Winsnes, Selena Axelrod. A Danish Jew in West Africa. Wulf Joseph Wulff Biography And Letters 1836-1842. Legon-Accra, Ghana: African Books Collective, 2013.
Wulff’s life history is of considerable interest in itself. In her biographical essay (Part I) Selena Axelrod Winsnes portrays him as a ‘marginal man’: being a Jew in Denmark at the beginning of the 19th century was to some extent an uphill struggle for those who sought public recognition, and Wulff did not escape discrimination in his administrative career at Christiansborg either, although special circumstances allowed him to hold important positions, and yet, only for the short term. Paradoxically, on his arrival to the Gold Coast Wulff – as a Jew – was placed in a middle position in the racial hierarchy dominating the mind-set of his superiors in Copenhagen in-between Africans and Europeans. In many respects he shared the fate of Euro-Africans, straddling two worlds and being ‘sealed off’ from the top echelons of the European establishments on the Coast. This book comprises two parts. The first is a biographical presentation of Wulff Joseph Wulff a Danish Jew. It is an essay concerning the last six years of his life, spent on the Gold Coast of West Africa, based on letters he wrote to his family in Denmark. Those letters were published in 1917 as Da Guinea var Dansk [When Guinea was Danish], by Carl Behrens, a member of his family in Denmark. The second part of the book is an edited translation of the letters from Danish into English.
Weiss, Holger. ‘The European and Eurafrican Population of the Danish Forts on the Eighteenth-Century Gold Coast’. African Economic History, vol. 46, no. 1, University of Wisconsin Press, 2018, pp. 36–68,
This essay focuses on the demographic consequences of entanglement in the Danish possessions on the Gold Coast in West Africa. Two sets of data will be analyzed, one on the European composition of the Danish enclaves and discusses demographic trends and ruptures, the other on the Eurafrican population in the Danish enclaves. The first part of the study focusses on the survival of the European personnel in the Danish possessions on the Gold Coast. Similar to the experience of other European trading nations in West Africa, the Guinea Coast was a ‘White Man’s Grave’ for the Danish personnel as about half of the newly arrived staff members died within the first year on the coast. The second part deals with the employment and careers of the Eurafricans, i.e., the children of Danish fathers and local African or Eurafrican women. While the Danish authorities enlisted some of the Eurafrican boys as military staff members, the fate of the Eurafrican girls was unclear. In contrast to the Europeans, the Eurafrican population seldom succumbed to the coastal climate. Instead, demographic data suggests that their life expectancy was relatively high, at least compared to that of the European personnel.
Weiss, Holger. ‘The Danish Gold Coast as a Multinational and Entangled Space, c. 1700–1850’. Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity, 2013, 243–260,
This chapter gives an outline of the intertwined multiple cultural and social dynamics in the Danish enclaves and their hinterlands on the Gold Coast (Ghana) during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Similar to the other European ports of exchange, the Danish forts had been built next to African settlements. The interaction between the Europeans and the Africans had created a multicultural and transnational space where expressions of early modern proto-globalisation intermingled with local cultures of particular societies. Apart from discussing the multinational composition of the Danish personnel, the chapter highlights the African and Euro-African spaces at Danish Accra, focusing on how foreign cultural artefacts and ideas were combined with local ones.
Yankholmes, Aaron Kofi Badu, Oheneba Akwasi Akyeampong, and Laud Alfred Dei. ‘Residents’ Perceptions of Transatlantic Slave Trade Attractions for Heritage Tourism in Danish-Osu, Ghana’. Journal of Heritage Tourism, vol. 4, no. 4, Routledge, Nov. 2009, pp. 315–329.
Against the background of lingering controversy over the use of Transatlantic Slave Trade (TAST) relics for tourism ends, this paper sought to examine residents’ perceptions towards proposed promotion of heritage tourism based on TAST relics in Danish-Osu, a former slave site in Accra, capital of Ghana. A combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed during the fieldwork towards the end of 2007. A questionnaire survey captured 200 household heads in six communities while interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with other key stakeholders in the Danish-Osu community. Frequencies and percentages were used to demonstrate residents’ lay concepts of tourism, whereas the mean, t-test and one-way ANOVA were used to measure residents’ attitude towards heritage tourism. A major finding of the study is that residents’ perceive tourism from a cultural perspective because of the numerous TAST resources in the community. However, residents’ support for heritage tourism is influenced by place of residence. This suggested that irrespective of the place of residence, residents of Danish-Osu were found to be supportive of heritage products and activities. Implications were discussed in the context of how residents’ perceptions will affect preservation efforts at various stages of tourism planning.
