Elmina

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Elmina
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Elmina
Location of Elmina in Central Region, South Ghana
Coordinates: 5°05′N1°21′W / 5.083°N 1.350°W / 5.083; -1.350
Country Ghana
Region Central Region
District Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abirem Municipal District
Population
 (2013)
  Total33,576 [1]
Time zone GMT
  Summer (DST) GMT

Elmina, also known as Edina by the local Fante, is a town and the capital of the Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abirem District on the south coast of Ghana in the Central Region, [2] situated on a bay on the Atlantic Ocean, 12 kilometres (7+12 miles) west of Cape Coast. Elmina was the first European settlement in West Africa and it has a population of 33,576 people. [1]

Contents

History

Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, the town was called Anomansah ("perpetual" or "inexhaustable drink") from its position on the peninsula between the Benya lagoon and the sea. [3]

In 1478 (during the War of the Castilian Succession), a Castilian armada of 35 caravels and a Portuguese fleet fought a large naval battle near Elmina for the control of the Guinea trade (gold, slaves, ivory and melegueta pepper). The war ended with a Portuguese naval victory, followed by the official recognition by the Catholic Monarchs of Portuguese sovereignty over most of the West African territories in dispute embodied in the Treaty of Alcáçovas, 1479. [4] [5] This was the first colonial war among European powers. Many more would come.

The town grew around São Jorge da Mina Castle, built by the Portuguese Diogo de Azambuja in 1482 on the site of a town or village called Amankwakurom or Amankwa. It was Portugal's West African headquarters for trade and exploitation of African wealth. The original Portuguese interest was gold, with 8,000 ounces shipped to Lisbon from 1487 to 1489, 22,500 ounces from 1494 to 1496, and 26,000 ounces by the start of the sixteenth century. [6]

Later the port expanded to include tens of thousands of slaves channeled through the trading post of Elmina, ten to twelve thousand from 1500-35 alone. By 1479, the Portuguese were transporting slaves from as far away as Benin, who accounted for 10 percent of the trade in Elmina, and were used to clear land for tillage. [6] :23–24

Dutch troops on the shore who have landed are shown battling with natives to take the local fort AMH-7708-NA View of the fort and the roadstead at Elmina.jpg
Dutch troops on the shore who have landed are shown battling with natives to take the local fort

The location of Elmina made it a significant site for re-provisioning ships headed south towards the Cape of Good Hope on their way to India. After years of Portuguese commerce on the Elmina Coast, the Dutch learned of the profitable activity taking place through Barent Eriksz of Medemblik, one of the earliest traders and Guinea navigators. Ericksz learned about trading on the Elmina coast while he was a prisoner on Principe and subsequently became a major resource to the Dutch in terms of providing geographical and trading information. [7] The Dutch West India Company captured Elmina in 1637; in subsequent centuries it was mostly used as a hub for the slave trade. The British attacked the city in 1782, but it remained in Dutch hands until 1872, when the Dutch Gold Coast was sold to the British. The king of Ashanti, claiming to be suzerain, objected to the transfer, and initiated the third Anglo-Ashanti war of 1873–1874. [8]

Elmina is also home to Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill, built by the Portuguese in 1555 under the name Forte de Santiago; it was used for commerce. In 1637 it was conquered and renamed by the Dutch, after they captured Elmina's main castle. Today, Elmina's main economic industry is fishing, salt production and tourism. Elmina Castle is very close to Cape Coast Castle, another historic fortress notable for its role in transatlantic slave trade.

