The aim of this book has been to study living standards on the pre-colonial Gold Coast, as a historical case study of living standards in West Africa in the time before formal colonization of the continent. The book has been inspired, on the one hand, by the school of dependency theory, of those such as Walter Rodney, and, on the other hand, by much new research on African economic history grounded in the neo-institutionalist theory. What unites these different strands of literature is that they emphasize the important interplay between domestic factors in the region, and the external transatlantic slave trade, for disrupting economic development in – or, in the terminology of dependency theory, the underdevelop - ment of – Africa. To study this issue requires an analysis of the actual levels of development in Africa prior to when the slave trade started as well as a historical analysis of change in reaction to the dynamics of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. One aspect of this economic development is to study the historical living standards of the common population. The Gold Coast is par ticularly suitable for such a study, given the fact that the transatlantic slave trade started comparatively late in this particular part of Africa – not until the late seventeenth century were there any substantial amounts of slaves exported from the region. There are thus comparatively many historical sources that can provide quite unique sorts of evidence of the level of development both prior to, and following, the start of the transatlantic slave trade. The Gold Coast can therefore be seen as a revelatory case study.