The Relationship between Accra and Jamestown

 

Ever wondered where two of Arhinarmah’s most favourite cushion collections got their names from? This week I answered that question for myself and discovered that the towns of Jamestown and Accra are actually closely linked…

 

Jamestown Collection

Jamestown Collection

 

Accra Collection

Accra Collection

 

Accra

Accra is the capital of Ghana (has been since 1877) and is situated along the South coast of the country. It’s the largest city within Ghana with beautiful surroundings (ie the Akwapim Mountains), and boasts a flourishing trading centre that sprung up after the Portuguese and English discovered Ghana in 1482.

 

Independence Arch Accra in Ghana

Independence Arch Accra in Ghana

 

Around this time (1482), several villages of the Ga tribe ruled and occupied the area from a parent settlement called Ayaso/Ayawaso (which is 15 miles away). As the Europeans settled and built their castles, in contrast Ayaso was in the mist of losing everything. Ironically, it was tribal warfare that destroyed Ayaso and its community.

Following the demise of their stronghold on the city, the population of Ayaso decided their best bet was to head towards the coast, with their eyes keenly focused upon prosperity from profitable trading with the Europeans. As a result of this, three new coastal villages appeared and where named Osu (Christiansborg), Dutch Accra (later known as Ussher Town) and Jamestown!

Soon, Jamestown became the nuclei of what was to be Accra.

 

Map of Accra and Jamestown

Map of Accra and Jamestown

 

As time passed, Accra grew due to increased trade and the transfer of capital from the British Gold Coast colony (1877), which ran along the cape coast to Osu (Christianborg).  It was at this time that Accra was officially announced as the capital.

 

Jamestown

Jamestown

 

Jamestown

Today, Jamestown – a maritime capital, is a village (shanty town) almost entirely inhabited by friendly fisher-folk who focus upon artisanal fishing.

It also has a lovely lighthouse that you can visit.

 

Jamestown Lighthouse

Jamestown Lighthouse

 

The atmosphere during the Homowo Festival (or harvest festival in neighboring Ussher Town), which takes place yearly according to the native calendar is happy and given out by the Priest of the Fetish Dantu of the Damte Dsanwe people of the Asere Quarter.

 

Kwaku homowo festival sign

 

During Homowo, within Jamestown and its neighboring villages, whole communities get together to celebrate what is symbolically the passing of the famine and entry into a more fruitful time of year. Even though it is a Ga tradition, many other ethnic groups are welcomed and also join to celebrate.

Bringing you a piece of Ghana’s history with each of our collections, Arhinarmah London aim’s to bring colour and statement pieces to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities with an interest in culture and tradition.

 

If you have any questions about any of Arhinarmah’s collections, where they each got their names from please let team Arhinarmah know. We – like the people of James Town are friendly and open to answering any questions about Arhinarmah and Ghana culture. Any ideas for blog articles you may like to see are also welcome. Click through to Arhinarmah’s site, to contact us or follow and flick us a message on Facebook or Twitter.

SO

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