Drawn initially by gold during the 16th century, Elmina also became a vital base for the re-provisioning of Portuguese ships, on route to India.  But in subsequent centuries  the slave trade came to dominate.


São Jorge da Mina Castle elmina ghana

São Jorge da Mina Castle was built by the Portuguese in 1482. It was Portugal’s West African headquarters for trade.

Market of Elmina Ghana


fishing boats elmina ghana

Fort Coenraadsburg Elmina Ghana

Fort Coenraadsburg on sits on St. Jago Hill. Built by the Portuguese in 1555 and called Forte de São Tiago, was conquered and renamed by the Dutch in 1637.

elmina ghana São Jorge da Mina Castle

The original Portuguese interest was gold. The Dutch West India Company captured this main fort  in 1637.  In subsequent centuries it was mostly used for the slave trade.

slave quarters elmina ghana

Slave holding area within the castle

Ghanain africa shrine

Local shrine

beach fort elmina ghana

History of Elmina

The town grew around the Portuguese São Jorge da Mina Castle, built by Diogo de Azambuja in 1482, on the site of a local village.

In 1478 (during the War of the Castilian Succession) Castilian and Portuguese fleets fought for control of West African trade (in gold, slaves, ivory and black pepper) near the waters of Elmina. The war ended with a Portuguese naval victory and recognition by the Catholic monarchs of Portuguese sovereignty over most of the African territories in dispute.

This was the first colonial war among European powers. The Dutch West India Company captured it in 1637. And in subsequent centuries it was mostly used for the slave trade. British forces attacked the town in 1782. But it remained in Dutch control until 1872, when they sold the “Gold Coast” to the British. The Gold Coast – renamed Ghana – achieved independence from the UK in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan African nation to free it self from European colonialism.

SOURCE: paraphrased from Wikipedia

Join the journey !


Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.