Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Axim, Ghana to Kakum National Park, January 30, 2019

We had an 8 am start and our first stop was at San Antonio Fort in Axim, which was built by the Portuguese in 1503-1515.  The Portuguese came for gold and ended up trading in slaves when the gold ran out.  Around 1642, the Dutch attacked and took over, continuing in the slave trade-

They used a tunnel and chained the slaves together to make them walk out to the second island to get on the boat.  Many died in the tunnel-

There were different dungeons for the slaves.  Men were classed as humble, aggressive or stubborn.  They were packed like sardines into the windowless rooms.  Many died there too. The British arrived in 1871 and slavery stopped the next year.  

We carried on to Elmira to visit Saint George's Castle.  It's a UNESCO World Heritage site as are all the fourty some castles and forts along the Ghanian coast.  It too was built by the Portuguese in 1492 and captured by the Dutch in 1637 and expanded when slaves replaced gold as the number one export.  Gold storerooms were converted into dungeons.  16 million slaves, between 1452 and 1807, were captured.  Many died in the castle's cells and on the boats that sometimes took up to 3 months to cross to the Americas.  40% of all slaves were sold by the Portuguese and most went to Brazil.  In the 1780's, 80,000 new slaves arrived in America-

A view of most of the prison-

Slaves that were disobedient were locked in this windowless cell and left to die-

There are 2 churches in the castle:  one is Dutch and the other is Portuguese-

The hidden staircase was used when the governor chose a female slave for sex.  She would go up to the governor's quarters this way.  Babies born were half white and those women were not sent to America as slaves but allowed to stay in Africa-

Chains and cuffs-

Spoons were used to measure gold-

The door of no return-

Views from the top of the castle-

It's a bit hard to see the Canadian flag on this boat-

There's a sundial at the front entrance-

After, we headed north to Kakum National Park for the night and in the morning we'll do the canopy walk!  

P.S.  Glad I'm not here-

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