The Treaty of Butre was concluded between the Netherlands and Ahanta and signed at Butre, Gold Coast on 27 August 1656. The treaty regulated the jurisdiction of the Netherlands and the Dutch West India Company over the town of Butre and the surrounding country of Upper Ahanta, factually creating a Dutch protectorate over the area, which would last until the Dutch departure from the Gold Coast in April 1872.
The country of Ahanta, in what is now the Western Region of the Republic of Ghana, constituted a regional power in the form of a confederacy of chiefdoms which had come in early contact with the European nations settling on the Gold Coast for the purpose of trade.
In the middle of the seventeenth century the two European competitors in the area were the Dutch West India Company and the Swedish Africa Company. The European powers allied themselves with African states and chiefs in order to gain a sustainable upper hand. In this case the African allies were the Ahanta chiefdoms on the one hand and the state of Encasser, a political entity of which little is known, on the other.
The bend in the Herengracht, Amsterdam, by Dutch artist Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde, depicts life in the Dutch Golden Age, a highly prosperous period of Dutch history. The period lasted roughly the whole of the seventeenth century and saw Dutch trade, science, and art being among the most acclaimed in the world.
Muller started his career as a businessman, trading with East and West Africa. In his mid-twenties he travelled to Zanzibar, Mozambique, and South Africa for business purposes, but showed himself a keen ethnographer as well, collecting ethnographic artifacts and writing reports about the societies and people he encountered on his way. In 1890, Muller retired from business for personal reasons, and went to Germany to study ethnography and geography. He graduated with a Ph.D. dissertation four years later.