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1482 Elmina Castle also St. George El Mina Castle;
( in Portuguese Castelo de São Jorge
de Mina) was built by the Portuguese as the
first trading post in the Gulf of Guinea at
present-day Elmina, Ghana.
construction was the result of an expedition commanded
by the King Afonso V of Portugal and led by Diogo
de Azambuja, who departed from Lisbon on December
12, 1481, with eleven ships and 700 men. Diogo de
Azambuja remained as captain of the fort (controlling
the area around it) until 1484. The main interest
of the Portuguese was to gain control over the gold
trade of Mina.
the rise of the Atlantic slave trade the fort gained
importance as a depot where slaves were held captive
before being transported to the New World. In 1637
the fort was taken over by the Dutch, who made it
the capital (also called Fort Conraadsburg, Fort de
Veer, Fort Java, Fort Scomarus, and Fort Naglas) of
Dutch Guinea. In 1872 it was taken by the British.
is reported as the oldest existent European
building south of the Sahara. The present-day castle
is a mixture of Portuguese and Dutch styles. The
castle is recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage
Monument. It was extensively restored by the Ghanean
Government in the 1990s. Other Slave Castles include
Cape Coast Castle and Castle Saint Jago.