Cape Coast Castle, Ghana

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Description

The Cape Coast Castle is situated in the town of the same name in the Central Region of Ghana. The first fortification on the site was constructed out of wood in 1653 by the Swedish who named it Carlousburg. It was later rebuilt in stone in 1654.

 Over the next decade the castle was captured and held by the local Fetu chief and later the Dutch. In 1665 it was taken by the British who made many alterations and expansions and renamed it the Cape Coast Castle. One of the alterations was to increase the number of slave dungeons, so that they could meet the growing demand for labour in the West Indian Islands. Slaves would be stored in these dungeons in vile conditions for at least two weeks before they were shipped off.

 The castle was heavily bombarded by the French during the Seven Years War (1754/1756 - 1763) and badly damaged. The British Committee of Merchants who had taken over British interests in the area reconstructed the castle in stages so trade could continue.

 The Cape Coast Castle was thought to be the largest slave-holding site along the African coast where slaves were stored before being stowed in merchant ships. It is believed that about one third of the slaves traded along the Gold Coast passed through this castle.

The castle is currently used by the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 Sources for further reading:

Forts and castles of Ghana. Chatsworth, CA: Image Entertainment, 2003. Dantzig, A. 1999. Forts and castles of Ghana. Accra: Sedco Pub.

 http://www.ghanamuseums.org/forts/forts-castles.php