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"Obstinate" pastor and pioneer historian: the impact of Basel Mission ideology on the thought of Carl Christian Reindorf.

In 1895, after twenty-five years of historical and ethnological research, Carl Christian Reindorf, a Ghanaian pastor of the Basel Mission, produced a massive and systematic work about the people of modern southern Ghana, The History of the Gold Coast and Asante (1895). (1) Reindorf, "the first African to publish a full-length Western-style history of a region of Africa," (2) was born in 1834 at Prampram/Gbugbla, Ghana, and he died in 1917 at Osu, Ghana. (3) He was in the service of the Basel Mission as a catechist and teacher, and later as a pastor until his retirement in 1893; but he was also known as an herbalist, farmer, and medical officer as well as an intellectual and a pioneer historian. The intellectual history of the Gold Coast, like that of much of Africa, is yet to be thoroughly studied. The lack of attention given to the subject may be partly due to the paucity of sources. With his History, however, Carl Christian Reindorf has bequeathed a unique literary and historical record. (4)

In researching, writing, revising, and publishing his History, Reindorf drew on his own personal story, the current political situation, and social and religious changes among the people. A major source was the Basel Mission and its associated ideological background, which accounts for some of Reindorf's ideas on history, African languages, progress, and the nation. In discussing European influence in general and the Basel Mission in particular, Reindorf selectively adopted ideas, for he had his own motives, agendas, and ideological objectives. Reindorf was unquestionably a child of his age, breathing the atmosphere of the nineteenth-century Gold Coast. Though conditioned by the ideas of his time, both European and African, his History clearly displays his intellectual independence.

Reindorf's Western Education

Reindorf's Western education consisted of five years' attendance at the Danish castle school at Fort Christiansborg (1842-47), close to Osu in the greater Accra area, and another six years' training at the newly founded Basel Mission school at Osu (1847-55), minus a two-year break working as a trader for one of his uncles (1850-52). At the Danish castle school Reindorf was taught the catechism and arithmetic in Danish. Basel missionary Elias Schrenk later noted that the boys did not understand much Danish and therefore did not learn much, and he also observed that Christian principles were not strictly followed, as the children were even allowed to stay home for Ga religious ceremonies. (5)

At the Basel Mission school, Reindorf attended the catechist class under missionary Johannes Zimmermann in the early 1850s. (6) Reportedly very few schoolbooks were available, and no curriculum existed at that time. Some six teenagers "lived together with a missionary and learned from him what he could and chose to teach them." (7) Under this arrangement Reindorf became strongly influenced by the ideas of Zimmermann, who became his revered mentor and to whom he later dedicated the revised History of 1912. (8) Zimmermann intended to teach his students Hebrew, but Basel Mission headquarters in Switzerland rejected the proposal, considering it as "too pretentious, not convenient and too time-consuming." (9) Thus the subjects taught in Reindorf's catechist class included knowledge of the Bible, world history, the languages Ga, Akan/Twi, and English, and practical training in preaching and teaching. Students were also informally trained in discipline, reporting, and record-keeping. During these years under Zimmermann, Reindorf came into contact with Western historical conceptions, including notably the form and function of history, source criticism, and the supremacy of chronology and rational logic in European historiography.

Reindorf himself worked as a teacher of history at the catechists and teachers' seminary at Akropong (Akuapem) from November 1860 to April 1862. In late 1863 Reindorf was appointed teacher at the newly founded middle school at Osu. The course for students from the ages of fourteen to eighteen included subjects such as biblical exegesis, theology, history and geography, English, and, for the senior classes, Greek. (10) Reindorf worked as a teacher at Osu until 1872.

Reindorf as Basel Mission Employee

Reindorf's History is a fine intellectual achievement. It reveals the use of innovative methods and intellectual independence by an author who selectively adapted ideas from Western historiography and philosophy via his Basel Mission education and from his own reading of European books, as well as from local concepts of history and the philosophy of language. Reindorf wove all of these strands into something altogether new at the time.

