Posted in Kafevend Blog

Côte d'Or was first established in 1883 by the Belgian chocolate maker Charles Neuhaus. The company's symbol was originally of an elephant in front of palm trees and pyramids, no doubt an attempt to portray the exotic origin of the newfangled invention of chocolate to hook in customers. Neuhaus named the company after the stretch of land known as Côte d'Or, or Gold Coast in West Africa. Today the area is part of the country of Ghana, but until 1957, when the country became independent, it had been subjected to around five centuries of European colonialism.

The first Europeans to land on the Gold Coast were the Portuguese in 1471, during their exploration of Africa at the beginning of the Age of Discovery. There they found several African kingdoms who controlled a large number of gold deposits. They quickly established a trade route and settled the first European colony in West Africa, Elmina. News of the booming trade soon reached other European powers, and before long Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Prussian and British traders arrived. There was a struggle for dominance over the area between the countries, a fact that the thirty-odd forts and castles along the coast testify to. Britain eventually became top dog in the mid 19th century after acquiring the Dutch and Danish areas along the coast.

There were several wars between the British Empire and the Ashanti Empire who were looking to establish control over the coast. The wars ranged from 1824 to 1901, but eventually culminated in the Ashanti becoming a British protectorate. Following WW2 and the greater decolonisation occurring all over the world, the native population pushed for more autonomy from British rule. The region's declaration of independence in 1957 and the formation of Ghana made it the first African country to achieve independence from colonisation.

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