Cape Coast Castle

Cape Coast having a sheltered beach in proximity to Elmina Castle made it a great attraction to the European nations. Hence, for nearly a century, there was a ding-dong competition among the Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, Swedes and English to gain control of Cape Coast. The Portuguese built the first trade lodge in 1555 and called the local settlement “Cabo Corso”, meaning short cape, later corrupted to Cape Coast.

The Swedes, led by Krusenstjerna, built a permanent fort in 1653 and called it Carolus burg after King Charles X of Sweden. During the next 11 years, the Danes, the local Fetu chief and the Dutch each in turn captured and held Carolusburg for a time. Finally, the English fleet led by Captain Holmes took Carolusburg. The fort remained in English hands till the late 19th century serving as the West African headquarters seat of the president of the Committee of Merchants and later as the seat of the British governor.

Cape Coast Castle has the prestigious distinction of having been designated a World Heritage Site. Extensive reconstruction of the fort has created a magnet that continues to attract visitors. African Americans come by the droves in their quest to discover their “roots” and to come to terms with the terrible reality of the slave trade at its very epicenter.

Military buffs admire the ancient fortification and cannon. And yet others come to do research. Most tour itineraries are pressed for time and allow only brief stays in Cape Coast, but the city has much more to offer those who have the time.


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