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History: WesternTogoland, Geographical Area and The People

Story by Stephen Nani

Togoland under British administration is a narrow strip of land extending almost due north along the eastern border of the Gold Coast. About 320 miles long and averaging some forty miles in breadth, it is bounded in the north by the French Overseas Territory of the Upper Volta, in the east by Togoland under

French administration and in the west and south by the Gold Coast. It's southernmost boundary lies approximately 23 to 30 miles from the Gulf of Guinea and therefore its only access to the sea is through the ports of the Gold Coast or of Togoland under French administration.

The total area of the Territory is 13,041 square miles, of which 7,196 square miles form the Northern Section, administered as part of the Northern Territories Region of the Gold Coast, and the remaining 5,844 square miles, known as the Southern Section, are administered as part of the Trans-Volta/Togoland region.

Geographically, the Territory is divided into two parts by a broad valley drained by the Oti River (and its tributaries) which traverses the Territory diagonally from north-east to south-west, joining with the Volta. To the north of this valley is gently undulating savannah country, broken by the Gambaga Scarp which runs from east to west near the northern extremity of the Territory at an average altitude of 800 feet above the course of the river Maraga. To the south of the valley of the Oti, the Territory is forested with hills which include a number of peaks anid rdges over 2,000 feet above sea level. Below this belt, the bush thins out gradually into savannah and the land falls away to the flat plains of the extreme south. For most of the Southern Section, the Volta River forms the western boundary.

The population of the Territory in mid-1954 was estimated at approximately 423,000 persons, of whom 191,000 were in the Northern Section and 232,000 in the Southern Section.

As is equally true of geographic and climatic divisions throughout this part of West Africa, ethnographic and linguistic boundary lines run roughly east and west, with the result that tribal and cultural associations tend to extend across the frontiers into neighbouring territories and the ethnic composition of the population is extremely complex.

Generally speaking, however, a major distinction may be made between the tribes of Sudanic origin which inhabit the Northern Section, except for the Gonja district, and those of the true negroid type which are found in the Southern Section. In both cases, some of the racial groups immigrated from neighbouring areas in fairly recent times.

In the Northern Section, the most important tribes are the Mamprusis, Dagombas, Nanumbas, Konkombas, B'Mobas, Chokossis, Busangas, Kusasis and Gonja's. All of these tribes are also represented in one or another of the neighboring territories and in fact, there is only one small tribe, the Nawuri, which lives entirely within the Trust Territory of Togoland under British administration. The following table indicates the distribution of the main tribes at the time of the last census of the Gold Coast taken in 1948:

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Gold Coast Southern Section Stephen Nani Togoland Upper Volta


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