Yankholmes, Aaron K. B., and Oheneba A. Akyeampong. ‘Tourists’ Perceptions of Heritage Tourism Development in Danish-Osu, Ghana’. International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 12, no. 5, 2010, pp. 603–616.
This paper examines the tourist perceptions at Danish, Osu-Ghana within the dark tourism or slavery heritage contexts. Using Cohen’s (1979) typology of tourist experience, we differentiate between tourist knowledge of a heritage site relative to socio-demographic indices. The results indicate that tourists’ perception of Danish-Osu reflect their knowledge of the site in relation to its cultural heritage attributes. In addition, it was found that tourists have dual experiences of the site: those that relate to recreational pursuits of heritage sites and those that ascribe meanings based on their background. The contemporary nature and use of Transatlantic Slave Trade relics for tourism development makes the case of the Danish-Osu more delicate considering the ethical implications of interpreting the community’s past to tourists as the borderlines are unclear.
Weiss, Holger, editor. ‘Ports of Globalisation, Places of Creolisation: Nordic Possessions in the Atlantic World during the Era of the Slave Trade’. Ports of Globalisation, Places of Creolisation, Brill, 2021
This anthology addresses and analyses the transformation of interconnected spaces and spatial entanglements in the Atlantic rim during the era of the slave trade by focusing on the Danish possessions on the Gold Coast and their Caribbean islands of Saint Thomas, Saint Jan and Saint Croix as well as on the Swedish Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy. The first part of the anthology addresses aspects of interconnectedness in West Africa, in particular the relationship between Africans and Danes on the Gold Coast. The second part of this volume examines various aspects of interconnectedness, creolisation and experiences of Danish and Swedish slave rules in the Caribbean.
Körber, Lill-Ann. ‘Gold Coast (2015) and Danish Economies of Colonial Guilt’. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, vol. 10, no. 2, Routledge, Apr. 2018.
The article discusses Daniel Dencik’s feature film Gold Coast (2015), about the last phase of Danish colonialism in today’s Ghana, as an example for recent representations of Danish colonial history. Combining historian of ideas Astrid Nonbo Andersen’s exploration of Danish narratives of “innocent colonialism”, Gloria Wekker’s concept of “White Innocence”, and film historian Thomas Elsaesser’s model of “guilt economies” as a feature of the legacy of perpetrator nations (2014), the article provides a framework within which to examine figurations of colonial guilt and innocence in Gold Coast. The main argument is that the film’s treatment of colonial guilt primarily takes the form of maintenance of innocence. It thereby contradicts the challenges currently being pitted elsewhere against the narrative of innocent colonialism.
Körber, Lill-Ann. ‘Danish Ex-Colony Travel: Paradise Discourse, Commemoration, and (Not Quite) Dark Tourism’. Scandinavian Studies, vol. 89, no. 4, [Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, University of Illinois Press], 2017, pp. 487–511.
Hopkins, Daniel P. ‘The Danish Ban on the Atlantic Slave Trade and Denmark’s African Colonial Ambitions, 1787–1807’. Itinerario, vol. 25, no. 3–4, Cambridge University Press, Nov. 2001, pp. 154–184.
On 16 March 1792, King Christian VII of Denmark, his own incompetent hand guided by that of the young Crown Prince Frederik (VI), signed decree banning both the importation of slaves into the Danish West Indies (now the United States Virgin Islands) and their export from the Danish establishments on the Guinea Coast, in what is now Ghana. To soften the blow to the planters of the Danish West Indies and to secure the continued production of sugar, the law was not to take effect for ten years. In the meantime, imports of slaves, and of women especially, would actually encouraged by state loans and favourable tariffs, so as, it was hoped, render the slave population capable of reproducing itself naturally thereafter.
DeCorse, Christopher R. ‘The Danes on the Gold Coast: Culture Change and the European Presence’. The African Archaeological Review, vol. 11, Springer, 1993, pp. 149–173.
Denmark was one of several European nations which vied for West African trade between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The Danes established more than thirty forts, trading lodges and plantations on the Gold Coast, and they played an important role in the development of African-European relations in the region. Traces of Danish outposts and the results of recent excavations at the Daccubie plantation are briefly surveyed. The available data illustrate the circumscribed nature of African-European interaction on the Gold Coast, providing insight into the context in which culture change occurred within African populations. The archaeological record of European expansion in Africa and elsewhere is used to illustrate the varying nature of European contact.