Cape Coast is the capital of the Central Region of Ghana and the main city of the Fanti people. The city is located 165 km west of Accra. Cape Coast Castle is one of about forty large commercial forts, built on the Gold Coast of West Africa (now Ghana) by European traders. The original settlement of the castle was a small lodge built by the Portuguese called Cabo Corco. In 1652, it was found abandoned and occupied by the Swedes who in 1657 built Fort Carolusborg, which was used for trade in timber and gold, but later used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Cape Coast Castle has seen many occupations by numerous foreign powers. In 1663, it was captured by the Dutch, then recaptured by the English in 1664 and again improved and enlarged in 1673. In 1681 it was attacked by the people of the town, and subsequently bombarded by the French fleet in 1703 and also in 1757. It was the object of the Anglo-Dutch rivalry and hostilities during that period. Its rebuilding in 1757 was undertaken by the Royal African Company, one of the three principal English trading companies formed to trade in the Gold Coast among others.
Cape Coast Castle, through which millions of slaves were shipped to the Caribbean and the Americas, became the seat of British colonial administration until 1877 when government offices moved to Christiansborg Castle in Accra. The Cape Coast Castle Museum is housed in one of the wings of Cape Coast Castle. Cape Coast is a fascinating town to explore, its relative antiquity reflected not only in an endlessly surprising range of architectural styles spanning three centuries but also in the organic shape of the old town, with roads hugging the curves of low hills.
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