Dutch Gold Coast expedition of 1869–70

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Dutch Gold Coast expedition of 1869–1870
Quispel.jpg
Remembrance buckle for the expedition
Date 1869-1870
Location Dutch Gold Coast
Result Dutch victory; Dutch Gold Coast sold to Britain in 1872
Belligerents
 Netherlands Local rulers
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Unknown
Strength
34 Dutch soldiers, 112 local soldiers Unknown

The Dutch Gold Coast expedition of 1869–1870 followed the resistance of the local Fante people surrounding the forts assigned to the Netherlands in the 1868 forts trade along the Gold Coast with Britain to Dutch rule. Although the Dutch managed to eventually control the situation, the events marked the end of Dutch involvement in the Gold Coast. Without a profit for almost a century, the escalation finally made the political balance shift in favour of the liberal faction, which wanted to sell the colony to Britain, and away from the nationalist faction, which wanted to retain the colony for reasons of national prestige.

Background[edit]

On 5 March 1867, the Convention between Great Britain and the Netherlands for an Interchange of Territory on the Gold Coast of Africa was signed, which stipulated that all forts on the Gold Coast to the east of Elmina were to be handed over to Britain, while all forts to west of the town were to be handed over to the Netherlands. This meant that the formerly British forts at Beyin (British name: Fort Apollonia, new Dutch name: Fort Willem III), Dixcove (British name: Fort Metal Cross, new Dutch name: Fort Metalen Kruis), Komenda (British name: Fort Komenda, same in Dutch), and Sekondi (British name: Fort Sekondi, same in Dutch) were to become Dutch. To this effect, the Dutch steam ship Het Metalen Kruis departed from the Dutch harbour at Texel on 6 November 1867, arriving in the Gold Coast on 26 November of the same year.

To give effect to the treaty, the ship first departed to Accra, to hand over Fort Crèvecoeur to the British. Afterwards, the ship sailed to Elmina; the other Dutch forts were handed over by officers. Then, the ship sailed to Dixcove to assist in the transfer of Fort Metal Cross to the Dutch. Both this transfer and the transfer of Fort Apollonia were without problems.

Things changed when the ship set sail for Komenda. The Dutch flag was not raised there, as the local rulers resisted the handing over of the fort, which was not much more than a ruin, to the Dutch. At Sekondi, all went more or less according to plan, leaving the Dutch with only one fort to resist their rule. Joint Anglo-Dutch negotiations with the locals did not bear fruit, and when the local king finally approved the hand-over, he was deposed later the same day. Dutch forces then entered the fort by force, and on 2 February 1868, Het Metalen Kruis left for Elmina, leaving 20 soldiers behind to keep the peace. Skirmishes ensued throughout February, but at the end of the month peace seemed to have returned.

Expedition to Kwassie-Krom in December 1869 and January 1870[edit]

To break all resistance, the Dutch decided to send an expedition to the capital of the local people inland, at Kwassie Krom. An expedition force of 9 officers, 18 European soldiers, and 17 Africans was made ready, and the king of Equaffo joined in with a force of 32 Africans and 80 coolies. After a fierce and deadly battle, Kwassie Krom was eventually taken, and Dutch rule in Komenda was secured.

The Dutch government instituted the Medal for Courage and Loyalty Guinea 1869/1870 for seven native soldiers that were deemed to have fought courageously during the expedition.

See also[edit]