While staying a few months in Lomé, Togo, I made a sidetrip to Ghana for 4 days. By far the most impressive sight during this visit was for sure the Elmina slave fortress, not in the least because it is a reminder of the shameful presence of my fellow Dutchmen there in history. Although built by the Portugues, it was under Dutch supervisors that Elmina gained importance as a slave shipping centre.
From outside, the fortress has a nice, white look and you almost are tempted to believe you are entering a very pictoresque place. Until you study its history. Here, African men and women were assembled by force from the inlands of the West African coast, before being shipped to plantations in the Americas. People were squeezed into too small rooms, where they had to wait too long before boarding one of the ships waiting outside. In the fortress, maps of the ships can be seen where the most economical way is drawn to put as many people as possible inside the ships.
During the trips, because of the hardships of the voyage, an important part of the slaves died, thus rendering only the strongest and reliable ones upon arrival. While walking around the fortress and listening to the explanations given by my guide, I tried to imagine how people must have felt there. Despite the hot climate, cold shivers ran down my spine upon seeing this organized way of robbing people of their freedom and tearing them apart from their homeland, their families, their culture.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Elmina slave castle (Ghana). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Elmina slave castle. Read more about this site.