Economy

Beginning in 2003, Elmina, along with foreign investors, began The Elmina Strategy 2015, a massive project to improve many aspects of the town, consisting of water drainage and waste management helping to improve the health of the citizens, repairing the fishing industry and harbour of within Elmina, tourism and economic development, improved health services, and improved educational services. [9]

Climate

Climate data for Elmina
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)30.8
(87.4)
31.4
(88.5)
31.8
(89.2)
31.5
(88.7)
30.6
(87.1)
28.7
(83.7)
27.4
(81.3)
26.9
(80.4)
27.9
(82.2)
29.5
(85.1)
30.8
(87.4)
30.9
(87.6)
29.9
(85.8)
Average low °C (°F)22.7
(72.9)
23.5
(74.3)
23.8
(74.8)
23.8
(74.8)
23.7
(74.7)
23.1
(73.6)
22.3
(72.1)
21.8
(71.2)
22.5
(72.5)
22.9
(73.2)
22.7
(72.9)
22.8
(73.0)
23.0
(73.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches)25
(1.0)
36
(1.4)
84
(3.3)
103
(4.1)
203
(8.0)
325
(12.8)
102
(4.0)
42
(1.7)
55
(2.2)
116
(4.6)
84
(3.3)
30
(1.2)
201
(7.9)
Source: Climate-Data.org [10]

Tourism

Apart from Elmina Castle and Fort Coenraadsburg, the main tourist attractions in Elmina include the Dutch Cemetery and the Elmina Java Museum.

St. George Castle, Elmina, Ghana.JPG
Elmina Castle (St. George of the Mine Castle)
Elmina Fishing.JPG

Sister cities

List of sister cities of Elmina, designated by Sister Cities International:

Country City County / District / Region / State Date
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Flag of Gouda.svg Gouda Flag Zuid-Holland.svg South Holland
Flag of the United States.svg United States Macon Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia

Festival

Elmina is home to the annual Bakatue Festival, a celebration of the sea and the local fishing culture, held on the first Tuesday of July each year. [11]

Bakatue translated means "the opening of the lagoon" or the "draining of the Lagoon". It is celebrated to commemorate the founding of the town, Elmina by the Europeans. It is also celebrated to invoke the deity, Nana Benya's continuous protection of the state and its people.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Treaty of Alcáçovas

The Treaty of Alcáçovas was signed on 4 September 1479 between the Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon on one side and Afonso V and his son, Prince John of Portugal, on the other side. It put an end to the War of the Castilian Succession, which ended with a victory of the Castilians on land and a Portuguese victory on the sea. The four peace treaties signed at Alcáçovas reflected that outcome: Isabella was recognized as Queen of Castile while Portugal reached hegemony in the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Coast City in Central Region, Ghana

Cape Coast is a city, fishing port, and the capital of Cape Coast Metropolitan District and Central Region of south Ghana. One of the country's most historic cities, it is the location of Cape Coast Castle, a World Heritage Site, with the Gulf of Guinea situated to its south. According to the 2010 census, Cape Coast had a settlement population of 169,894 people. The language of the people of Cape Coast is Fante.

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Fante people Ethnic group in Ghana

The Mfantsefo or Fante are an Akan people. The Fante people are mainly located in the central coastal regions of Ghana. Over the last half centuries due to fishing expeditions, Fante communities are found as far as Gambia, Liberia and even Angola. Like all Akans, they originated from Bono state. Originally, "Fante" referred to "the half that left" and initially settled at Mankessim. Some of the states that make up the Fante are Agona, Kurantsi, Abura, Anyan, Ekumfi, Nkusukum, Ajumako and Gomoa. The Fante, like other related Akans, trace their roots to the ancient Sahara in the Old Ghana Empire. The Fante then migrated south to modern day Techiman in the Brong Ahafo region. It was from here that, legend say, their three great Leaders, Oson, Odapagyan and Obrumankoma led them south and separated from other Akans, to Mankessim.

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Guinea (region)

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Elmina Castle Fort and former trading post in Elmina, Ghana

Elmina Castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 as Castelo de São Jorge da Mina, also known as Castelo da Mina or simply Mina, in present-day Elmina, Ghana. It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, and the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, after an unsuccessful attempt to the same extent in 1596, and took over all of the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814. In 1872, the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of Great Britain.

