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(Formerly Public Record Office) 

[The Wikipedia website mainly informs about the history of the archives. The official website of the National Archives provides information on how to get there, opening hours, holdings, registration, visitor regulations, user instructions etc.

In the following list additions by the editor F.K. were set in square brackets]




The most important folder for this region and for the time before 1957 is CO 96 (CO = Colonial Office). CO 98 contains overviews from the online catalogue.

The holdings prior to CO 96 / 670 have been processed less by means of tables of contents and appropriate headings.

[The following documents from the CO 96 folder that relate to the N.T. were relevant to the author’s (F.K.) personal research work].

CO 96: 

670/2     Northern Territories Administration Ordinance 1926

671/8     Titles of Northern Provinces 1927-28

674/5     N.T. Land and Native Rights Ordinance 1927

676/2     N.T. Education Department 1926-27

680/14  N.T. Land and Native Rights Bill

681/14 Shea Nut industry in N.T.
                 This report was copied completely by F. Kröger, but there are no extracts yet

682/13   N.T. report on Education Department 1927-28

684/9     1929 Shea nut industry

688/9     Prof. Westermann: English-Ewe Dictionary, 1929

688/11   Proposals for carrying out anthropological research work, 1929

This report was copied completely by F.Kröger, but there are no extracts yet (cop. 1344)

689/6     N.T. railway project, 1929

690/1     Ashanti and N.T. legislation… Methods of enactment, 1929

691/1     Ashanti and N.T. judicial system, 1929

693/7     N.T. railway

694/7     N.T. Land and Native Rights Ordinance, 1930

695/4     Tamale Water Supply

697/8     N.T. legislation

698/19   N.T. Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance 1931

699/4     N.T. Ferries Ordinance

701/3     N.T. Administration Amendment Ordinance, 1932

702/4     N.T. Land and Native Rights Ordinance, 1931

702/14   N.T. Native Tribunals Ordinance. – Native Authority Ordinance

705/1     Ashanti and N.T. judicial system: admission of lawyers, jury system

706/6     N.T. Native Treasuries Ordinance, 1932

709/12   Education: N.T., 1933

715/5 Tour of the governor (Thomas) in the N.T., 1934 [see below; 715/54]

This report was copied completely by F.Kröger (cop. 1342)

719/1 N.T. report for 1933-34, 1934 (see below: Bulsa texts and maps)

This report was copied completely by F.Kröger (cop. 1348)

720/1 The White Fathers Mission: Activities, 1935 (see below)

This report was copied completely by F.Kröger (cop. 1346)

715/5     Tour of the governor in the N.T., 1934 [see below]

719/1     N.T. report for 1933-34, 1934 (see below: Bulsa texts and maps)

720/1     The White Fathers Mission: Activities, 1935 (see below)

724/4     Assessors Ordinance N.T., 1935

736/9     Native administration: N.T. direct taxation

738/14   N.T. annual report, 1937 (see below)

741/8     Eradication of the tsetsefly from Pong-Tamale area, N.T., 1931

746/3     Native administration in N.T., direct taxation, 1938

750/       Livestock industry N.T., 1938

758/5     N.T.: animal report

765/4     Native Administration: N.T. direct taxation

766/22   N.T. : animal reports, 1940

769/6     N.T.: liquor legislation, 1940

769/15   Visit of protectorate chiefs to Ashanti and N.T.

773/8     Benefits Trust Fund Ordinance: N.T., 1941

775/2     N.T.: liquor legislation, 1942

779/8     N.T.: liquor legislation, 1945-46

813/1     White Fathers Mission, 1950

817/9     N.T. economic survey, 1950-51

829/8     Agriculture: Damongo; agricultural project (Gonja Development Company)



[The numbers of the photos and photocopies (cop.) in square brackets refer to the private possession of the editor, F.K., e.g. photos 8141-42

Information about the Bulsa was found in the following documents:


CO 96; 719/1: Annual Report on the Northern Territories for the Year 1933-1934

by Rake, Acting Chief Commissioner of the N.T.

