The Ussher Fort, erected by the Dutch in 1649, is one of Ghana’s and West Africa’s oldest forts. The fort was known as Fort Crevecaur when it was built in Accra. The goal was to provide a safe haven for Dutch traders who came to the Gold Coast to participate in the growing slave trade at the time.
Ussher Fort History
Originally constructed in 1642 as a small factory, the structure was restored and transformed into a Fort by the Dutch West Indian Company in 1649. The Dutch West India Company expanded Fort Crèvecoeur in 1649 after it was founded as a modest factory in 1642. It was named after Fort Crèvecour in the Dutch Republic’s’s-Hertogenbosch, which played a key part in the Siege of’s-Hertogenbosch. Henry Caerlof, one of the Dutch delegates, struck up a friendship with the Dey of Fetu, who granted Caerlof permission to build Osu Castle for the Swedish Africa company in 1652.
Fort Crèvecoeur and Fort James were not as imposing or politically significant as Elmina or Cape Coast Castle, which were built 150 kilometers to the west. Despite this, they brought in a lot of money for their owners.
Captain Thomas Shirley, commanding the frigate HMS Leander and the sloop-of-war Alligator, set out for the Dutch Gold Coast with a convoy of merchant ships and transports at the end of 1781. Shirley led an unsuccessful attack on the Dutch stronghold at Elmina on February 17th, which the Dutch repulsed four days later. Britain was at war with the Dutch Republic.
The small Dutch forts of Mouri (Fort Nassau – 20 guns), Kormantine (Courmantyne or Fort Amsterdam – 32 guns), Apam (Fort Lijdzaamheid or Fort Patience – 22 guns), Senya Beraku (Berricoe, Berku, Fort Barracco or Fort Goede Hoop – 18 guns), and Accra (Fort Crèvecoeur – 32 guns) were all captured by Leander and Shirley Shirley had personnel from Cape Coast Castle manning those facilities.
Fort Crèvecur, which is located to the east of the current harbor, was renamed Ussher Fort in honor of Herbert Taylor Ussher, the then-Administrator of the Gold Coast.
Ussher Fort Name Change
The Fort was renamed after Herbert Taylor Ussher, the then-British administrator of the Gold Coast, in the 1800s. The Dutch were long gone by the 1800s, and the British administration ruled and ruled over the entire Gold Coast. During that time the British wanted to take over everything with their own name on every history.
What was the Ussher Fort used for?
Prior to 1993, the fort was used as a jail. During the colonial era, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president and a leading player in the movement for independence, was imprisoned there. Ussher Fort now houses a museum as well as the Monuments Division of the GMMB’s headquarters.
Who built fort Ussher?
The fort was built by the Dutch in 1649 and is located in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
Tourism in Recent Time
The European Commission and UNESCO have recently allocated funds for the Fort’s reconstruction and restoration in order to turn it into a museum and tourist attraction. In 2007, a museum was established within the Fort as a result of this project. Paintings illustrating slavery, clay drinking cups, grinding stones, and portraits of those who battled for the abolition of the slave trade may all be seen in the museum, which is open to the public.
Thousands of tourists visit Ussher Fort each year, mostly from Europe and the Americas. The majority of these visitors are African Americans who have returned to Ghana to view the forts where their forefathers were held captive as part of the horrific slave trade. The Ussher Fort is one of just 11 forts that are still in good condition and are used as tourist attractions.
Ussher Fort is located at 33 Prof.Atta Mills High St, Accra.