It marks 400 years of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade in Ghana. Hence, Africans in the diaspora have taken it upon themselves to “return” to their roots in commemoration of the anniversary.
In this pursuit, the government has reduced visa fees on arrival for “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019”.
Although slavery is one of the things Africans never want to remember, it is, however, important to note and recognize these places where the activities were done.
Here are 7 tourist destinations on slavery for the Year of Return
This was once the hub for the Portuguese colonisers before the city became the capital of British-colonised Ghana in 1877. The British, Dutch, French, Germans, Danes and Swedes all came this way as well. Each of them building their own fort on this corner of Ghana’s capital city.
Today, Jamestown is one of the liveliest areas in Accra. It’s vibrant, smelly and noisy, sound-tracked by the clatter of pans, the babble of radios and the roar of exhausts. Although in a state of decay following years of neglect by subsequent governments, the district is a great place to explore for those seeking to see the remnants of Accra’s colonial past.
2. CapeCoast Castle
‘Cabo Corso,’ meaning ‘short cape’, is the name the Portuguese settled on for the local settlement within which its trade lodge was built in 1555. Its corruption to ‘Cape Coast’ is now the accepted name of the capital of the Central Region of Ghana. The Swedes, led by Krusenstjerna, however, were the initiators of the permanent structure presently known as Cape Coast Castle. They built a fort in 1653 and named it Carlousburg, after King Charles X of Sweden.
It was here that slaves were brought, locked deep in the towns intimidating castle, and then loaded on to vessels heading to the New World.
3. Elmina Castle
Located in Central Region of Ghana, about a 3.5-hour drive along the coast from Accra. It is the oldest European structure in sub-Saharan Africa.
Upon visiting, you will experience the physical history of the slave trade, the impact of which is still felt beyond the shores of Africa today.
Most visitors to Ghana tour Elmina Castle, because of its history as a major trans-Atlantic slave hub. Originally, Elmina Castle was not built for the purpose of holding and trading slaves, but instead as a trading post for gold and other African goods. It is from this trade that the name "Elmina" was derived from the Portuguese name for "Da Costa de el Mina de Ouro" (The Coast of Gold Mines).
4. Christiansborg Castle
Christiansborg Castle (Osu Castle), also known as Fort Christiansborg or simply the Castle, is a 17th-century castle located on the shores of the vibrant township of Osu, in Ghana’s capital Accra, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean‘s Gulf of Guinea.
Its location by the Atlantic Ocean was advantageous for trading purposes. It made it easy for James Lighthouse to identify ships that were arriving at the coast in order to regulate them. Goods were kept and transported into the arriving ships likewise slaves. These slaves were kept in dungeons at the ends of the castle, transporting them through the DOOR OF NO RETURN to the arriving ships.
The castle which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site and some areas around have since 2014 been undergoing archaeological investigations. In 2017, the castle was converted into a Presidential Museum as part of Ghana’s 60th-anniversary legacy project. It is to be a state of the art museum which would house presidential artefacts, presidential papers, waxworks of our presidents and also on display are personal possessions of past leaders like books, artworks and items of clothing to allow us to honour appropriately their memories.
5. Assin Manso Ancestral Slave River Site
Assin Manso Ancestral Slave River Park was one of the largest slave markets for gathering people to sell into slavery during the infamous trans-Atlantic slave trade. It is especially worth seeing as a prelude to viewing Cape Coast slave castle since you will be following the route taken by the ancestors of many African Americans.
It was the final link in the slavery route from northern Ghana and was known to have been the largest slave market for the merchant supplying slaves on the forts and castles on the coast.
6. Fort Prinzenstein
Fort Prinzenstein is a fort located at Keta, Ghana which was used in the slave trade. Many such forts were built in Africa, but Prinzenstein is one of the few that lie east of the Volta River.
It was initially built by Danish traders in 1784 for defensive purposes in a war against the Anlo Ewe and to keep the area safe from other colonial powers.
The Fort significantly played an important part in the slave trade which involved Europeans in West Africa. Aside from the slave trade, the Fort served an active purpose in the trade of imported and exported goods such as gold, ivory in a give-and-take for muskets, brandy, iron rods, textiles, cowries shells etc.
7. Fort William
Fort William is a fort in Anomabu, Central Region, Ghana, originally known as Anomabo Fort and renamed Fort William in the nineteenth century by its then-commander, Brodie Cruickshank, who added one storey to the main building in the days of King William IV. It was built in 1753 by the British after they thwarted a French attempt to establish a fort at the same place.
Fort William became the centre of British slave trading along the Gold Coast until the slave trade was outlawed in 1807.
Anomabu is a popular tourist destination. The well-preserved remains of Fort William can still be seen.