Place of Publication: Ghana, West Africa
Volume and Issue Data: April 21, 1822-1825
Size and Format: “handwritten;” semi-official organ of the colonial government
Editor/Publisher: Sir Charles MacCarthy, governor of the British Gold Coast settlements
Title Changes and Continuation: Unknown
General Description and Notes:
According to Jennifer Hasty’s history of the press in Ghana,
The first newspaper, The Gold Coast Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer, was published from 1822-25 by Sir Charles MacCarthy, governor of the British Gold Coast settlements. As a semi-official organ of the colonial government, the central goal of this Cape Coast newspaper was to provide information to European merchants and civil servants in the colony. Recognizing the growing number of mission-educated Africans in the Gold Coast, the paper also aimed at promoting literacy, encouraging rural development, and quelling the political aspirations of this class of native elites by securing their loyalty and conformity with the colonial system.
The appropriation of print media by local African elites began in mid-century with the publication of The Accra Herald by Charles Bannerman, son of a British lieutenant governor and a princess from the Asante royal family. Handwritten like MacCarthy’s former colonial paper, The Accra Herald was circulated to some 300 subscribers, two-thirds of them African. Enduring for 16 years, the success of Bannerman’s paper stimulated a proliferation of African-owned newspapers in the late nineteenth century . . . (emphasis added)
Governor MacCarthy was later killed in the First Ashanti war. His death and the claim that the victorious natives used his skull as a drinking cup did nothing to improve relations between the British and the coastal tribes. At least two other Ashanti Wars were fought in the 19th century.
Bibliography: John D. Chick, “The Asanti Times: A Footnote in Ghanaian Press History,” African Affairs, 76:302 (1977), p. 80 (fn.3); “The Story of Africa: African History from the Dawn of Time,” BBC World Service, accessed August 18, 2011; Jennifer Hasty, “Ghana,” World Press Encyclopedia (2003); JenniferHasty, Big Language and Brown Envelopes: The Press and Political Culture in Ghana, Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 1999