[p. 12-13:photos 8141-42; photos: 8127-8213, Cop.1348]

In the North therefore there only remains the area occupied by the Kassena-Nankanni tribes and the Builsa (Kanjarga) tribe. No compulsion is being exerted and it is being left to the Chiefs and people after due deliberation to decide what form of constitution they wish to adopt. The ideal would be for all these tribes, which were probably at one time under the suzerainty, nominal only though it may have been, of a form [?] Na of Mamprusi, to come into Mamprusi and make a solid state extending over most of the North. There are various obstacles in the way of this ideal and at present there is no hope of its fulfilment. The tendency now is for the Kassena-Nankanni chiefs to form a Federation, and for the Builsas to establish a separate Native Authority. Proposals have been put forward to this effect, and it is possible that if after careful examination they are found suitable, Native Authorities will be established in these areas during the coming year.

p. 67: Sketch Map of Native Authorities in the N.T.

developed Native Authorities: Lawra, Tumu, Wa, Gonja, Mamprusi, Dagomba, Nanumba

partly developed: Kassena-Nankanni, Builsa, Aotati, Adele, Krachi

undeveloped: Mo, Yeji, Prang

Builsa (population): 49,080


Co 96; 738/14: Annual Report on the Northern Territories for the Year 1936-1937; by E.O. Rake, Acting Chief Commissioner of the N.T.

[photos: 8009-8076, cop. 1345]

P. 13 (8023): see below (White Fathers, p. 43)

You know that the Dagari were enrolled in great number in the list of those who wished to learn the truths of religion as soon as the Fathers were at Jirapa. This mass movement greatly astonished His Lordship Bishop Morin, and he anxiously asked himself how he could possible control it. It was for this reason that he hastened to see permission to open a new mission and he even closed for the time being the station at Wiagha so as to have the necessary staff for the Mission at Nandom.

P. 24 (8034) + p. 25 (8035):

That they have made such a success of the new enterprise speaks much for their intelligence and worth. This may be somewhat primitive judged by certain standards but they have good brains and are excellent material to work with. It would be easy to mention faults and shortcomings but when progress is already in advance of the most optimistic anticipations no good purpose is served by doing (p. 25:) so. Many years must pass before our eventual aims are fully realized. The promise shewn up to date gives cause for confidence that the realization of these aims will undoubtedly come in time. The above is the opinion of the Assistant District Commissioner, Navrongo, of the people in his area the Kassena-Nankanni and the Builsa.

P. 28-30 [8038-8040]

Builsa Native Authority

40. Much good work was done in this area under the leadership of the young and able Chief of Sandema. The tax collected was Lb 813 compared with an Estimate of Lb 547, the incidence being 2/- to 1/- per head taxable male. In spite of this however the Native Administration suffers from shortage of Revenue. It is unfortunate that such a progressive and enterprising administration should suffer this handicap. Its position off the main trade routes is responsible for this situation.

41. The Assistant District Commissioner reports as follows:

“It is doubtful whether it would be possible to find a Chief in this country who has greater authority over his people than the Chief of Sandema, an authority not bred by fear but by a well deserved respect and intensified by the strong natural sense of discipline possessed by the Builsa people.

In this division it is not so much a question of teaching the Chiefs and people the meaning of indirect rule for either they knew it before or it comes naturally to them but merely of advising them and shewing them better methods. Compared with the Kassena-Nankanni it might be said that they are accomplished performers as compared with mere learners. This does not mean to imply that the Kassena-Nankanni are not progressing but the Builsa are far in advance of them. The reasons for this state of affairs are probably many but one certainly is that the Builsa being farther away from Navarro did not come under the Direct Rule influence of anything like the same extent as did the Kassena and Nankanni. The Builsa organisation, that of a State under a Paramount Chief, is also of course easier of control than a Federation, though a Federation if it can be made to work well is an excellent organisation.

42. An interesting and valuable visit to Tamale was arranged for the Chief of Sandema and 3 of his sub-chiefs. They remained at Tamale for 5 days during which time they visited all the places of interest and also Yendi. They were much impressed by everything they saw and it has no doubt “done them good for they were able to see work accomplished by other Native Administrations and generally to obtain a wider outlook upon things in general. The Chief of Sandema on seeing the waterworks at Tamale said, “Tis is wonderful and I now see what the whiteman has done for the country.” He was impressed by the engine and said, “I have never seen anything like this before. I should like one myself but fear that I shall never have one”.

43. In spite of their meagre resources this Native Administration has built a school which [is] very successful and most popular. It has also built a dispensary which will be opened shortly, and police lines and clerks quarters.

P. 34 [photo 8045]



Builsa: 39 criminal cases, 151 civil cases, no sanitary cases, Total: 190, Appeals: 1, Fines: 14.11.- Fees: 59.8.-

P. 77 (44; photo 8057), Schools

In addition to these schools having been taken-over, new schools have been established by the Native Administration and three such schools were opened during the year under review, one at Yendi in the Dagomba area, another at Kpembe hear Salaga and a third at Sandema, the chief town of the Builsa people.