The points to note here are "innovation," "independence," and "selective adaptation." As an employee of the Basel Mission, Reindorf was often described as eigensinnig, that is, "obstinate" or "self-willed," a clear indication of his individuality, self-confidence, and critical spirit, which refused to accede to rules with which he did not agree. (11) In the Basel Mission both Europeans and Africans were expected to submit unconditionally to the authority of their superiors. Colleagues and his superiors viewed Reindorf as a rule-breaker, yet he avoided dismissal from service as long as he was credited with useful accomplishments. He was, in fact, dismissed in 1862 but was soon called back; in 1867 he was persuaded to remain when dissatisfaction with his salary almost led him to quit the job. People like Reindorf posed a dilemma for the Basel Mission leadership: He openly challenged the mission's control, but he was at the same time recognized as essential for the survival and progress of the mission. (12) His connections and network at Osu proved crucial for the mission's relationship with the local authorities and with the common people.

By his forceful example Reindorf carried others with him, especially the younger African generation. In 1866 Christian Holm, a young Euro-African who was a notorious runaway, was readmitted to the Osu middle school because of Reindorf's intercession. (13) In the early 1870s Peter M. Anteson (b. ca. 1853), a young and promising orphan from La who had just finished the Osu middle school, intended--for financial reasons--to look for employment as a clerk. Reindorf persuaded him to pursue his studies and enter the theological seminary at Akropong. He probably also supported him financially. (14) In 1882 William A. Quartey (b. 1858) was determined to leave the Basel Mission and become a trader. Through Reindorf's influence, however, he remained in the service of the mission and eventually married one of Reindorf's daughters. (15) The strength and persuasiveness of Reindorf's views, his nonconformist attitude (being "no friend of too many rules"), (16) and his strong personal determination in the face of the constraints he endured as an employee of the Basel Mission bore creative fruit in his History.

Influence of Basel Mission Ideology

Basel Mission ideology was rooted in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation and the awakened Pietism of Wurttemberg. Bringing these ideas and practices to the Gold Coast, the Basel missionaries--most of whom came from poor working-class farming and artisan backgrounds--emphasized the idea that the physical world was defined exclusively by its materiality. They condemned belief in the power of supposed spiritual forces to influence one's life, denouncing them as agents of Satan who prevented humans from knowing the true God. (17) This outlook is clearly echoed in the following two passages from Reindorf's History:
 The supreme power was formerly directly, and is now indirectly,
 lodged in the hands of a set of imposters known as foretelling
 priests..., who are rightly named by the Akras "wongtsemei" i.e.
 fathers of the fetish or originators of fetishism (lit. who gave
 birth to the "wong"). Women are also admitted to be members of this

 It was God in heaven who mercifully defended our country. But our
 deluded people attributed the victory not only to their fetishes,
 but also to every cartilaginous, spinous, and testaceous creature
 in the sea, which they consider, to the present day, as warriors of
 their fetish Nai (the sea). (18)

Converts, upon embracing the Christian faith, were urged to demonstrate their inner conviction, to be reborn, and to lead a completely transformed life in the Christian cause. Reindorf later admitted that for him this process took a long time. (19)

The goal of the Basel missionaries was to develop self-supporting Christian farming and artisan communities grounded on the existing moral and patriarchal order of Gold Coast rural settlements. Reindorf's thoughts on the Gold Coast economy in the late nineteenth century reflect such an orientation.
 But the better classes among us, the educated community, have
 refrained from agriculture, by which the riches of a country is
 developed. Is not agriculture the mother of civilization, the
 backbone of national wealth, and the type of the various branches
 of human industry which have subsequently sprung up in all the
 civilized world? If our people in being educated refrain from that
 particular work, is that civilization we aim at sound? Can we speak
 of civilization when the real riches and resources of such a
 wonderfully rich country are buried in the ground? When the grass
 of thousands of acres of our grass-lands is consumed by fire every
 year and not yet by cattle?

 We have every facility to become monied men, respectable men, if we
 only give up the false notion of civilization which we aim at, and
 turn to our rich soil, and work with our own hands! (20)

Johannes Zimmermann's Impact on Reindorf

As noted above, Johannes Zimmermann's tutoring seems to have had a particularly deep impact on Reindorf's thinking. In the absence of any fixed school curriculum, Zimmermann's students were probably very much focused on their teacher's particular ideas and convictions, which often did not agree with official Basel Mission policy. He has recently been described as a "strategic deviant" who was not prepared to submit unconditionally to the authority of his superiors and who, like Reindorf after him, avoided dismissal only because he was credited with useful accomplishments and was considered strategically essential for the mission's survival and its evangelizing progress. (21) Zimmermann's attitude toward authority was paralleled by Reindorf's readiness to leave the service of the mission in 1862 over a dispute about slavery, and again in 1867 because of conflict over rules and regulations associated with mission employment.

