Past & Presents

Ghana is the oldest West African Kingdom. It was formed around A.D 600 in the Region of Soninke between the Rivers Senegal and Niger. It's markets were the main places of trade between North Africa and the land south of the Sahara. The North wanted Ghana's Gold whiles the Sudan needed Salt. Slavery existed then already - they worked the Salt Fields and the Gold Mines without any hope of ever getting out.

Ghana had the Monopoly of the Gold Trade which turned it into a very rich Land. It was so rich that it's King was known to be the richest King in the world. Initially Ghana was ruled by the Berbers until the year 790 when the first black King took the Throne - King Kaya Maghan Ciss. The time between the 9th - 11th Century Ghana had it's richest and most powerful period until the middle of the 11th Century when Abdullah Ybn Yassin fanatically tried to force all his subjects to become strict Moslems. He started the convent Almorabetin from which the name Almoraviden originated. The Almoraviden went to War against Ghana in 1052 and took over the Capital Koumbi Saleh in 1076. During this War most of the City was destroyed. The Ghanaian people were forced to join the Moslem Religion and this split up the Ghana Empire. Many Tribes fled Ghana and settled in other areas. The Akan went south and settled in the area which became today's Ashanti Region. The Mossi Tribe settled at the northern end of the Volta River and formed today's Burkina Faso among others. History did not end here for the Empire Ghana it just begun.

What we know as Ghana today used to be "Gold Coast". The "Gold Coast" became famous in the Slave Trade period as it became the main point of exchange of goods between the Westerners and the Africans.

Slavery had always been a part of the African way of life but these "Slaves" had rights and were treated fairly. After a certain period of serving, the Slaves were taken into the family where they lived as a free person. But this changed when the Slave Trade to the Western World started. In the 15th Century it became fashionable to have a Black Slave in Europe and the trade with Human Cargo begun. When Columbus explored the Americas the boom came for Black Ivory as Slaves were called. To work the Sugar Cane and Cotton fields many hands were needed and it was soon determined that the native Americans were too fragile for the job so one needed replacements. This started the barter between the Western World and Africa. In Ghana the Portuguese were the first "White Man" to set foot on African soil in the year 1470. They set up in El Mina ( today Elmina ) where they built the St. Georges Castle.

The Ashanti were the richest and most powerful tribe in the Ghana of those days. The King of Ashanti wanted to extend his Kingdom as far as possible and was at War constantly with his neighbors. Through this he took many prisoners and also needed weapons and ammunition to continue his quest. The Ashanti Kingdom started the trade between the Ashanti and those that were around at that particular time to trade Gold, Ivory and Slaves against Weapons, Ammunition, colorful Glass Beads, Material, Cook Ware and other items foreign but very attractive to the African. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch, Danish and finally the British. The British took over Kumasi, the Capital of the Ashanti Region and founded the Crown Colony Gold Coast in the year 1874 after a very terrible war.

On the 6th of March 1957 Ghana got it's Independence as the first Black African Country. In memory of the once great Empire Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Ghana's first Prime Minister also known as the "Father of the Nation", christened the new Independent country Ghana. Ghana became a Republic in 1960 but stayed in the Commonwealth. After 9 years Dr. Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 and was sent to Guinea into Exile where he died in 1972.

Military and Civil Government changed hands until the 4th of June 1979 when Flight Lft. Jerry John Rawlings took over and formed the AFRC ( Armend Forces Revolutionary Council ). Lieutenant Rawlings proclaimed his indifference to power and free parliamentary elections were held in the year 1979 leaving the PNP ( People National Party ) in power with Dr. Hilla Liemann as President. Lieutenant Rawlings intervened once again in 1981 and resumed control of Government. After a total economic collapse in the late 70's and early 80's, Ghana has once again found it's feet after the Economic Recovery Program Lieutenant Rawlings established with the help of the IMF and the World Bank Credit Facilities. In the year 1991, Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings established a new party, the NDC ( National Democratic Congress ). During the Presidential Elections in 1992, the NDC won with 58% and in December 1992 the NDC got 190 Seats in Parliament out of 200. In January 1993 the Fourth Republic was declared and Jerry John Rawlings was sworn in as President.