P. 78 [45; photo 8058]

Speech by the Sandemnaab at the opening of the new school

117. Extracts from speeches made by the Sandema [sic] at the Builsa Native Administration and by the Ya-Na’s representative at the opening of the Dagomba Native Administration school are also pertinent.

In the course of his oration the Sandemanab said:

“When we built this school we were not sure what it would mean to us. We thought it might be a troublesome thing. But today as we are all gathered here I think it pleases you all to see your children here whom you expect to become good men for the country in the future. We have not lost by it. … I am sorry I am not educated in the European manner myself as it prevents me doing all my duties myself. However I am the son of a Chief and of a Chief’s family, so I know how to rule from the example of my fathers. These boys will make better chiefs than us old Chiefs because of their European education.”

P. 81 (48; photo 8061): School

120. What has already been said can be said of the other Native Administration Schools, with possibly one exception. At the Builsa Native Administration school at Sandema it is no exaggeration to say that if teaching staff were available the number of pupils could be doubled at once. The Chief of Sandema’s interest is evident. It proceeds to the extent of attending the school and reading instruction in the intricacies of the three R’s at the feet of one of his subjects, the local Head Teacher. He is always an enthusiastic guide to visitors, of whom there is no lack, and takes an obvious pride as well he may in the Builsa School.

P. 84 [51; photo 8064]

123. There are now 12 Schools in the Protectorate, including 4 Mission Schools. The Senior School, in Tamale remains a Government school. There are Native Administrative Schools at Wa, Gambaga, Kpembe, Bawku, Lawra, Sandema and Yendi.

P. 86 [photo 8066] experimental farming at schools

It might be added that the schools are playing their part in a very valuable way in supporting the police of the Agricultural Department in mixed farming. Ploughing with bullocks are experimental; mixed farming under the advice and supervision of an Agricultural Officer is taking place at the schools at Gambaga, Bawku, Sandema and Kpembe.

P. 94 [photo 8071]

136. The table below gives the amounts spent by Native Authorities and Sanitary measures, during the year:


Builsa: Eight Village Overseers, Amount: lb 60, Total: Lb 60

P. 98 [photo 8074] List of “public works of the Native Administration”

(g) Builsa: Completion, new School… Lb 80


CO96; 715/54 Tour of the Governor [Sir Shenton Thomas] in the N.T. (5th Jan – 11th Feb, 1934)

[photos: 7930-7954, cop. 1342]

P. 20-22 [photos 7912-14]

Met D. at Bolgatanga, quite fit again, at 11.45 and arrived Navrongo 12.30…

After tea visited White Fathers. They have been here some forty years and are of a good type with beautiful church of swish. The altar has been treated so that it looks like marble. Some six nuns there too who showed us the needlework done by the girls. It was extremely good but extremely dear.

29th January chiefs. There is here a Federation of the Kassena and Nankanni chiefs (fifteen in all) who have elected chief of Navrongo as President for life. There are also the Builsas, known in the south as Kanjagas, who have never had one single overlord though many recognised Sandama. Sandama was nevertheless appointed paramount chief of the Kanjagas in 1912. They strongly object to joining the Kassena-Nankanni Federation and in the circumstances they should not be pressed. Possibly there will develop a Kanjaga Native Administration under Sandama, or they may form a small federation. I assured them at the meeting that the matter would be left to their own free will.

(p. 21) In the evening drove out to Sandama (seventeen miles). The chief is quite young and stands about 6ft. 4 in. Indeed, the Kanjagas are a fine lot of men, and many enlist in the Regiment. We went over th chiefs’ compound which is unusually large, and probably some 200 persons inhabit it. It contains two or three burial places of former chiefs, the sites marked by round mounds. In this country, too, persons who die of sleeping sickness are buried separately, and the bones of their right hand are broken first. The hand is then place[ed] in the right-angled position to the arm, upright.

Inspected station after the morning’s meeting. Here also there is a cool and good D.C.’s house and a really excellent hospital built from funds (some Lb 600) contributed by the people themselves. It is in charge of Dr. Vaughan who has a good reputation and a sensible wife. At the entrance is an engraved slab of rock surround by large stones laid in cement, and the inscription states that each family who lost a man in the War brought a stone. As nice a War Memorial as could be imagines. Practically the whole station was built by Wittall (late Provincial Commissioner) who also started the tree planting along the roads. He has left his mark in the Northern Territories to a far greater extent than I for one had ever imagined. Good goal and police lines, rest house, Medical Officer’s house, etc.

