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To The Gold Coast for Gold (Annotated): A Personal Narrative
by Sir Richard Francis Burton
rating: 5.0 (1 reviews)


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*This Book is annotated (it contains a detailed biography of the author).
*An active Table of Contents has been added by the publisher for a better customer experience.
*This book has been checked and corrected for spelling errors.

The following extract from 'Wanderings in West Africa,' a book which I
wrote in 1862 and published (anonymously) in 1863, will best explain the
reasons which lately sent me to Western Africa:--

In several countries, for instance, Dinkira, Tueful, Wásá (Wassaw), and
especially Akim, the hill-region lying north of Accra, the people are
still active in digging gold. The pits, varying from two to three feet
in diameter, and from twelve to fifty deep (eighty feet is the extreme),
are often so near the roads that loss of life has been the
result. 'Shoring up' being little known, the miners are not unfrequently
buried alive. The stuff is drawn up by ropes in clay pots, or
calabashes, and thus a workman at the bottom widens the pit to a
pyriform shape; tunnelling, however, is unknown. The excavated earth is
carried down to be washed. Besides sinking these holes, they pan in the
beds of rivers, and in places collect quartz, which is roughly pounded.

They (the natives) often refuse to dig deeper than the chin, for fear of
the earth 'caving in;' and, quartz-crushing and the use of quicksilver
being unknown, they will not wash unless the gold 'show colour' to the
naked eye.

As we advance northwards from the Gold Coast the yield becomes
richer....

It is becoming evident that Africa will one day equal half-a-dozen
Californias....

Will our grandsons believe in these times ... that this Ophir--that
this California, where every river is a Tmolus and a Pactolus, every
hillock is a gold-field--does not contain a cradle, a puddling-machine,
a quartz-crusher, a pound of mercury? That half the washings are wasted
because quicksilver is unknown? That whilst convict labour is
attainable, not a company has been formed, not a surveyor has been sent
out? I exclaim with Dominie Sampson--'Pro-di-gious!'

Western Africa was the first field that supplied the precious metal to
mediaeval Europe. The French claim to have imported it from Elmina as
early as A.D. 1382. In 1442 Gonçales Baldeza returned from his second
voyage to the regions about Bojador, bringing with him the first gold.
Presently a company was formed for the purpose of carrying on the
gold-trade between Portugal and Africa. Its leading men were the
navigators Lanzarote and Gilianez, and Prince Henry 'the Navigator' did
not disdain to become a member. In 1471 João de Santarem and Pedro
Escobar reached a place on the Gold Coast to which, from the abundance
of gold found there, they gave the name of 'São Jorje da Mina,' the
present Elmina. After this a flood of gold poured into the lap of
Europe; and at last, cupidity having mastered terror of the Papal Bull,
which assigned to Portugal an exclusive right to the Eastern Hemisphere,
English, French, and Dutch adventurers hastened to share the spoils.

For long years my words fell upon flat ears. Presently the Ashanti war
of 1873-74 brought the subject before the public. The Protectorate was
overrun by British officers, and their reports and itineraries never
failed to contain, with a marvellous unanimity of iteration, the magic
word--Gold.

The fraction of country, twenty-six miles of seaboard out of two
hundred, by a depth of sixty--in fact, the valley of the Ancobra
River--now (early 1882) contains five working companies. Upwards of
seventy concessions, to my knowledge, have been obtained from native
owners, and many more are spoken of. In fact, development has at length
begun, and the line of progress is clearly traced.


Details:
rank: #2,890,176
price: $12.00
bound: 240 pages
publisher:
lang: English
asin: B01COECGC4
isbn:
weight:
filesize: 1354 KB



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