African Company of Merchants
The African Company of Merchants or Company of Merchants Trading to Africa was a British Chartered Company in the Gold Coast area of modern Ghana, in the coastal area where the Fante people lived. It was established by the African Company Act 1750, and replacing the Royal African Company in 1752.
The assets of the Royal African Company were transferred to the new company and primarily consisted of nine trading posts or factories: Fort William, Fort James, Fort Sekondi, Winneba, Fort Apollonia, Fort Tantumquery, Fort Metal Cross, Fort Komenda, and Cape Coast Castle, the last of which was the administrative centre.
The Company was managed by the African Committee which was composed of nine committee members, three each from London, Liverpool and Bristol. These were elected from the general body of traders from these cities, who paid 40 shillings to be admitted to the company. The company was funded by an annual grant approved by parliament which covered the costs of the London ofiice and the forts. The Committee had to report to the Exchequer, the Admiralty and from 1782 the Secretary at War. John Shoolbred was secretary to the committee for several years.
In 1817 the Company had signed a treaty of friendship that recognized Asante claims to sovereignty over large areas of the coast, including areas claimed by the Fante. The Company was abolished in 1821, as the slave trade had not been suppressed in these privately held areas. Authority over the area was given to Governor Charles MacCarthy, the governor of Sierra Leone, who was subsequently killed in the First Anglo-Asante War.