In the evening Lynn brought over Dr. and Mrs. Fortes who are going to work round Zuaragu. Fortes seemed delighted in his prospects among an unspoilt people and his wife seemed strong and ready to make the best of things. Lynn says that his present estimate of a millet (p. 22:) crop is rather over 1,000 lbs. per acre and that the average farmer grows two acres. If sold, the crop would probably fetch 1d per lb. According to Bamford this yield is very small as compared with maize which in South Africa reaches 15 or 20 bags of 200 lbs per acre.

Millet may be a less heavy crop. No shifting cultivation here. Every inch is farmed, just a round Kano, and also in Port Herald district in Nyasaland. There is also a good deal of terracing (with rocks and stones) of hilly ground.

Fortes has a theory that the kola trade is the key to much of the development in this country. No reason to suppose that it is not very ancient and in the old days kola was really all that Ashanti had to sell. He is intending to try and develop this theory.

30th January. Left 6.45 a.m. for Lawra (137 miles). Road excellent and gain much tree planting (Whittall) which in most places has been successful.


Co 96; 720/1 The White Fathers Mission: Activities (1935)

[photos: 8078-8125, cop. 1346]

P. 14-15 [photos: 8091-92]: Letter of Morins to the Chief Commissioner (?), 30/11/1934

At Wiagha, it must be observed that the site of the Mission is rather unfavourable; in the East and West, there are reefs of granite emerging, several acres in the south could easily be abandoned as unfit for any purpose: humidity, stones and very poor soil. This part has been included in the land only to have a straight line.

P. 42 [photo 8123] see above Annual Report 1936-37, p.13; Fr. Barsalou to the C.C.N.T.

You know that the Dagari were enrolled in great number in the list of those who wished to learn the truths of religion as soon as the Fathers were at Jirapa. This mass movement greatly astonished His Lordship Bishop Morin, and he anxiously asked himself how he could possible control it. It was for this reason that he hastened to see permission to open a new mission and he even closed for the time being the station at Wiagha so as to have the necessary staff for the Mission at   Nandom.

CO 879 / 78 / 05939; No 25352:           Governor Major Nathan to Mr. Chamberlain

Accra (Government House), May 31, 1902; received June 23rd, 1902

Enclosure (No G/105/N.T./03.)

A. Morris, Chief-Commissioner, N.T., to the Governor (Nathan), April 26, 1902

[The report describes two campaigns from Chana against Sandema, which had been abandoned by the inhabitants when the British arrived. The village is destroyed. Description of the Bulsa compounds, their weapons and war technology]