Diogo de Azambuja Portuguese explorer

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Dutch Gold Coast Dutch possession in Western Africa between 1598-1872

The Dutch Gold Coast or Dutch Guinea, officially Dutch possessions on the Coast of Guinea was a portion of contemporary Ghana that was gradually colonized by the Dutch, beginning in 1612. The Dutch began trading in the area around 1598, joining the Portuguese which had a trading post there since the late 1400s. Eventually, the Dutch Gold Coast became the most important Dutch colony in West Africa after Fort Elmina was captured from the Portuguese in 1637, but fell into disarray after the abolition of the slave trade in the early 19th century. On 6 April 1872, the Dutch Gold Coast was, in accordance with the Anglo-Dutch Treaties of 1870–71, ceded to the United Kingdom.

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Battle of Guinea

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Fort Coenraadsburg

Fort Coenraadsburg or Conraadsburg, also Fort São Tiago da Mina, is a small Portuguese chapel built in honor of Saint Jago and it is situated opposite the Elmina Castle in the Central region of Ghana, to protect Fort Elmina from attacks.

The Bakatue Festival is celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana. The festival, established at least as far back as 1847, is celebrated on the first Tuesday in the month of July every year.

Jan Niezer (1756–1822) was a famous and influential Afro-European trader in the Dutch Gold Coast. In his day and age, he was the richest Mulatto trader on the Gold Coast. Furthermore, Niezer was an important political figure during the Ashanti wars of the early 19th century. His most important trade interest was the Atlantic slave trade, until it was abolished by the Netherlands in 1814.

The Dutch–Ahanta War was a conflict between the Netherlands and the Ahanta between 1837 and 1839. Beginning with a mere economic dispute between the Ahanta and the Dutch, who were based at the Dutch Gold Coast, the conflict ended with the hanging of Ahanta king Badu Bonsu II and the reorganization of the Ahanta state, establishing a Dutch protectorate over the Ahanta.

References

Citations

  1. 1 2 "World Gazetteer online". World-gazetteer.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012.
  2. "Church of Pentecost builds police station for Abrem Agona". Graphic Online. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  3. Ampene, Kwame. "National Commission On Culture". www.ghanaculture.gov.gh. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. Historian Malyn Newitt: "However, in 1478 the Portuguese surprised thirty-five Castilian ships returning from Mina [Guinea] and seized them and all their gold. Another...Castilian voyage to Mina, that of Eustache de la Fosse, was intercepted ... in 780. (...) All things considered, it is not surprising that the Portuguese emerged victorious from this first maritime colonial war. They were far better organised than the Castilians, were able to raise money for the preparation and supply of their fleets, and had clear central direction from ... [Prince] John." In A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400–1668, New York: Routledge, 2014, pp. 39, 40.
  5. Bailey W. Diffie and George D. Winius: "In a war in which the Castilians were victorious on land and the Portuguese at sea, …" in Foundations of the Portuguese Empire 1415-1580, volume I, University of Minnesota Press, 1985, p. 152.
  6. 1 2 Ivor Wilks (1997). "Wangara, Akan, and Portuguese in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries". In Bakewell, Peter (ed.). Mines of Silver and Gold in the Americas. Aldershot: Variorum, Ashgate Publishing Limited. pp. 4–5.
  7. Marees, Pieter. Description and Historical Account of the Gold Kingdom of Guinea. London: The Oxford University Press, 1602. 206–22. Print.
  8. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Elmina". Encyclopædia Britannica . 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 297.
  9. Elminaheritage.com Archived 22 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine . Elminaheritage.com.
  10. "Climate Elmina". Climate-Data.org. 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  11. Expeditions, Ghana. "Edina Bakatue Festival". Festival and events. Retrieved 19 April 2018.

Bibliography

Coordinates: 5°05′N1°21′W / 5.083°N 1.350°W / 5.083; -1.350