Fort St Antonio in Axim, Ghana
|Animation of the 3D Model of Fort St. Antonio in Axim, Ghana|
Fort St. Antonio is located near the town of Axim in what is now the Western Region of Ghana. It was built by the Portuguese in 1515 after they were forced to abandon their trading post near the edge of the Ankobra River after persistent attacks by the local people. It was the second fort built by the Portuguese after Elmina Castle and used to trade gold.
St Antonio had strong military defences and withstood many attacks for over four hundred years. The fort was eventually captured by the Dutch in 1642 and continued to be used to trade primarily in gold. It was rumoured that the fort at Axim had amassed more gold than all other trading centres along the coast put together. The fort was expanded by the Dutch some of these expansions were to improve defence while others served to house slaves before they were loaded onto transport ships. The fort was known as one of the main regional slave trading posts during the 18th century when they received a steady supply of slaves from Ashanti.
The fort was ceded to the British in 1872, by this time slavery had been officially abolished so it was used as an office building, prison and guest house. St Antonio has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now maintained by the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and is in good condition.
Sources for further reading:
Doortmont, Michel R. and Savoldi, Benedetta. 2006. The castles of Ghana: Axim, Butre, Anomabu: historical and architectural research project on the use and conservation status of three Ghanaian forts. Lurano (BG), Italy: Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo, Culture Lab.