Cape Coast Castle is an European built castle located in Cape Coast, in the Central region of Ghana; and is one of the most visited castles in Ghana. It was originally built by the Swedes for trade in timber and gold, but was later used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The first lodge established on the present site of the Cape Coast Castle was built by Hendrik Caerloff for the Swedish African company. It was first converted into a castle by the Dutch in 1637 and expanded by the Swedes in 1652; changing hands to the British in 1664. It was initially called Carolusburg; named after King Charles X of Sweden.
One of the most well-known parts of the Cape Coast Castle that you can visit is the “Door of no return” which led slaves out of the castle and onto the ships setting off on the voyage to slavery through the infamous Middle passage. As many as 1,500 slaves were held in the dungeons of the castle at any one time. It even housed slaves from as far as Burkina Faso and Niger.
The castle was involved in a power struggle and seized back and forth between the Danish, Dutch and Swedes in the 1600s. In 1757, the French attacked it and badly damaged it leading to a complete reconstruction of the castle by the British, resulting in tens of thousands of bricks being imported from England in 1797.
After the abolishment of the trans-Atlantic trade in 1807, the castle served as the head of the English administration of the Gold Coast until 1877, when the colonial government moved its headquarters to Chritsianborg in Accra.