The Nalerigu Defence Wall is one of the most famous monuments of slavery found in the Northern part of Ghana. Originally known as the Naa Jaringa Wall, the ancient wall is located in Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi District of the North East region.
The wall was built in the 16th century by the then ruler of the Mamprusi ethnic group, Naa Jaringa and surrounded the entire village of Nalerigu, protecting the people from the vicious slave traders from Burkina Faso and Mali.
According to historical evidence, the village of Nalerigu was situated in the middle of the slave trade route between Djenne in Mali and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. This resulted in some of Naa Jaringa’s subjects being captured and sold as slaves by traders crossing from the two areas. To put a stop to this and protect his people, Naa Jaringa put up the famous wall around the village to shield and protect his people from traders crossing from the two areas.
Oral folktale also has it that, Naa Jaringa was a very ambitious man who wanted to nip his name in the history of the Mamprusis and be remembered forever. He saw the construction of the wall as a monument that could keep his name in the history books of the people long after his demise.
Very little remains of the mud-built wall today, with erosion eating away almost the entire structure and leaving just a small portion standing. Irrespective of this, the Nalerigu Defense wall is a monumental structure in Ghana’s slave and colonial past and continues to receive patronage from tourists, especially those from the Americas and Europe who wish to see first-hand some of the ancient monuments of the slave trading business.
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