Fort Saint Jago

A small Portuguese chapel dedicated to Saint Jago, had previously stood where c (also known as Fort Coenraadsburg) now sits on a high hill opposite St. George’s Castle (Elmina Castle), in the Central Region of Ghana. This fort is a good illustration of a people learning from their history.  In 1637, the Dutch installed heavy guns on the hill from where they had barraged the weakest side of Portuguese-controlled St. George’s Castle, forcing its surrender. To protect St. George’s Castle from attack via similar tactics, the Dutch, by the 1660s, had constructed a permanent fort, which was considered ‘the oldest and purely military architecture of the Gold Coast’ .  Built for purely military reasons, that is, the defence and protection of St. George’s Castle, the fort had only military quarters and no commercial warehouses. Its strongest bastions are trained inland, from where an attack would have most likely emanated.

The fort was always well-garrisoned, and was often employed by the Dutch as a prison for European convicts and as a disciplinary institution for their disobedient officers.  After 1872, its English owners added some alterations such as a second floor to the main building, which allowed the fort to be put to some civilian uses. The fort has been, in recent history, used as a prison, hospital and rest house.  Currently in fairly good condition, it has been earmarked as an inn and a restaurant.

The fort’s opening hours are 9:00am to 4:30pm.


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