Cape Coast Castle is a fortification in Ghana built by Swedish traders. The first timber construction on the site was erected in 1653 for the Swedish Africa Company and named Carolusborg after King Charles X of Sweden. It was later rebuilt in stone.
In April 1663 the whole Swedish Gold Coast was seized by the Danes, and integrated in the Danish Gold Coast. In 1664 the Castle was conquered by the English and was extensively rebuilt by the Committee of Merchants (whose Governors administered the entire British colony) in the late 18th century. In 1844, it became the seat of the colonial Government of the British Gold Coast.
The Castle was built for the trade in timber and gold. Later the structure was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Castle, or Castle and Dungeon, to give it its official name, was first restored in the 1920s by the British Public Works Department.
In 1957, when Ghana became independent, the castle came under the care of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB). In the early 1990s, the building was restored by the Ghanaian Government, with funds from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States Aid for International Development [USAID], with technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institution and other NGOs.
The Cape Coast Castle, and other forts and castles in Ghana, are included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. This historic site was visited by the US President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama and family on July 11, 2009.
Sources and references
- Osei-Tutu, Brepong (2004) "African American reactions to the restoration of Ghana's 'slave castles' ", in: Public Archaeology; 3/4, 2004, pp. 195–204. ISSN 1465-5187
- St. Clair, William (2006) The Grand Slave Emporium: Cape Coast Castle and the British slave trade. London: Profile Books ISBN 1861979045
- WorldStatesmen - Ghana
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