The following years saw many developments on the economic front as well as an increase in political freedom and the re-emergence of the free press. But it also had it's down sides with the ethnic clashes in 1994 in the north of Ghana resulting of land disputes. Within months this left 6000 dead 10000 homeless and 200 villages were razed. Another crises occurred in 1995 with the attempt to replace the Income Tax with the Value Added Tax system. This caused wide spread rioting which resulted in reverting back to the familiar Sales Tax.

Finally after 10 years as Chairman of the PNDC and 8 years as the President of the Republic of Ghana Rawlings had to step down according to the Constitution of the 4th Republic and Ghana saw the end of one era and the beginning of a new one after the Presidential Elections in 2000 with Ghana's new President - John Kufour of the New Patriotic Party - NPP.


Forts in Ghana

In the following chart all forts and branches are listed geographically from west to east.

Name Location Commentary
Fort Albany (?) Half Assinie That Fort was a British branch in the 17. century. It does not exist in the 1830th any more; but was still mentioned in British maps of the 19. century.
Fort Appolonia (Fort William II) Beyin a Swedish branch from the 1650th. Afterwards  Dutch an French branch. 1691 a British branch was build, witch as build to a fort in 1750–70. 1820 the branch was abandoned, 1836 occupied again. With the fort exchange in 1868 the fort got Dutch and they remanded it to Fort William III. 1872 surrender to the British, witch blast it in 1873. 1962–1968 reconstruction.
Fort Eliza Carthago Ankobra 1640–1680 Dutch; 1702 ruins left
Fort Duma at the mouth of Ankober (Rio da Cobra) 1623–1636 Portuguese
Fort Ruychaver at the Ankobra Jul./Aug. 1654–1659 Dutch, blast by its own commander. Extensive excavations were made with pore success
Fort St. Anthony Axim 1500 (1502?) Portuguese branch; 1514 destroyed by natives; 1515 Portuguese branch again; 1541 Reconstruction; 8. February 1642 occupied by Dutch and engaged; 1664 British; 1665 Dutch; 1872 British; 1951–56 restored
Festung Groß Friedrichsburg (Fort Hollandia) Princestown historisch Pocquesöe 1683–1717 brandenburgisch; 1717 sold to the Dutch, but until 1724 occupied by natives under the leadership of Jan Conny; after an contract with the Dutch (22. November 1722) handed over by Jan Conny; after the occupation by the  Dutch it was renamed to Fort Hollandia, 1872 handed over to the British
Sophie-Louise-Schanze or „Die Loge” Takrama historic Krema 1690 brandenburgischer base; 1691 British fort; 1708 abandoned; 1717 sold to the Netherland; ruins left
Dorotheenschanze (Fort Dorothea) Akwida bzw. Accada 1685 brandenburgisch (as Groß Friedrichsburg; 1687–1690 Dutch; 1698 back to Brandenburg; 1709 abandoned; 1712 Dutch, passed back to Brandenburg (Preußen meantime); 1717 sold to the Netherland
Fort Metal Cross (Fort Metallen Kruis) Dixcove 1684 first effort of a Dutch branch. It failed because of the local opposition; until 1691 brandenburgisch; 1691 left to the British; 1691–1697 build to British fort, 1826 abandoned, 1830 new occupation by the British; after changing the forts in 1868 Dutch (Fort Metallen Kruis), but occupied by the Federation of Fanti, 1872 British again
Fort Batenstein (Fort Batensteyn) Butre (Butrie) Dutch branch sins 1598; 1650–52 Swedish branch; 1656 Dutch, start to build the fort ; 1664 occupied by the British; 1665 Dutch occupation; around 1700 brandenburgisch branch; 1717 Dutch, abandoned; 1818 again Dutch; 1827 abandoned, 1828 rebuild by the Dutch; 1872 British
