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Poison or medicine? Changing perceptions of dutch gin

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Chapter Summary

The importation of Dutch gin into West Africa was the subject of intense debates throughout the colonial period. This chapter explores the differing and frequently changing opinions of West Africans concerning the importation and uses of Dutch gin. It draws on the interpretations put forward by Emmanuel Akyeampong for Ghana, and Chima Korieh for Nigeria. The chapter considers various contemporary claims about gin’s purity and health benefits. Key to this discussion will be an examination of local African perceptions of the healthy nature, or otherwise, of imported Dutch gin in the context of the rise of local illicit distillation. The chapter finally deals with the 1930s and 1940s, and examines the renewed appreciation of imported gin, in both Ghana and Nigeria, as the 'lesser evil' compared to illicit gin.

Keywords: Dutch gin; Ghana; local African perceptions; local illicit distillation; Nigeria

10.1163/ej.9789004160910.i-270.28
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004160910.i-270.28
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