Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle is situated in the small town with the same name in Ghana.
The first fortification at this site, built out of wood, was built in 1653 by the Swedes, led by Krusenstjerna. It was called Carolusburg. In 1654 they rebuilt the fort in stone. During the next years the Danes, the local Fetu chief and the Dutch each captured and held Carolusburg for a period of time.
In 1665 Carolusburg was taken by the English fleet led by Captain Holmes. The English Chartered Company of Adventurers expanded and strengthened the fort to be comparable in size and strength with the nearby Dutch Elmina Castle and renamed it Cape Coast Castle.
In the early 1750's a primary school for local children was founded at the castle. In 1757, during the Seven Years' War, a French naval squadron bombarded the castle, badly damaging it.
Between 1760 and 1790 Cape Coast Castle was recontructed in stages by the British Committee of Merchants to its present form; an loosely pentagonal fort built of locally quarried sandstone with low curtain walls, several polygonal bastions and 3-storey ranges of buildings around a courtyard.
It was also equipped with 3 slave dungeons (2 for males and 1 for females) from where some 70.000 slaves were exported to the New World each year. The castle is reputed to have been one of the largest slave-holding sites in the world during the colonial era where slaves, many of them traded to the British by Ashantes in return for alcohol and guns, were stored before being stowed in merchant ships and deported.
In 1803 Cape Coast Castle was besieged by the townspeople after a quarrel between them and a British merchant. In the 1870's the castle became the headquarters of the West Indian Regiment. In more recent times the castle served as a school, a museum and the regional headquarters of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.
Cape Coast Castle, a World Heritage Site, is a nice building with a grim history. It can be visited with a guide for a small fee. And while your in town, why don't you visit two smaller forts, which are within walking distance; Fort William and Fort Victoria.