, the gods donated the precious metal.
The Ashanti legend says that in ancient times the bowels of the mountain Bosumtwi opened up and from them came the first representatives of their people. Their land, the gods covered in gold and it belonged to the people, the power over which was given to king Jack tutu.
Almost all the legends of Ashanti, there is gold. The king, even as a simple soldier, was sitting under a tree comneni and rested, when the gods lowered down to him a Golden throne, and the wise man of his tribe, Akane, declared him Lord of all genera inhabiting Ghana. From Akane all the leaders learned about the sign and obey the holder of the Golden relic that the gods made the "sunsum" — the soul of the Ashanti.
In this inspirational tradition encrypted real story. King Osei tutu, who ruled Ghana from 1693 and 1731, held the unification of the disparate tribes of the Ashanti people in a single state, able to withstand numerous enemies. Kingdom in was more like not a monarchy, but a Federation where the tribes-the subjects had wide powers.
The basis of the power of the Ashanti formed many rich gold deposits and placers where people mined as much gold as they need it for trade within the country and with neighbouring States. But things soon changed — to the shores of Ghana they began to molest the Portuguese, English, French, Danish and German commercial and military vessels.
The crews of these vessels needed one — the precious yellow metal. In the XVI century, gold from Ghana accounted for 35% of world production, and it is 235 tons. And this was not the limit for rich mineral resources of the country. Surprise overseas guests caused not only the quantity and cheapness of gold and the art of the Ashanti. One of the French merchants who traded with Ghana in the seventeenth century, wrote in his diary the following:
Of course, there is a logical question to weigh gold Ashanti, having a certain standard of weight for their "holdouts"? But the system of weights and measures residents of the Gold Coast was no less accurate than the European one. From the beginning, trade with aliens Ashanti could not grasp what the basis of the settlement system of white merchants. They gave their coins of base alloys and longed to get to the gold sand or nuggets Ashanti.
The essence of copper coins for local General remained a mystery — this metal had for the inhabitants of the coast of no value and they wouldn't accept it as payment. The coin, which was found in the Ashanti, immediately became a decoration-bauble or toy for a child.
The system of calculation with weight with the help of figures-set of weights was well established and was used not only by Ghanaians but also their neighbors. Those paying for the right to pass through the land of Ashanti gold and also used figures of beetles, birds, or soldiers as weights.
In addition, when "help holdouts" was vzyalis penalties underlying litigation. For stealing, beatings, murder or sacrilege had to pay a fine Golden sand and in each case used certain figures-weights.
Old-timers say that the weights in each hidden his appointment, but do not know its essence. One can only assume that the figures of two warriors in the same boat means a contribution for a joint venture, and the man with the water jug payment of the debt. For Europeans, this Association was unclear and was not satisfied with their calculations. Guests tried to operate with numbers and measures, the meaning of which was not available for Ashanti.
In the XVIII-XIX centuries Ghana gold were being mined in numerous European companies, mostly British. The country has become one of the many colonies, but eventually suffocate Ashanti to the strangers failed. The resistance of the tribes more or less was suppressed in 1900, and in 1957, Ghana declared its independence.
As things stand today, in this country of gold, which is by all crook scraped from the depths of more than 500 years? According to experts Gold Coast today is at a steady 10th place in the world for the extraction of gold and in 2nd place after South Africa in Africa.
Deposits that were developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, today it is not feasible to develop further. Large companies have abandoned them and engaged in more promising recently explored placers and veins. The old mines of the country Ashanti violent color blossomed illegal prospecting, which the government feebly tries to fight back.
Residents in some villages are fully occupied with gold mining, which is carried out antiquated and barbaric ways. The basic tools of local residents are shovels, buckets and sieves. Sometimes in the village you can find primitive grinder a petrol engine, but it's the exception.
The separation of precious metal from the gangue use mercury, and waste products merge into rivers from which drinking water is taken. Many miners and their families do not even live up to 30 years, but the person who has turned 50, is considered here to be an old man.
Among the many countries in Africa, Ghana can be considered relatively prosperous — there are hospitals and schools, across the country there are good roads, developing small and medium businesses. Below the poverty line lives here no more than a third of the population that the Black continent is an achievement.