Fort Witsen Takoradi historic Taccorary was French, but abandoned and 1640 a ruin; 1640 British, 1644 abandoned again, 1650–1657 Swedish; 1657 Danish; 1658 Dutch; until 1659 Danish again; 1659 to 21. April 1664 Dutch; 21. April 1664 to 4. January 1665 British (English); 4. January 1665 Dutch and on the 6. January 1665 blasted; 1685 brandenburgisch branch; 1717 Dutch; 1872 British
Fort Orange (Fort Oranje) Sekondi around 1670 Dutch, 1680 English; 1694 occupied by the local Ahanta; destroyed by the French during the American civil war (1779–1784); carcass occupied by the Dutch; 1785 British (in exchange to Fort Vredenstein Kommendah); 1840 abandoned, occupied and reconstructed by the Dutch; 1872 British; since then used as a lighthouse
Fort Sekondi Sekondi 1682 build as an English Fort, 1867 changing the fort with the Detach , British again 1872, ruins left.
Fort San Sebastian Shama around 1558 Portuguese; 1590 start to build a fort, 1600 abandoned; between 1600 und 1640 French; from 1640 Dutch; 1664 beleaguers by the British (vainly); abandoned before 1870, 1872 British, 1954–57 restored
Fort Vredenburg Komenda from 1659/1660 Dutch branch; November 1681 occupied  and destroyed by natives; 1663 English branch, but later given up because of danger by the natives; 1688 Dutch, start to bullied the fort; January 1782 conquered by British and destroyed, 1785 occupied again by Dutch (in exchange with Sekondi), reconstruction of the fort; 1872 British
Fort English Kommenda historic Ekki-Tekki 1632 British branch, abandoned in 1633; 1663 again English branch, but abandoned again in 1688; 1691 failed to build a English branch; 1695–1698 building a fort by the British; 1816 abandoned; later British again?; 1868 Dutch; 1872 British
Fort São Jorge da Mina (St. George´s Castle or Elmina Castle) Elmina 1482 Portuguese; 1540er reconstruction of the Forts; 1637 Dutch; 1680/81 occupied by natives, 1872 British
Fort Conraadsburg or Fort St. Jago Elmina on the St.Jago-Hill at Elmina; from 1555 Portuguese chapel, afterwards unfortified Portuguese branch, 1637 the Dutch start to build a fort, from here they captured Elmina ; 1872 British
Fort de Veer (or "Veerssche Schans), Fort Java, Fort Scomarus, Fort Beekestein, Fort Nagtglas Elmina Not comparable to the "Salve Castles". Two fastened branches of the 19. century, each 200 - 300 Meter north of Fort Conraadsburg and  (Fort de Veer) 700 Meter east of Fort São Jorge da Mina.
Jankumase Jankumase (40 km north of Cape Coast) 1822 fastened British branch
Cape Coast Castle (Fort Carolusburg) (Fort Karlsborg) Cape Coast historic Ogua (Ugwà) before 1637 Portuguese base; 1638 Dutch; between 1647–1648 English and Dutch branch as well; both 1648 abandoned; from 1650 English and Swedish branch side by side; 1652 the Englishman were forces to surrender by natives, start to build Fortes Karlsborg (Carolusburg); 1656 Danish; 1659 Dutch, Dutch were dislodged by natives ; 1659 occupied by the Fetus, 1659 changing to Sweden; 22. April 1663 to 2. Mai 1663 occupied by the Fetus; 2. Mai 1663 to 3. Mai 1664 Dutch; from 3. Mai 1664 British
Ojuquah Ojuqua (30 km northeast of Cape Coast) 1822 fastened British branch
Fort Victoria Cape Coast 1702 British; 1873 rebuild
Fort William Cape Coast 1819 British
Fort McCarthy Cape Coast 1822 British
Fort Frederiksborg (Fort Royal) Amamfro historic. Mamfru 1659 Danish; 1684 (1688) British (because of gambling debts of commander Lykke 1684 occupied by the British and finally gave away to England in 1688)
Fort Nassau Mouri (Moree)

