Fort St Sebastian in Shama, Ghana


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Fort St Sebastian is situated in Shama in the Western Region of Ghana and was built by the Portuguese between 1520 and 1526 and is one of the oldest forts along the Gold Coast. The original purpose of the fort was to stop English sailors from interfering with Portuguese trade in the Shama area.

The first design of the fort was a small replica of Elmina Castle but when the Dutch took over in 1638, the fort was in ruin so they carried out major renovations during the 1640’s. The fort was used to trade gold and slaves which is reflected in the design of the renovated components of the building. By 1705, however the fort was no longer seen as economically viable and ceased to be active and remained so after it was ceded to the British in 1872.

In 1957 the fort was restored to its current form with the male prison converted into a post office and the rest of the building used for a variety of municipal government functions. The fort is maintained by the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sources for further reading:

Forts and castles of Ghana. Chatsworth, CA: Image Entertainment, 2003.

Dantzig, A. 1999. Forts and castles of Ghana. Accra: Sedco Pub.