Cape Coast, the capitol of the Central Region of Ghana, has been used as a major
area of trade since the start of the 16th century. Cape Coast has over 82,000 inhabitants
(2000 Pop. Census) and is home to the Cape Coast Castle, the Elmina Castle, and
the Elmina fishing village. The Cape Coast has been controlled at some point from
the start of the 16th century until the 19th century by the British, Portuguese,
Swedish, Danish, and Dutch.
The Cape Coast Castle
The Cape Coast Castle was initially built for the trade of gold and timber but later
was used for the Mid-Atlantic Slave trade by the British. The Cape Coast Castle
held close to 1000 male slaves and close to 500 female slaves at one time. Slaves
could occupy the castle for up to twelve months before being shipped off and sold.
(Sign notifying a slave auction)
(A view from the door of no return)
The Elmina Castle
The Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in West Africa, was built in 1482
by the Portuguese. Just like the Cape Coast Castle, the Elmina castle started out
as a regular trade castle but later became one of the most important stops in the
Mid-Atlantic slave trade. The Elmina Castle was captured by the Dutch but slave
trade continued until the British had possession of the castle in 1873.
(The harbor from Elmina Castle)
(Inside Elmina Castle)
The Elmina Fishing Village
The Elmina Fishing Village is a highly condensed area overpopulated with fisherman.
Fisherman fish from sun up to sun down while the women sell the fish and other kinds
of seafood at the market. Those who do not depend on the seafood market feed off
the tourism of the Elmina Castle (a very popular tourist attraction) as a way of
income. Those who use tourism sell items to visitors, use tricks of kindness or
just beg for money or valuable items. Elmina was the first European settlement in
West Africa and therefore reflects a rich quantity of Portuguese style in many of
the buildings and homes.
(Inside the harbor)