Zimmermann strongly disagreed with the policy of racial separation as formulated by Basel Mission headquarters. He perceived the imposition of a European social order on African communities followed by refusal to treat Africans like Europeans as a glaring contradiction. In 1852 he married a black woman of Jamaican origin without the permission and against the regulations of his employers; he was reported to have said, "I would rather become a black in order to win over the blacks." (22) Racial separation and unequal distribution of authority between the European missionaries and their African subordinate partners became issues of debate from the 1860s onward. Reindorf's resignation in 1862 from the mission's service was motivated in part by his frustration at being subordinated to European missionaries who were younger than he was, whom he himself had initiated into the practice of street preaching, and who were "his inferiors in character and intelligence." (23) In the 1880s, when racial division hardened and Europeans increasingly criticized intermarriage and social interaction between Africans and Europeans, Reindorf commented, "When the mulatto ladies were not properly educated in former years, they were easily sold by their parents to White men; nowadays they are sensible and prefer to have their own country men [rather] than those mockers." (24) The African intellectual elite reacted to the hardening European attitude by reemphasizing African values and developing a new consciousness of their own identity and history.


While some fellow European missionaries, Basel Mission headquarters, and most British officials viewed the African way of life as a reflection of the spiritual darkness into which the natives, as cursed "descendants of Ham," were plunged, Zimmermann expressed respect for African institutions and stressed the importance of preserving African social arrangements as far as they agreed with the Christian faith, insisting, according to Jon Miller, that it was a mistake
 to introduce communities patterned too faithfully on the European
 experience if they were thereby also to include European vices but
 exclude the stronger features of the African communities that
 predated them. African communities in their unspoiled forms, by
 which he meant their pre-slave trade and precolonial state, were
 superior in many ways to contemporary European culture, he said,
 because they had not experienced the philosophical corruption of
 the Enlightenment, the corrosive radical ferment that came out of
 the French Revolution, or the socially destructive effects of the
 Industrial Revolution that was eroding the Lutheran agrarian ideal
 in Europe. In one of his quarterly reports to the Committee in
 1852, Zimmermann wrote at length about the integrity of the
 traditional African families he had observed. Despite the cultural
 decay that was all around them, he noted, many families preserved a
 clear and stable patriarchal [i.e., biblical] form, suggesting the
 presence of a strong Old Testament influence. This observation led
 him to join in the speculation that West Africans had ties to the
 ancient Christian communities in Ethiopia. Therefore, he reasoned,
 West Africans quite possibly represented a mixture of Semitic and
 Hamitic cultural and racial strains. (25)

Zimmermann's ideas clearly reflected paradoxical, if not conflicting, appeals made both to the idea of the nation as being "civilized and Christian" and to a romanticist desire to preserve an "authentic" pre-existing African way of life. Zimmermann's social theories, his views on African institutions and culture, and the implicit threat to "freeze" the Africans' historical development were, however, largely congruent with ideas Reindorf later expressed in his History.

In 1862 Zimmermann along with nearly half of the European missionaries on the Gold Coast challenged the authority of the Basel Mission headquarters, which had insisted that so-called domestic slavery within the Gold Coast Christian communities be eradicated immediately. In line with Reindorf and other African catechists, these missionaries considered domestic slavery to be a comparatively mild and patriarchal form of bondage that could not be compared with the horrors of the international transatlantic slave trade and American slavery, and they opted for its gradual replacement by wage labor. (26) The dispute led to Zimmermann's recallback to Basel in 1862 so that he could be resocialized and retrained in the norms of the mission and recommitted to current European values, which were opposed to all versions of domestic slavery. (27)

Ideas on African Languages and the "Nation"

Basel missionaries like Johannes Zimmermann and Johannes Gottlieb Christaller (1827-95) were deeply influenced by the sociohistorical theories of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), whose views on the life cycle of communities and on the equality of different cultures was opposed to the historical conception of the Enlightenment, which considered Western civilization as superior to other cultures and as the ideal and goal toward which other cultures did or should aspire. (28)

