Ghana has many heritage site linked to its history as a nation. Such historical site is the Elmina Castle the first settlement of Europeans in Ghana. Today, we are going to explore the Elmina Castle History, Location & Slavery as part of Ghana’s heritage.
Located in the Central Region of Ghana, Elmina Castle is just 12 kilometres away from Cape Coast. Upon the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th Century, they strategically choose the location of the Castle as a means to promote European trade and ship them back to Europe.
As a sign of slavery and European colonialism and exploits, the Elmina Castle also known as St. George Castle represents both the horrors of slavery and the socio-cultural and political history of Ghana. Established as the first trading post on the Gulf of Guinea, the Elmina Castle is the oldest European building in existence South of the Sahara.
Built in 1842, the Portuguese used the Castle to protect the gold trade until it was captured by the Dutch in 1637, expanded and used as a slave dungeon to the Caribbean and South Americas. The Castle serves as a sign of European architecture and imperial rule in Africa. The Castle became the focal point of intra-European struggle until it was ceded to Great Britain in 1872.
The Castle marks the dark period of slavery when the store of the castle was converted into dungeons for slaves during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The Castle has a punishment cell where persons whom rebels were kept and tortured.
It also has a Door of No Return which slaves are passed through never to see the shores of Africa again. Captives could spend months in confinement, awaiting their journey into a dark, and unknown future. After slaves were shipped across the Atlantic, the Castle was their last memory of home.
Persons of black ancestry who wishes to connect to their roots can visit the Castle since more than 30,000 slaves passed through the castle Door of no Return to the Americas and the Caribbean. Tourists who visit the castle have a feeling of the gruesome activity of slavery.
The Castle was abandoned by the British after slavery was abolished until Ghana gained its independence and used it as a Police Training Centre, Secondary School and now a historical Museum on UNESCO’s world heritage site.
Today, visitors all over the world visit the Castle to learn about the Elmina Castle History, Location & Slavery. By close proximity are a fishing harbour and the site of another fort, St. Jago built by the Dutch as a strategic fort to defend the Elmina Castle.