(at the hill Cong)

1598 Dutch branch; 1624 building the fort; 1640 sold by King Sabou to the British; 1659 Danish; 1664 British; 1665 Dutch; 1782 British; 1785 Dutch (in exchanging with Sekondi); 1868 British
Anashan also Ingenisian, Anschiang, Anikam same name as Coast village 1663 British branch
Fort William (Fort Charles) Anomabu historic Annamaboe 1640 Dutch branch; 1652/53 Swedish; 1657 Danish; April 1659 Dutch; 1659 English; 1663 Dutch, Mai 1664 British, later abandoned, from 1680  British branch again und build to a Fort; from 1744–1753 France and British branch; 1753 eviction of the French (caused by British) by the natives
 ? half a hour footpath east of Anomabu in the year 1839: the ruin of a former Dutch Forte
Fort Dom Pedro Anashan 1640, British; 1683–1690 Portuguese (after they left Christiansborg)
Fort William Adja (Adra) 1657 Swedish; 1660 Danish; from Mai 1664 Dutch; from Mai 1664 British; later Dutch again; 1674 British
Egya Egya 1640–1644 and from 1663 British branch
Fort Amsterdam Kormantse historic Kormantin 1631 British; 1644 Dutch; 1638 British again; 1645 - 1663 British; 1663 Dutch; 1782 British, however 1783 abandoned 1785 Dutch; June/July 1807 occupied by Ashanti (The Dutch stayed); 1811 conquered by local Anomabu and destroyed; 1868 British
Amoku Ankaful close to Saltpond 1786–1801 French branch
Fort Tantum Tantum historic Tantumquerry 1662 British base; 1724 developed as a fort; 1820 abandoned; 1843 build again, later abandoned
Fort Patience or Fort Leydsamheid also Vestung de la patience Apam 1697 Dutch; 1782 British; 1785 Dutch; 1811 harried by the local Akim and destroyed; later build up again by the Dutch; 1868 British
Winneba Winneba historic Tumpa from 1632 a British branch; later (1644) abandoned again; 1694 Fort; 1812 abandoned by  British und burst open
 ? Sanje (half  a day from Winneba) in the year 1839 a ruin of a Dutch Fortes
Fort Goedehoop Senya Beraku (Klein-Beraku) 1663 Dutch; 1704 British; 1706 Dutch; 1782 British; 1785 Dutch (in exchange to Sekondi); 1872 British
Shido Shido in 1690 a British branch
Fort James Accra (Klein Accra) 1672 British
Fort Crevecouer (Ussher Fort) Accra (Klein Accra) 1642 Dutch branch; 18. April 1782 occupied by the British an destroyed; 1785 builded up by Dutch again; 1816ff. temporarily abandoned; 1868 renamed by the British into Fort Ussher
Christiansborg (port. Fort Cará) today Osu Castle (Osu, Ossu,Ursue) 1558 Portuguese lodge; 1576 destroyed by natives; 1580 French; 1583 Portuguese, later abandoned again; 1650 Swedish; 1652 build to a fort by the Swedish; 1658 Danish; 1659 Dutch; 1661 Danish (after official buying from Portugal); 1679–1683 Portuguese (the Danish commander sold the fort to the Portuguese again); 1683 under control of the local Akwamu; afterwards Danish, 1693–1694 again occupied by locals; 1694 Danish; 1850 British
Tema Tema small Dutch fort, 1779/81 abandoned; 1783 Danish
Ponny Ponny small Dutch fort, 1779/81 abandoned; 1783 Danish
Fort Augustenborg Teshie historical Tessing 1656 Danish branch; until 1781 Dutch; from 1781 Danish again; from 1787 extended; 1850 British
Fort Vernon Prampram local name Gbugbla 1740 British branch; later destroyed by the Danes; before 1783 felled into ruin; 1806 new developed by British, but because of bad material a ruin again in 1811; around  1820 abandoned; 1831 occupied by British; 1844 abandoned; later only ruins to see
Fort Fredensborg Ningo close to Keta the Danish fort starts in 1734 (1741 finished); 1850 British ruin; today a ruin at the beach
Aflahu Aflahu 1787 Danish branch
Way (Wey) a 1757 danish branch; was left before 1783  
Lay Lay some time before 1783 British branch and abandoned
Tuberku Tuberku (on the continent) 1775 Dutch branch
Fort Kongensteen Ada (on the Ada-Island in the Volta river close to Tuberku) in 16. century Portuguese branch; 1650 Danish base; 15. October 1783 cornerstone ceremony for a Danish fort; 1811 von Ashanti conquered; 1850 British
Wute (Fouthe) Wute (behind Lay) in the year 1783 a ruin of a Danish branch to be seen
Fort Prinzenstein (Singelenburght) Keta on the east bank of the Volta river 1714 Danish base; later  abandoned; 1734 occupied by Dutch again; 1737 assaulted by Dahomey and burst open by Dutch, 22. June 1784 cornerstone ceremony for a  Danish fort, 1850 British; a prison since the 1980th
Fort Kumasi Kumasi 1896 build by the British, restored
Tuberreko Tubereko (an island in the mouth of the Volta river) 1780er/1790er Danish branch

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