One element of Herder's thought that was of profound significance for the Basel missionaries was the notion of Volk, namely, a people that shared features that distinguished them from others--a common history, a culture, and, most important, a common language. Translated into missionary practice, the result was that the Basel Mission fostered the creation of written languages. Protestant tenets such as addressing the people in their mother tongue and providing them with access to the Bible in their own languages provided the explicit reasons for this activity, but at a deeper level lay a Herderian philosophy of language. Christaller, the Basel Mission's pioneer Akan/Twi linguist, was convinced that languages were expressions of the human "soul" and encapsulated the essence of being human. He therefore argued for honoring "human dignity in Africans and in their languages." (29) In an editorial note written in the late 1880s Christaller responded with the following words to complaints that more articles in the Basel Mission Akan/Twi periodical Christian Messenger should be written in English:
 Some would like it [the Christian Messenger] better if its messages
 were delivered in English, because the natives of the Gold Coast,
 being English subjects, wanted to become Englishmen.... African
 nations will never become parts of the English nation. To prove
 this and draw the conclusions, we have neither time nor space now.
 We German missionaries do not wish to take from the Africans what
 is their own property, or to destroy it, but we wish to preserve
 and cultivate it and make it the vehicle of the best spiritual
 gifts and even of much useful knowledge for their earthly life and
 temporal concerns. I ... beg all true patriots among our Gold Coast
 Christians to watch over the purity of their own vernacular
 language, their mother tongue, and to help to cultivate it to the
 benefit of their own nation. (30)

Christaller clearly saw language as linked with nationhood and believed that there was a real danger that African languages would disappear with the advance of English. At the Basel Mission school, Zimmermann taught Reindorf to appreciate Ga, his own language, although Reindorf as a teenager clearly preferred to learn English, like everyone else, for career purposes. Later, Reindorf's Ga manuscripts of the History are ample evidence of his interest in contributing to a corpus of Ga literature as proposed by the Basel missionaries. (31) In one of his letters to Christaller of August 1893, Reindorf defended himself against the claim that he preferred English to Ga: "If that is true, why [do] I try myself to find out old Ga words and use them in my work? 2 years and 1 1/2 year respectively that both my son in law and my son were absent to England, I never write them in English but in Ga? Ga is spoken in my family and my wife and children blame me for that. I write English letters when I must." (32)

The creation of written languages involved the writing of a grammar, the production of word lists and dictionaries, and the coinage of Christian terminology and of expressions "for many notions and ideas not occurring in daily life, but brought in by the knowledge of foreign thoughts, observances, objects, and facts." (33) Rather than introducing loan words from European languages, the Basel missionaries preferred to create new lexical items by combining existing words or expanding the meanings of indigenous words. (34)

The establishment of Ga and Akan/Twi as written languages went along with language standardization and the definition of particular regions as linguistic communities. Using the coastal Ga dialect of Osu and the Akropong / Akuapem dialect of Akan / Twi as guides, Basel missionaries Zimmermann and Christaller respectively created written forms of the languages for translation, literary products, and instruction at schools. This accomplishment in turn fostered the development, or at least the reinvigoration, of ethnic identities where none had existed before or were considered of little significance. The deep-seated relationship between language, linguistic community, and nation is clearly expressed in the following passage written by Christaller in the 1890s: "The Tshi-speaking tribes of the Gold Coast must become a Christian nation ... and a very effective help to this will be, that they become united by one common book language. If the Tshi people shall be received among the Christian civilized nations, their language also must be cultivated, developed, and refined, so that everything worthy to be known by educated men may be duly and fitly expressed in their own tongue." (35)

Reflecting Herder's influence, Basel Mission policy and practice exhibited the strange paradox of trying to foster ethnic identities ("nations") by the production of linguistic communities, even while making appeals against ethnic nationalist thought. In the mid-1890s Christaller, finding Ga nationalistic sentiment present in Reindorf's History (he had written that the Ga "will be seen among the tribes as really a favoured people!"), commented in the margin of the Ga manuscript: "It makes no good impression when individual persons or tribes or nations seem to exalt themselves over others or praise their own preferences in every possible way. Those persons or nation [sic] that have received more than others have thereby incumbent on them the duty to do more for others." (36)

