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African American Missionaries and Settlers in West Africa


PD Dr. Katja Füllberg-Stolberg (Department of History)


This project deals with the impact of the abolition of the slave trade and slavery in the Americas and Africa during the transformation period between 1842 and 1874. It focuses on a group of 24 former slaves (men and women) from the British West Indies (mostly Jamaica) who went as Christian converts to West Africa. They arrived in 1843 at the Gold Coast, at a time when slavery was abolished in the British Empire, but not in certain parts of the Gold Coast that were still under Danish rule. As a matter of fact the Gold Coast did not fall under exclusive British colonial influence before 1850. The converts, members of the Moravian Church, went to Africa in order to support the Basel Mission in their effort  to enforce their missionary activities at the West African coast.  


This project comprises three levels of analysis:    

  • The economic, social and political development in the sphere of  European influence at the Gold Coast.

  • The social, ethnic and cultural position of the West Indians and their role as cultural brokers within the multi-ethnic society of the Gold Coast during the transformation period.

  • The debate on slavery and abolition in West Africa within the Basel Mission