Treaty of Axim (1642)

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Agreement between the General Jacob Ruijchaver and the caboceros of Axem, sealed A.D. 17 February 1642.

First that they will declare with us the King of Spain and his allies to be an enemy forever, and as loyal servants acknowledge forever as legitimate authorities the Most Honourable Gentlemen, the States General of the United Netherlands, His Highness the Prince of Orange, and the Honourable Directors of the Chartered West India Company.

That during our government, without our foreknowledge, no correspondence or trade will undertaken with any foreign potentates or republics, of whatever nature.

The Portuguese, Mulattoes, Mamelukes, slaves, and all their appendages, promising to bear witness to us, will not be harmed by us in any way, but we will try as friends to transfer [them] to a proper place.

All civil and criminal matters will be dealt with by the cabeceros and the merchant of the fort, who will act as president. The fines imposed will be for the benefit of the cabeceros mentioned, as is practice in Mina, and all without delay, on punishment of payment of a double fine.

In case of a war being waged against them, by whoever it may be, we shall side and stand with them, as if it were waged against us, as we also make our enemies to be theirs. And all this without either side to fail to perform, to pose opposition, contraveners being punished opportunely.

The excise on fish will be the same as at El Mina, of each 5 a good one, without contradiction, to deliver to the person responsible, and from a big one the head. Someone acting to the contrary will immediately have his canoe broken or confiscated.

All the houses, gardens and compounds, as well as the fort, owned by the Portuguese before, will belong to us, and therefore we shall use these as we wish, and no one be allowed to do any damage to the properties, however small.

Of every newly arriving ship from the fatherland, coming out with cargo for the Gold Coast, the cabeceros aforementioned will together benefit one ounce of gold up front, which will be enlarged or diminished after reception [of the goods].

So, when the blacks are buying any goods here, they will enjoy a dash just as at Mina, namely of each benda four yards of coarse linen, to deliver with the merchant as with other withes in all peace and friendship, without appointing any ‘bacherel’.

As to assure that the above-written is more binding, the General on the one hand, Atta Ansi, together with Piter Agoeij on the other side, will sign this document, and to provide more insurance, they will hand over to us one of their sons in confinement.

So done and sealed at the Fort Axem in Guinea, in the year and on the day as above.

[signed] Ruichaver

the mark of Attij X Ansi

the mark of Peter X Agoeij