History as the Key to Progress

In Basel Mission ideology as upheld by the missionaries, a common language was closely linked with a shared origin, and so the mission encouraged the collection of folk tales and oral narratives about the past, emphasizing the power of language to recapture the past. Christaller was convinced that by reconnecting to its common origin and history, an ethnic group could reinvigorate their Volksgeist, or shared ethnic national spirit. (37) In 1893 he wrote:
 Civilization chiefly depends on the communication of new ideas and
 increase of knowledge borrowed from the great store of wisdom and
 learning accumulated in the literature of the leading civilized
 nations.... A nation is on the path of civilization, when it rises
 to recollect its own history, when it begins to compare its former
 and its present state, to disapprove and reject bad observances,
 and to rejoice in real improvements, to learn from the past, and to
 progress toward what is better.... Great historians are ornaments
 and benefactors to their nations, for History, as one said, is the
 best instructor. Any adult person of good sense will profit from
 reflecting on his former years or on the past in general. And so I
 hope that Tshi Christians also in future days will be glad to read
 about the conditions and transactions of the ancestors. (38)

Here Christaller explicitly links literature, history, progress, and civilization. The Basel Mission's linguistic, ethnographic, and historical studies were thus devoted to turning the various ethnic communities into "nations."

Reindorf apparently adapted an idealist view of history as the key to progress. He fused it with his own understanding of history, which included the strong influence of Ga thought and values. This influence is evident in his History, where we see the idea of society comprising ancestors, living beings, and the yet unborn; a strong reverence for the past; and the hand of the ancestors at work in both the present and the future. Christaller's thoughts expressed here on the link between progress, civilization, and history are clearly echoed in the following passage from Reindorf's preface to his 1895 History: "A history is the methodical narration of events in the order in which they successively occurred, exhibiting the origin and progress, the causes and effects, and the auxiliaries and tendencies of that which has occurred in connection with a nation. It is, as it were, the speculum and measure-tape of that nation, showing its true shape and stature. Hence a nation not possessing a history has no true representation of all the stages of its development, whether it is in a state of progress or in a state of retrogression." (39)

Regarding the value of oral narratives, Reindorf was indebted to his European fellow missionaries Zimmermann, Christaller, Karl Aldinger (1834-82), Christian Kolle (1864-1936), and August Wilhelm Steinhauser (1829-57), who were deeply interested in African languages, culture, and even religion, quite contrary to their European contemporaries in the British colonial administration. They were arduous collectors of oral narratives, as can be seen in various unpublished documents in the Basel Mission archives. The respect with which they thought about the "African mind" is expressed in the following words by Christaller: "One thing among others is remarkable: the extent to which an illiterate people can preserve so many facts and names of persons of its past history, by no other means but the retentive memory and oral traditions, partly supported by certain popular songs referring to the facts. This feature in the life of illiterate people may also contribute to remove or abate the doubts concerning the reliability of other records of ancient and modern nations similarly circumstanced as the African peoples." (40)

From the early 1850s, Reindorf and other students at the Basel Mission school were tapped for ethnographic studies and occasionally had to write essays about what they knew of the Ga religion, Ga festivals, or other aspects of their culture. (41) These texts on history or cultural practices primarily served as linguistic data and language specimens for the production of grammars and dictionaries in the Akan/Twi and Ga languages, but they also furnished invaluable information that intellectually validated ethnic identities.


Carl Christian Reindorf's History of the Gold Coast and Asante has a special place in West African historiography. Drawing a colorful and lively picture of historical events, it was written from an African point of view; in it Reindorf gave Africans a voice and the ability to actively shape history, in marked contrast to the views of his European predecessors and contemporaries. He anticipated methodological approaches to history that became common in African historiography only from the 1950s, particularly in drawing attention to various forms of verbal art (e.g., songs, proverbs, horn and drum signals) as resources for investigating the past, and in pursuing an interdisciplinary approach involving ethnology and linguistics. Reindorf's History is thus a significant source for studying the historiographical ideas of an African intellectual in the colonial situation. But Reindorf was not just an arduous collector of archival material; he was, in fact, an archival creator, for modern scholars have seen the History as presenting an unrivaled wealth and originality of oral narratives. In 1995 Thomas McCaskie commented that "the intellectual history of Basel Mission enterprise on the Gold Coast is as long in possibility as it is short of investigators." (42) Reindorf's History is part of the history of Ghana--but also of the Basel Mission, of the city of Basel, and even of the history of Switzerland. Since many of the missionaries of the Basel Mission worked in the Gold Coast and left traces of their presence there, the results of their work--particularly as reflected in the History--should be appreciated and honored.

