James Fort, sometimes referred to as Fort James, is a medieval stronghold situated in the Accra, Ghanaian settlement of Jamestown. The British built it as part of their colonial presence along the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) in the late 17th century.
James, Duke of York, who subsequently rose to become King James II of England, is honored by the fort’s name. Its main function was to protect British interests in the area by acting as a trade post and garrison. The fort had a commanding view of the coastline since it was placed carefully on a rocky promontory overlooking the Gulf of Guinea.
James Fort, which was made of stone and brick, has strong walls, cannons, and other defenses to keep possible attackers at bay. It was a typical fortification of that time in Europe, built to withstand sieges and act as a hub for British commercial interests. Additionally, the fort had a chapel, dwelling quarters for troops and officials, and other amenities required to maintain a colonial presence.
The transatlantic slave trade included James Fort in a big way. Thousands of enslaved Africans who were forcibly transported across the Atlantic to the Americas used it as a key departure point. Because of the fort’s proximity to the coast, slave ships could easily dock and load their human cargo.
Over time, the fort changed hands several times between the British, the Dutch, and the local Ga people. The fort underwent various modifications and expansions as different colonial powers exerted their influence in the region. However, it was predominantly associated with British colonial rule.
James Fort is still standing as a historical site and popular tourist destination in Ghana today. Its well-preserved ruins can be explored, and tourists can stroll along the walls while learning about its history in the slave trade. The fort acts as a memorial to Ghana’s horrific transatlantic slave trade legacy and its complicated colonial past.