Co 879. 78. 05939 ,   No. 25352
No. 5
(Received June. 1902)  (Confidential)
Despatch relating to Field Operations.
Government House, Accra, May 31, 1902.
I have the honour to transmit the report of Lieutenant-Colonel A.H. Morris, D.S.O. on the recent expedition into the Tiansi country of the Northern Territories.
2. From his report it appears that in the eighteen days between the 11th and 27th March, during which the main column of the expeditionary force was absent from Gambaga, some 250 miles or country were traversed, an that four days’ fighting took place, in which the hostile tribes lost about a hundred killed, while the total losses of the expeditionary forces were five irregular horse killed and one carrier died. Various palavers were held with the friendly chiefs, the submission of the hostile ones was subsequently made and accepted, and much useful information with regard to the topography of the country and its chiefs and tribes was collected.
3. The details of the expedition are perfectly clear from Lieutenant-Colonel Morris’s concise report, and the diary which accompanies it, and are illustrated by the excellent map prepared by Captain O’Kinealy, R.A.
4. Lieutenant-Colonel Morris acted judiciously in confining his operations to what was necessary to secure the main purpose of the expedition, viz.: the punishment of those tribes who have made a practice of raiding an ill-treating their more loyal and peaceful neighbours….
M. Nathan, Governor
Enclosure in No.5.
(No. 0/105/N.T./02.)
Gambaga, April 26, 1903.
I have the honour to forward a report on the late expedition into the Tiansi country.
2. Attached are a diary of the progress of the expedition, a sketch of the route traversed. a return of ammunition expended, and a medical report on the health of the troops.
3. At the end of February the French Resident in Moshi, with whom I had been in communication regarding a joint expedition along the frontier, finally wrote to inform me that he had received instructions from His Government that he was not to go south of the 11th parallel.
I was therefore unable to visit several towns which, though lying to the south of the 11th parallel, have been declared “neutral” till the recommendations of the Anglo-French boundary Commission have been ratified.
4. As Your Excellency is aware, the objects of the expedition were first to punish the turbulent town of Nafrongo, which for some considerable time past has been levying blackmail on the
neighbouring towns, and then to visit the country lying close to the 11th parallel or north latitude, between 0° 30′ and 1° 0′ west longitude.
On my arrival at Paha [Paga] I learnt that the kingdom of Sinlieh [Sandema], lying about six miles to the south of Tiana, was most hostile, and a scourge to the whole neighbourhood: I therefore determined to visit this country. The defeat of the people of Nafrongo and Sinlieh, the severe punishment inflicted on them, and the progress of the expedition have been fully detailed in the diary of events.
5. The three kingdoms of Nafrongo, Tiana, and Sinlieh are by far the most important of any that I have seen in these territories they each extend over about twenty square miles of country, with compounds every two or three hundred yards, and are densely populated. The chief occupation of the inhabitants is farming, many acres of ground being put under cultivation.
6. I was much struck with the excellent way in which the compounds in Sinlieh are built; they are circular in shape, and are made of very thick swish, smoothed and polished. They have high walls, which form the outer parts of each hut in the compound, connecting them together. The roofs are flat with a small parapet three feet high all round, so that the owner of the compound with his followers can successfully defend himself against his neighbours, armed only with the same primitive weapons as himself. I found these walls were not, however, proof against rifle fire.
7. The full fighting dress worn by the people of Sinlieh is both imposing and picturesque. It consists of a headdress made of thickly plaited straw, in shape much resembling the steel cap worn by the old Crusaders; this is covered with hide, and into it are fixed the horns of a Hartebeest or some other large antelope. Their bodies are protected by an enormous arrow-proof shield of oxhide, which covers them from head to foot. Their weapons are bows and poisoned arrows, also a kind of “battle axe”, with a short wooden handle, and an iron pick-shaped head, about inches long, running to a point, with barbs on either side along half of its length. These axes are poisoned, being used to inflict the “coup de grâce” to their enemies.
8. Since I began writing this report the Kings of Nafrongo and Sinlieh, with a representative from each of their chiefs, have arrived in Gambaga to make submission, and to ask that they may be given the English flag. They faithfully promise that they will in future abstain from molesting their neighbours, and will obey all orders given them. I have accepted their presents, giving them liberal ones in return, and informed them that no further punishment will be inflicted on them, provided they faithfully carry out my orders. I have also given them the English flag. It is whith the greatest satisfaction that I am able to report the submission of these Kings, as I alm confident that there will now be more blackmailing of caravans or molesting of their less warlike neighbours.


The following maps were copied and analysed with the help of a digital camera [F.K.]:

Map of the Gold Coast, Ashanti, and Northern Territories (provisional); War Office July 1911; Compiled in the Topographical Section, General Staff, 1906. Scale: 1: 1 Mill.; [the names of some ethnic groups, e.g. the Builsa, Nankani, Kassena… were inserted into the map with ink.]

Map of the Gold Coast, Ashanti, and Northern Territories: as above, but with “additions and corrections 1916”

The following Bulsa places appear in the two maps: Sandema, Wiaga, Kardim (Kadema), Uassi (Uwasi), Wasssiga [Wasik is a section of Uwasi], Fumbessie [Fumbisi], Kanjarga, Bedemma (Gbedema), Weassi [Wiasi], Bedima (at the place where Gbedembilisi is expected), Kunkwor [Kunkwa], Bachunsi [Bachonsa], Varie [Vari, now extinct], Chichilliga [Chuchuliga]

The following Koma places appear: Nangruma, Nagbieri [Nagbiesi; Konni proper name for Yikpabongo]), Pomma [?  probably misspelling for Komma, under which Tantuosi appears in old maps].

Sketch Map of Native Authorities in the Northern Territories. In: CO 96; 719/1 N.T. report for 1933-34, 1934, P. 67; Scale: Approximately 25 mile to an inch

The map shows the 15 districts of the Northern Territories (1933/34) with their population and the state of development: yellow: developed and gazetted, blue: partly developed (including Builsa and Kassena-Nankani districts), red: undeveloped.

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