Franz Kröger

The First Map of Bulsa Villages (?)

It was only after publishing the article about the first Europeans in the Bulsa area in BULUK 3 (p. 29-32) that I was able to read Lieut. Henderson's own report on his expedition to the Gold Coast Hinterland. In this article Henderson published a map prepared by himself showing the route and the stations of his "journey of exploration". To my surprise I found two Bulsa villages in it: Bachonsa, here spelled Bechongsi, and Kanjaga, although the name of the latter does not appear on the map. Instead, we see "Barbatu's Camp". As described in Buluk 3, Henderson entered the Bulsa area from the north-west (Tumu) and left it again for Fumsi (Funsi) and Wa.

The very small map (5 x 7.5 cm), probably a pen-and-ink drawing which appeared in "The Idler" (journal) in 1898, is perhaps the first published map with the names of Bulsa villages.

Apart from the map, Henderson's article reveals some other interesting items. Apparently he (or his photographer) were very fond of taking photos of important people and commoners, towns, villages landscapes etc. He also took a photo of Amrahia (Amaria, Hamaria) published on page 615. I do not know whether he took a photo of Babatu (probably he would have published it), or whether a photo of Babatu exists in other publications or in archives (there are some relatively good photos of Samory). Neither do we know whether there are any Bulsa in Henderson's photos of the Gurunsi natives. Finding out the exact dates of the photos in the archives and comparing them with Henderson's itinerary would shed some light on this problem.

So it might be that Henderson not only drew the first map of Bulsa villages, but possibly also took the first photos of Bulsa people.

As the names of the towns on Henderson's route map may not be quite readable on some monitor screens, the names of the places are enlisted here in the order of his visits:

Accra, Barakw (in the text: Baraku), Winebah, Mumford, Salt Pond, Cape Coast, Prahsu, Kumasi, Kintampe, Nkoranza, Dekrupé, Banda, Bualé, Wa, Dasima, Bologu, Leo, Tumu, Bechongsi, Barbatu's camp, Fumsi, Wa, Dawkita, Bona, Haramankoro, Bontuku, Kumasi...