Fort Amsterdam is a tourist attraction in Ghana. It is located at Abandze, on the north-east of Cape Coast in the Mfantseman District of the Central Region. A fort simply means a trading place. This fort’s form of trading was selling of slaves. So, it is now recalled as a former slave fort. It was built by the English between 1638 and 1645 as Fort Cormantin or Fort Courmantyne, and was captured by admiral Michiel de Ruyter of the Dutch West India Company in 1665, in retaliation for the capture of several Dutch forts by the Dutch West India Company in 1664. It was subsequently made part of the Dutch Gold Coast and remained part of it until the fort was traded with the British in 1868.
In 1782, Captain Thomas Shirley in the 50-gun ship Leander and the sloop-of-war Alligator sailed to the Dutch Gold Coast. This was during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War in which Britain was at war with The Netherlands. Shirley captured the small Dutch forts at Moree (Fort Nassau – 20 guns), Kormantin (Courmantyne – 32 guns), Apam (Fort Lijdzaamheid or Fort Patience – 22 guns), Senya Beraku (Fort Goede Hoop – 18 guns), and Accra (Fort Crevecoeur or Ussher Fort – 32 guns).
In 1811, the people of Anomabo, who happened to be allies of the British attacked the fort, leaving it in ruins. It was unoccupied from then until its restoration in 1951 by the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board. The town of Abandze has grown around the site of the fort today. With a population of about 3,932.
It had a rectangular outline with two square and two round bastions at the corners. They were linked by curtain walls. There was a central courtyard. Arranged around it were a one-storeyed building on the west side, a two-storeyed building along the north side and a line of two or three storeyed buildings on the south side.
The curtain and bastion on the north were solidly built, while the others were constructed with an earth filling between two walls of stone laid in mortar. The result as cracks and disintegration at the time it was left unoccupied. The bastion on the southeast, which was designed to be hollow, had a grated ventilation in the roof, and was in addition used as a slave prison. It is believed to have been the first of its kind in the Gold Coast. Slaves taken from this fort were said to have been named “Coromantese’ or “Cormantins”.
Fort Amsterdam is a cool and historic place to visit, its environment depicts the culture of the people living there. The is near the sea which gives it a cool breeze during the day and at night. The fort has nice hotels, motels and guest houses around its geographical area. Some of these places are Jackson Guest House, BirdRock Hotel, San Marco Hotel & Casino etc.
I believe Tourism in Ghana has a long way to go when given serious and unique attention by the Government and the people of Ghana. Long live Ghana.