Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Cape Coast, Ghana

I spent several days in western Ghana, crawling around some of the old slave castles built by the Europeans. Fort Amsterdam was built by the Dutch in 1595 and later rebuilt by the English.

Cape Coast Castle was also built by the Dutch, this time in 1637, but passed through Swede hands before being captured by the English. Unlike the more standard castle construction of Fort Amsterdam, Cape Coast castle was clearly built around slave trading. While Fort Amsterdam, and some of the very early castles had a more symmetrical construction, the later forts had most of their firepower oriented outward, protecting against attack from other European navies, but not as concerned with pacification of local tribes. But it was also clear in the size and location of the slave dungeons. The holding cells are much larger, and located very close to the exit directly to the beach through the Door of No Return.

The surrounding city of Cape Coast, hometown of Kofi Annan.

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