Reindorf brought together diverse historiographical elements to form something new and unique at the time that was neither a replica of the old nor a copying of the "new" European ideas. Terms such as "synthesis," "syncretism," or "adaptation" fail to account for the uniqueness of Reindorf's History and the work's range of innovative methodological approaches to the reconstruction of the past. Reindorf built a methodological bridge linking contemporary European scientific paradigms and African historical thinking. He refused to abandon whole ways of thinking about self and the world and the African way of life, and equally he only selectively appropriated European ideas and lifestyle according to his own priorities and concerns. The relationship between Reindorf and the Basel Mission definitely involved an unequal distribution of power, but there is strong indication that the "obstinate" Reindorf did not lose control over his own definitions of how best to re-view and interpret the past and how best to manage the present and to frame his visions of the future. His conflicts with his employers in the 1860s unquestionably demonstrated his ability to choose what to accept and what to reject of the values and forms imposed on African evangelical workers by the European missionaries.

Reindorf kept his nonconformist attitude into his old age. Although drumming had been prohibited by the British government because of political unrest, in early 1917 a party around him and fellow pastor Samuel Wuta Ofei brought a drum to the Basel Mission chapel at Osu on a Sunday morning to provoke and challenge their Osu political adversaries, which nearly caused a riot after the church service. That April Reindorf's European fellow missionaries recommended to the Basel Mission headquarters that he and Ofei be immediately suspended from preaching and from the Holy Sacrament. (43) Three months later, on July 1, 1917, Carl Christian Reindorf died at the age of eighty-three.


(1.) Carl Christian Reindorf, The History of the Gold Coast and Asante, Based on Traditions and Historical Facts, Comprising a Period of More Than Three Centuries from About 1500 to 1860 (Basel: published by the author, 1895; 2nd ed. reprinted, Accra: Ghana Univ. Press; London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1966; 3rd ed., Accra: Ghana Universities Press, 2007).

(2.) Paul Jenkins, "Reindorf, Carl Christian," in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan, 1998), p. 564.

(3.) Reindorf's father, Christian Hackenburg Reindorf (1806-65), was of Euro-African descent from Osu (Christiansborg), near Accra, and he worked as a trader. Reindorf's mother was Hannah Naa Anoa Ama Ashong-Cudjoe, a Ga woman of Kinka (Dutch Accra). Reindorf's paternal genealogy goes back to Johann Frederick Reindorf (or Reindorph), a Danish merchant at Fort Christiansborg from 1750 to 1760.

(4.) This article and my forthcoming annotated edition of Reindorf's History of the Gold Coast and Asante, including his Ga manuscripts, were made possible by a grant from the Swiss National Fund, which supplied a two-year scholarship and financial support for research stays in Ghana (Accra) and the United Kingdom (London). The picture on p. 67, "Bible Society (Ga) in Abokobi," was taken by Max Otto Schultze in Abokobi, Gold Coast, ca. 1903; Basel Mission Archives (hereafter cited as BMA) QC-32.032.0005.

(5.) Elias Schrenk (1831-1913) was a missionary in the Gold Coast from 1859 to 1872. See his "Carl Christian Reindorf Catechist" (Christiansborg, January 21, 1872), BMA D-l, 24, Afrika 1872.

(6.) Johannes Zimmermann (1825-76) worked as a missionary in the Gold Coast from 1850 to 1872. Son of a German farmer and a baker by profession, Zimmermann was twenty-four years old when he started his work at Osu after five years of training, including in general linguistics, at the Basel Mission Institute in Switzerland. He had a sincere interest in the life and culture of Africans, which increased even more after he was healed from a life-threatening dysentery by an African herbalist in April 1851 (Paul Steiner, Ein Freund Afrikas. Lebensbild des Basler Missionars Johannes Zimmermann [Basel: Verlag der Basler Missionsbuchhandlung, 1917], pp. 74-75; Jon Miller, Missionary Zeal and Institutional Control: Organizational Contradictions in the Basel Mission on the Gold Coast, 1828-1917 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003], pp. 142-47). Zimmermann was one of the few missionaries who had a relationship with a black woman. In June 1851, without the permission of the Basel Mission authorities, Zimmermann married Catherine Mulgrave (1825-91), who had been captured and enslaved for eight years in Angola. She later went to Jamaica and then traveled to the Gold Coast in 1843 with her first husband, George Peter Thompson, whom she divorced in 1849. Catherine Mulgrave was employed as a teacher at the Basel Mission girls' school in Osu (Miller, Missionary Zeal, p. 145). Zimmermann was the mission's most prominent Ga linguist and author of the first Bible translation in Ga and of the voluminous Grammatical Sketch of the Akra- or Ga-Language, with Some Specimens of It from the Mouth of the Natives and a Vocabulary of the Same, with an Appendix on the Adangme Dialect, 2 vols. (Stuttgart: Basel Missionary Society, 1858).

