Monday, February 17, 2014

Ghana - Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions

Fort St. Jago, Forecourt of Elimina Castle, and Elimina Castle.

Sent by Kwame from Cape Coast, Ghana.

The remains of fortified trading-posts established between 1482 and 1786 can still be seen along the coast of Ghana between Keta and Beyin. They were links in the trade routes established by the Portuguese in many areas of the world during their era of great maritime exploration.
Accra was first settled at the end of the 16th century when the Ga people migrated there. The site allowed them to engage in trade with the Europeans who had built forts nearby, the most important of these being James Fort and Ussher Fort. These early inhabitants also engaged in farming and lagoon fishing, with sea fishing taken up during the middle of the 18th century. During the slave trade Accra took on greater importance owing to the nearby forts, many of which were owned and controlled by the Dutch, a prominence that lasted until the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.
In Accra, competition between the different European states was strong and having a fort at Accra was of great strategic value, as it lay at the end of an important inland trade route. The forts and castles were built and occupied at different times by European traders and adventurers from Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Britain to safeguard trading posts. The castles defended the European merchants and their local allies and trading partners against competition; they were used as entrepôts for slaves and trade-goods, and they were the centres of European administration on the Gold Coast. (read further)

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