»Aboadea nfa omo kra nsie yie!«
»Möge Aboadea ihre Seelen aufnehmen!«


Several paintings from the 18th century hint at the presence of African servants at Prussian and German courts. The Tabakskollegium – Friedrich I. by Paul Leygebe, for instance, shows three of them working as servants, lighting up tobacco pipes for aristocrats in the Berlin Schloss. This compels us to remember how these Africans were shipped from today’s Ghana to Berlin-Brandenburg, how some of their fellow Africans were in turn sent to plantations in the Caribbean, and which traces of this history of enslavement and forced displacement still remain in the urban landscape. Activists Francis Osei, Leonie Lange and Yann LeGall from Postcolonial Potsdam claimed the space in front of Schloss Charlottenburg in December 2020 to question the persistence of statues of slave traders in Berlin today, as well as the absence of a serious ethics of remembrance of this past in German institutions.

links: Foto der Drap d’or-Kammer (794), 2. OG, Stadtschloss der Hohenzollern, KI-vergrößert und KI-coloriert
rechts: Paul Carl Leygebe: Das Tabakskollegium Friedrichs I. (in der Drap dor Kammer des Berliner Schlosses), Öl auf Leinwand, um 1710, GK I 1556

Illustrations from Wikimedia Commons used in
Aboadea nfa omo kra nsie yie:

Portrait of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg by Anselmus van Hulle, 1717.
Louis XIV. Description de la magnifique et superbe entree Du Roy et de la Reyne en la ville de Paris. Engraving by Adriaen Millaert.
Charles II of England and Queen Catherine of Braganza (Dutch engraving, 3rd quarter of the 17th century).
Engraving of King William III and his wife Queen Mary who shared the English monarchy in the late 17th century.
Carlos II, grabado calcográfico firmado en el marco central, ca. 1690. Engraving by Marin Bouché-Philibert Bouttats.
Domenico-de-ga: Politische Karte Ghanas (Western Region mit Groß Friedrichsburg hervorgehoben), Wikimedia.
Heinrich Bauke: Friedrich I. 1905, Bronze. Straße des 17. Juni, Charlottenburger Tor, Berlin-Charlottenburg
Photos of Großfriedrichsburg: courtesy of Kaya Schröter.

Quotes and further sources:

Daaku, Kwame Yeboa (1970). Trade and Politics on the gold Coast, 1600-1720: A Study of the African Reaction to European Trade. Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Bruchmann, Rainer D. K. (1999). “Zur brandenburgischen Kolonialgeschichte – die Insel St. Thomas in der Karibik.” Brandenburgische Entwicklungspolitische Hefte 31. Teltow: Brandenburgisches Entwicklungspolitisches Institut e.V.
van der Heyden, Ulrich (2001). Rote Adler an Afrikas Küste : die brandenburgisch-preußische Kolonie Großfriedrichsburg in Westafrika. Berlin, Selignow.

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