(7.) Wilhelm Schlatter, Geschichte der Basler Mission, 1815-1915. Mit besonderer Berucksichtigung der ungedruckten Quellen, vol. 3 of Die Geschichte der Basler Mission in Afrika (Basel: Verlag der Basler Missionsbuchhandlung, 1916), p. 95, my translation. A fixed curriculum for the catechist course evolved between 1853 and 1855 (Missionsmagazin [henceforth MM] 4 (1853): 37, in BMA).

(8.) Carl Christian Reindorf, "Shika-nshonaa le ke Ashante. Blema saji ni ba ye afii 50 mli. Keje afi 1800 keeyashi 1854" (History of the Gold Coast and Asante of fifty years, 1800 to 1854) (Gold Coast: n.d. [1912]), title page (hereafter cited as "Ga MS History"), BMA D-20.26 (D.I.g.3).

(9.) Schlatter, Geschichte, p. 95, my translation.

(10.) Ibid., p. 96.

(11.) Schrenk to Basel, January 31, 1872, BMA D-l, 24, Christiansborg 50, reprinted in Peter Haenger, Sklaverei und Sklavenemanzipation an der Goldkuste: ein Beitrag zum Verstiindnis yon sozialen Abhdngigkeitsbeziehungen in Westafrika (Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1997), p. 25. See also Heinrich Bohner, "Die Organisation der Heidenpredigt im Stationsgebiet. Referat, ausgearbeitet und vorgetragen in der Generalkonferenz der Baseler Missionare in Akropong, Westafrika, den 13. Marz 1883, von H. Bohner," in MM 34 (1883): 315.

(12.) On the concept of"strategic deviants" in the Basel Mission context, see Jon Miller, The Social Control of Religious Zeal: A Study of Organizational Contradictions (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 115, 207 n. 9.

(13.) Jahresbericht 52 (1867): 98, BMA.

(14.) "Ordination Peter M. Anteson, Odumase 6 Sept. 1885" (1885), p. 5, BMA D-5, 8/6, Ordination Book 1864-98.

(15.) "Ordination von William A. Quartey, Odumase, 19 February 1893" (1893), p. 3, BMA D-5, 8/6, Ordination Book, 1864-98. Quartey, born at Odumase (Krobo) in 1858, was the son of Basel Mission catechist, language studies assistant, and co-translator of the Ga Bible Thomas B. Kwatei. After his father unexpectedly left the family and mission work around 1864/65, when William Augustus was only six or seven years old, his family was taken into the home of the Zimmermanns.

(16.) "Biography of Carl Christian Reindorf as delivered at the ordination on 13th October 1872," BMA D-1, 24, Afrika 1872, Christiansborg 95.

(17.) Sandra E. Greene, Sacred Sites and the Colonial Encounter: A History of Meaning and Memory in Ghana (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 2002), pp. 42-43, 69.

(18.) Reindorf, History, pp. 113, 217.

(19.) "Biography of Carl Christian Reindorf."

(20.) Reindorf, History, pp. 272-73, 281.

(21.) Miller, Social Control, pp. 118-19.

(22.) Ibid., p. 132.

(23.) Bohner, "Die Organisation der Heidenpredigt," MM (1883): 315.

(24.) Reindorf to Committee, January 16,1889, BMA D-1,48/62, cited in John Parker, "Mankraloi, Merchants and Mulattos--Carl Reindorf and the Politics of Race," in The Recovery of the West African Past--African Pastors and African History in the Nineteenth Century: C. C. Reindorf and Samuel Johnson, ed. Paul Jenkins (Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 1998), p. 41.

