GHANA

Cape Coast & Elmina

 

Cape Coast

Cape Coast Castle has seen the passage of numerous foreign powers. Initially constructed as a small trading lodge in the 16th century, the building was subsequently altered and enlarged becoming a substantial fort by 1627. It was later captured by the Swedes and named Fort Carolusberg, finally becoming a British possession in 1664. Cape Coast Castle, through which millions of slaves were shipped to the Caribbean and the United States, became the seat of British colonial administration until 1877 when government offices moved to Christiansborg Castle in Accra.

 

The cannons still face seaward, stirring the imagination to scenes of exploration, discover and great tragedy. The Museum of West African History, currently under development in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution of the United States, brings into sharp focus the role that these great structures played in the meeting of two cultures. As you wander the ramparts of Cape Coast Castle in the salt air, the view is a visual feast. Traditional customs - the mending of nets and launching of painted fishing canoes, contineu side-by-side with the new - impromptu soccer games and the hustle and bustle of business. Cape Coast Castle is alive with the human spirit.

 

Elmina

Ten kilometers west on a promontory visible from a great distance, Elmina Castle is the earliest known European structure in the tropics. Built in 1482 by the Portugauese during early world exploration, the castle was taken over by the Dutch in 1637, who retained control for 274 years. Inside the vast fortification is the location of the first Catholic church in Sub-Sahara Africa. The Castle's damp, unlit dungeons served as horrific holding areas for the human cargo of the infamous slave trade.

 

Fort St. Jago is within walking distance. It is from this vantage point that the Dutch launched their successful land attack on Elmina Castle. Unlike other forts in the area, Fort St. Jago was not used for trading activities. Its primary purpose was to provide military protection to Elmina Castle. Be sure to bring your camera. The hill on which Ft. St. Jago stands provides an excellent view of Elmina Castle, the Atlantic Ocean, and the buzz of commercial activity at the Elmina fishing harbor.

 

Guided tours of Cape Coast and Elmina Castles are available. Cultural and theatrical performances are often staged here. Prominent among these are the re-enactment of the horrors of the slave trade as well as a solemn, touching portrayal of the final journey of the Africans as they walked through the hellish dungeons into the awaiting ships that transported them to the Americas.

 

Accra

 

Osu Castle, also known as Fort Christiansborg or simply the Castle, is a castle located in Osu, Accra, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of Guinea. The first substantial fort was built by the Danish in the 1660s, though the castle has changed hands between Denmark, Portugal, the Akwamu, the British, and finally post-Independence Ghana, and was rebuilt numerous times. For most of the castle's history it has been the seat of government in Ghana with some interruptions. Today it remains the seat of government in Ghana, employing 2,100 workers. The most important functions are carried out in the castle itself, but other buildings are also used. Many international dignitaries have visited the castle while in the region, including U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Additional rooms were built in order to accommodate Queen Elizabeth II's visit in 1961, one year after Ghana became a republic

 

West Coast

 

Axim

Axim has a prominent seaside fort, Fort Santo Antonio, built by the Portuguese in 1515 and between 1642 and 1872 expanded and altered by the Dutch, who were in possession during that period. The fort, now property of the Ghanaian state is currently in the custody of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) and is open to the public. Off-shore there are some picturesque islands, including one with a lighthouse.

 

Prince's Town

Fort Gross-Friedrichsburg is the only German fort in Ghana, Gross-Friedrichsburg was built by the Brandenburg Africa Company and named after their patron, Frederick William, Prince-Elector of Brandenburg. Take a guided tour of Fort Gross Friedrichsburg, and hear the history of the Brandenburgers’ involvement in trade along the west coast. You will also hear about the legend of the ‘Black Prussian’ John Connie (also known as Jon Conny, John Conny or John Couny), a local merchant-chief who defended the fort against the Dutch and the British. Enjoy the fort’s unique Germanic exposed stone architecture.

 

Dixcove

Fort Dixcove was Britain's answer to Groot-Friedrichsburg. When it was transferred to the Dutch it was renamed after one of the gun-boats sent by the Dutch to deal with local unrest occasioned by the transfer of ownership. It is an English-built fort which was completed in 1698, which dominates the fishing harbour and town from a bluff located on the eastern side of the town.

 

Butre

The Dutch West Indian Company built Fort Batenstein to establish its trade against Swedish competition. The name means 'profit rock'. Dickson records that William Bosman "wryly remarked that the Dutch fort at Butri, christened Batenstein, because of the brisk gold trade there, should be renamed Schadenstein (Bate signifies profit and Schade loss)". Other comments by Bosman refer to the fort as "ill-designed ... with four useless little bastions".

 

 

Ghana's castles and forts stir the imagination to scenes of exploration and offer concrete testimony to the drama of human history they are witness to one of the world's most tragic events - the slave trade

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Cape Coast

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Elmina

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Accra

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West Coast

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Art & theater

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Music

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Castles

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Outdoor pursuits

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Beaches

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Eating local

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Shopping

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Traveling Outside of Accra

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CASTLE

& FORT

LOCATIONS