The So Jorge da Mina, which translates to “St. George of the Mine,” was one of the camping grounds used by the Portuguese during the slave trade on the Gold Coast, and was founded in 1482. (Ghana). Despite the fact that the fortress was erected by the Portuguese, it was later taken over by the Dutch, who eventually handed it over to the British. Since Ghana’s independence in 1957, the Elmina Castle has been a popular tourist destination. The majority of visitors come to observe one of Africa’s major slave trading centres.
According to legend, the castle was built along the shore to facilitate effective slave trading by serving as a depot for slaves brought in from various West African kingdoms. To ward off any hostile attacks, the Portuguese, Dutch, and British who were effectively involved in the slave trade built a Gun Defense position at Elmina Castle.
The “door of no return,” formerly the Slave Export Gate, which served as the channel or passageway through which slaves were frequently taken, is one of the most remarkable places in Elmina Castle. In most situations, once a person passes through the door of no return, he or she will not return until they reach the exact location to which they are being carried.
The Ghanaian government, in collaboration with the tourism ministry, recognised the need to maintain the structure as a desirable tourist destination, and began renovations in 2006.
Elmina, a fishing village, is thought to be heavily reliant on tourists as a result of the Castle’s presence. It has also acted as a pilgrimage site for many African Americans wanting to reconnect with their long-lost ancestors.
The Castle Interior View of Church, Castle Interior, Castle Male and Female Slave Entrances, and Castle Slave Holding Cell are some of the significant locations at the Elmina Castle. Elmina is about 3 hours by land from Ghana’s capital, Accra, with the castle adjacent to the city centre.
What was Elmina Castle used for?
The goal of Elmina Castle, as well as future outposts, was to provide support to captains by providing a safe harbour for their ships. The outposts were highly equipped in case of a sea attack. Surprisingly, the forts were not heavily armed against inland attacks. It was more likely that a European foe (including pirates) would attack than Africans. Cannons were required to repel attacks from the sea, whereas moderate gunfire was typically sufficient to dissuade an attack from the interior.
Slaves were usually taken inland and transported to the outpost on a long and dangerous journey; half of all captives did not even make it to the coast. Once there, the slaves would wait for a ship to arrive, which could take a long time. Cowrie shells, iron bars, weapons, basins, mirrors, knives, linens, silk, and beads were traded for them.
How many slaves passed through the Elmina Castle?
The Door of No Return, located on the castle’s coastal side, was the famed doorway through which slaves boarded the ships that would transport them on the perilous Middle Passage trek across the Atlantic. 30,000 slaves on their route to North and South America went through Elmina’s Door of No Return each year by the 18th century.
Elmina Castle in Present Days
Tourism and fishing are the mainstays of Elmina’s economy nowadays. Elmina Castle is a Ghanaian national museum and monument that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers daily history tours and is a popular site for African American tourists interested in learning more about their roots.
This is official number for the Elmina Castle:
Ghana Travel Restrictions
Ghana is open to most travelers again. I mean travelers from all over the world. However, you do need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination(s) or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place, and you still have to follow certain guidelines. They are all good for our safety.
Read the ultimate travel guide to Ghana to help you plan your trip.