(25.) Miller, Missionary Zeal, p. 144.

(26.) Haenger (1997), pp. 20-25; John Parker, Making the Town: Ga State and Society in Early Colonial Accra (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2000), pp. 69, 88-91.

(27.) Miller, Social Control, p. 137.

(28.) Eckhardt Fuchs and Benedikt Stuchtey, eds., Across Cultural Borders: Historiography in Global Perspective (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), pp. 3-4; see also Greene, Sacred Sites, p. 31.

(29.) Johann G. Christaller, Die Tone der Negersprachen und ihre Bezeichnung (Basel: Verlag der Missionsbuchhandlung, 1893), p. 6, my translation; see also Friedrich Agster, Winfried Maier-Revoredo, and Margarete Henninger, "...fur Afrika bestimmt": Zum 100. Todestag des Missionars und Sprachforschers Johann Gottlieb Christaller (Winnenden, Ger.: Evangelische Gesamtkirchengemeinde und Stadt Winnenden, 1995), p. 39.

(30.) Christian Messenger for Basel German Mission Church on the Gold Coast, W. Africa (a bimonthly paper) 2, no. 12 (December 1888): 198.

(31.) Reindorf, "Ga MS History," p. ii; Reindorf to J. P. Werner, London (Osu), December 30, 1891, BMA D-20.27, 8; see Thomas Bearth, "J. G. Christaller: A Holistic View of Language and Culture--and C. C. Reindorf's History," in Recovery of the West African Past, ed. Jenkins, p. 92.

(32.) Reindorf to Christaller (Hebron), August 26, 1893, BMA D-27.7 (1).

(33.) Christian Reporter for the Natives of the Gold Coast Speaking the Tshi or Asante Language (a bimonthly paper in Tshi) 1, nos. 5 and 6 (September and November 1893) (henceforth Christian Reporter): 52.

(34.) Christaller, "Gedanken fiber Sprachenlernen der Missionare und Umbildung heidnlscher Landessprachen in christliche" (n.d.), BMA D-10.5, 17-18.

(35.) Christian Reporter, p. 52.

(36.) Reindorf, History, p. 24; Carl Christian Reindorf, "Shika-nshonaa le ke Ashante. Blemasane ni anyie blemasaji ni agba ke naabu titri ke saji ni anma hu no anma le, Ni ji saji ni eba jen miinshe afii ohai ete mli: keje afi 1500 le no keyashi afi 1856 le" (History of the Gold Coast and Asante ... 1500 to 1856) (Gold Coast: n.d. [1891]), p. 37, BMA D-20.27 (D.I.g.3a).

(37.) Birgit Meyer, "Translating the Devil: An African Appropriation of Pietist Protestantism; The Case of the Peki Ewe in Southeastern Ghana, 1847-1992" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Amsterdam, 1995), pp. 4-5.

(38.) Christian Reporter, pp. 51-52.

(39.) Reindorf, History, p. iii.

(40.) Ibid., p. xi. See also Christian Kolle, two volumes on the Ga religion, BMA D-10.2, 10; Kolle, "Ga Ratsel," BMA D-10.1, 6; August Wilhelm Steinhauser, "Akra Religion. Abokobi," October 1855, BMA D-10.4, 4.

(41.) See, for example, "Essays About Accra Gods" (n.d.), BMA D-10.4, 6; "Essays About Homowo" (n.d.), BMA D-10.4, 7. See also Christaller, "Gedanken fiber Sprachenlernen der Missionare."

(42.) Thomas McCaskie, "Asante and Ga: The History of a Relationship," in Recovery of the West African Past, ed. Jenkins, p. 144.

(43.) "Complaint by 'Political Recorders,' Rev. Messrs. G. Zfircher, Fr. Andres, H. Dewald, J. Wertz, A. Jehle" (April 26, 1817), pp. 2-3, Korrespondenz Praises Goldkuste 1914-17, BMA D-3.2.

Heinz Hauser-Renner, University of Zurich, is engaged in research related to Ga (Gold Coast) history and linguistics. He is currently preparing a new and thoroughly annotated edition of Carl Christian Reindorf's History of the Gold Coast and Asante (1895), including transcription and translation of Reindorf's unpublished Ga manuscripts located in the Basel Mission
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Author:Hauser-Renner, Heinz
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:6GHAN
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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