Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Elmina Castle, Gold Coast, Ghana

Elmina was another fortress, just 7 km from Cape Coast. It is just barely visible in the third photo in the post on Cape Coast Castle, at the end of the peninsula sticking out from the beach. It was built by the Portugese, but later captured by the Dutch, after they landed up the beach, and put some cannons on top of a hill dominating the fortress. After taking control of the area, the Dutch protected their flank but building a second fortress on top of the hill. The castle itself is surrounded on three sides by water, and has two moats on the fourth side that was home to several crocadiles. The palm trees in the photos below are growing in the currently dry moat. There is a fresh water river flowing out that seperates the castle itself from the beautiful little fishing village of Elmina. Much like Cape Coast castle, Elmina was clearly built around serving the slave trade. It had about a dozen dungeons that once held nearly one thousand people at once. There were two additional cells just off the main courtyard. The one on the right was for soldiers, and was ventilated, lit, and had a place for food. The door on the left was for troublesome slaves, who would be thrown into a room with no ventilation and allowed to die of thirst or suffocation before the bodies were thrown into the ocean. The Door of No Return:

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