The development of colonialism was one the key political factors which had an immediate effect on the growth of Accra. The ascent of the city to an urban hub can be traced back to 1877 when colonial headquarters were relocated there from the Cape Coast.1 Despite the fact governmental operations had theoretically been shifted to Accra in 1852, this transmission was not yet considered official due to resistance shown by the Cape Coast chiefs and people.2 However, since the city consisted of the Dutch Fort Crevecoeur (Ussher Fort) and the British Fort James which provided protection from raiding incursions3, its formation as a principal centre for the Ga people was inevitable and had ‘reasonable’ rational.
Although the establishment of Accra as a capital city relates to the cooperation between British administrative and regional profitable ventures, the colonial reign manifested from the beginning, defined by its need to standardise the assembly of the city. Natural disasters in Accra, such as the earthquake of 1862, presented colonial rulers with a critical opportunity to remodel and reorganise the space.4 Furthermore, a considerable basis for the selection of Accra as this foundation for administration pertains to the health issues surrounding the country. Grant and Yankson state that “building up a newer area was thought to protect the Europeans from native-borne diseases”5 such as bubonic plague and other critical illnesses.
1 R. Grant & P. Yankson, ‘City Profile: Accra’, Cities, Vol. 20, (2003),
2 Richard Brand, ‘A Geographical Interpretation of the European Influence on Accra, Ghana Since 1877’ (PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1972)
3 Janet Berry Hess, ‘Imagining Architecture: The Structure of Nationalism in Accra, Ghana’, Africa Today, Vol. 47 (2000)
4 R. Grant & P. Yankson, ‘City Profile: Accra’, Cities, Vol. 20, (2003),