42 pages 1 hour read

Trevor R. Getz, Illustr. Liz Clarke

Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History

Nonfiction | Graphic Novel/Book | YA | Published in 2011

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Part 3, Chapters 11-16

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3, Chapter 11 Summary: “The Gold Coast, ca. 1876”

This section contextualizes the previous sections as secondary sources (Part 1’s graphic novel) and primary sources (Part 2’s court transcript). It then poses questions of how historians interpret historical documents and how readers can discern the credibility of different interpretations—the focus of the next three parts of the novel. This section in particular provides specific historical context for the story.

This section includes two subsections: “Early History” and “Societal and Political Changes: Asante and the Europeans.” In the “Early History” subsection, the Twi-speaking Akan people, based on female lineage and organized by extended family, is framed as a prominent agricultural society in which slavery was vital. The “Societal and Political Changes: Asante and the Europeans” subsection details the rise of Asante through gold, koalas, and a slave trade as well as the colonization of Europeans (from England, France, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany) who initially came as traders and merchants. By the 1850s, England used its military to drive out other European powers in the region to take control of the palm oil industry (which was valuable for soap and machine lubrication). The Asante kings, who controlled much of the palm oil industry, posed a challenge to the British.