Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Quaque, Philip (A)

Anglican Communion

First African ordained a priest in the Church of England; a pioneer in educational and missionary work in the Gold Coast (now Ghana).

He was from Cape Coast, the African headquarters for the British Company of Merchants Trading to Africa. In 1754 he was one of three Fante boys sent by a British missionary society to England for training as missionaries. The other two died in England, but Quaque fared well there, and was ordained a deacon in 1765. He returned home the next year, accompanied by his English wife.

For the next fifty years he served as chaplain in the Cape Coast Castle. His main interest, however, was the conversion of local Africans. His missionary activities were largely a failure, but he opened a school which was modestly successful. His pupils, mostly Anglo-African children, later became the important business and political leaders of the Gold Coast. Thoroughly European in manner, Quaque experienced the conflicting pulls of European and African cultures. After his first wife died (c.1767), he married an African woman. He seems to have renewed his ties with African society towards the end of his life.

Mark R. Lipschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen


Dictionary of African Biography. Vol. I: Ethiopia-Ghana New York: Reference Publications, 1977.

Curtin, Philip, ed. Africa Remembered. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968.

Bartels, F. L. “Philip Quaque, 1741-1816.” Trans. of the Gold Coast and Togoland Historical Society 1 (5) (1955): 153-77.

Sampson, M. J. Makers of Modern Ghana. Accra: Anowuo Educational Publishers, 1969.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Dictionary of African Historical Biography, 2nd edition, copyright © 1986, by Mark R. Lipschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. All rights reserved.