Standing testament to one of the most appalling events in the world’s history, there are still castles and forts in Ghana that stand as reminders of the brutal slave trade.
Elmina Castle was originally built in 1482 by the Portuguese to be used as a trading post. However, as the demand grew for slaves in the Caribbean and America, the commodity changed to human trade. In fact, Elmina Castle is just one of about twenty hiding places along the coast of Ghana that were used to hold captives waiting to be sent to their final destinations. The castle is empty now, but reminders like the dungeons used as holding areas for the slaves, are all over, clearly showing the horrific history of the building.
Cape Coast Castle
Situated along the oceanfront about 90 miles west of the city of Accra, Cape Coast Castle remains one of the major tourist attractions in Ghana. Originally built by the Swedish for their lumber and mineral exports, this fort was taken over the Dutch and eventually the English, where it became the hub of slave trade for over 150 years. Notorious in the Cape Coast Castle is what is known as the door of no return, which remains open to the Atlantic Ocean, where millions of Africans took the final steps towards their lives of suffering and brutality as slaves far from their homes. Dungeons remain where the thousands of men and women were confined together before being sent through the dark underground tunnels onto the ships.
While these castles are now empty, guided tours bring countless visitors to Ghana through the doors every year. Most of the visitors feel a need to walk and feel what the slaves must have gone through, to try and understand the horror of the slave trade. Re-enactments are often put on for visitors who get to experience the final journey of the millions of slaves as they walked through these dungeons and tunnels until they boarded ships ready to take them to America.