Jul 13

Elmina: The Roots of black America.


Elmina one of the most important cities in Ghana, particularly because of its roots and connection to the transatlantic slave trade that existed in Africa between the 16th to the 19th century.

Elmina is a town in the Central Region of Ghana, west of Accra (The capital of Ghana). The town is predominantly a fishing hub, with a thriving business environment and a vibrant atmosphere. The small fishing town of Elmina is a lovely stop-off along Cape Coast steeped in history, famous for the colonial fort built by the Portuguese in 1482.

European powers fought for control of this area or important city because of its important location for trade, most particularly slave trade, The city became a final site for many thousands of Africans from mostly present-day Ghana and other neighbouring territories would see of their homeland, and for others, it would also be the last place they would see entirely.

30,000 slaves passed through Elmina each year on their route to America at the height of the trade. This went on for approximately 300 years under deplorable conditions.


The First White Men – The first white men to settle in Elmina were the Portuguese, they reached Elmina in 1471, during King Afonso V’s reign, after fifty years of coastal exploration. Because Portuguese rulers had lost interest in African exploration due to low profits, the Guinea trade was placed under the supervision of a Portuguese trader named Ferno Gomes. Gomes discovered a booming gold trade among the natives and visited Arab and Berber traders when he arrived at modern-day Elmina.

The slaves were taken from the dungeons onto boats waiting for them in the sea then onto larger cargo ships to be ferried over to America  -AP

By the late nineteenth century, the British had taken over most of the forts along the coast through conquest or purchase. The British will continue to rule the Gold Coast, which Elimna is a part of until independence on March 6, 1957. The British reaction to the Asante wars and the resulting instability and disruption of trade and Britain’s increasing preoccupation with the suppression and abolition of the slave trade laid the groundwork for British rule and the eventual establishment of a colony on the Gold Coast.

Significance to the Americans 

Elmina Castle saw several owners during the slave trade, including the Portuguese, Dutch, and English. By the 18th century, 30,000 slaves on their way to America passed through Elmina each year. 

American rapper and movie icon Ludacris paid a visit to the Elmina Castle – Year of Return 

Ghana was a  very significant country when it comes to slave trading along the West African coast, it was not by mistake that the country organized a year of return program which among others invited black people from all over the world, to witness where they came from and also formulate a connection between them and their ancestors. 


Elmina Castle 

Elmina Castle is preserved as a Ghanaian national monument, and it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. It is a tourist attraction for many African Americans looking to reconnect with their long-lost lineage.

There are customized tours such as the Historical Tour of Ghana which includes a tour of Elmina Castle. Ghana is a beautiful place to visit and has lots of history for the African American community.

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