Banda Through Time

Visit the Banda area of west central Ghana and you might imagine a place where the recently completed Bui Hydroelectric Dam ushered in “globalization.” But to borrow a phrase from the anthropologist Charles Piot, people living in Banda area villages have long been “remotely global.” In other words, local lives have long-standing connections to distant places.

From at least 1200 CE (Common Era), Banda villagers exchanged goods with people living along the Niger River in what is today Mali. Through these connections they participated for many centuries in wider West African and Saharan trade networks. From the mid-17th century, people living in the Banda area participated in Atlantic trade networks which brought new goods and influences to the wider region. From the end of the 19th century, Banda was drawn into the expanding realm of the British Empire and subjected to decades of British colonial rule. Thus throughout the last 1000 years the region has been a crossroads where people interacted and confronted change at the same time as they drew on enduring traditions and practices in their daily lives.

From 1986 through 2014 the Banda Research Project studied the region's dynamic life ways, and since 2016 the collaborative community-based Banda Heritage Initiative has worked to expand awareness of the area's rich history and diverse cultural heritage. Developed to support school curriculum built around the theme that "Our grandmothers and grandfathers were knowledgeable people," we invite you to explore the region’s rich history through this digital exhibit and associated repository of images, documents, and historical resources made available through Creative Commons Attribution--Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC 4.0). An accompanying learning resource developed for a middle school audience (Learning From Our Past, Banda District, Ghana) is freely available in both English and Nafaanra.

Through the portals below you can learn more about Banda's Location and Landscapes and Banda History and Heritage. Project History provides background on the Banda Research Project and the Banda Heritage Initiative. Explore! allows you to search the "Banda Through Time" digital heritage repository for resources tailored to your interests.