Much of the history of Ghana West Coast is about heroes, conquerors and conquests.
Very little is known of the people who settled in the area before European presence. However, like most of Ghana, it can be presumed that the early settlers migrated to the area from the north and east of West Africa. In some communities, as in the stilt village of Nzulezo, you will hear detailed stories of how the people migrated to their present site.
Through the instigation of the Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator, the Portuguese landed on Ghana’s shores in the 15th century. Between the 16th and 18th century, the Portuguese, Dutch, Swedes, British and Brandenburg-Prussians scrambled for control of the trade in gold, ivory, spices and slaves. As a result, six forts were built in Ghana West Coast, namely Fort San Antonio (1515), Fort Batenstein (1656), Fort Gross Frederichsburg (1683), Fort Dorothea (1687, now in ruins), Fort Metal Cross (1692) and Fort Apollonia (1768).
With the exception of Fort Metal Cross, all the forts are managed by the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, the legal custodian of Ghana’s material cultural heritage. For a small fee, visitors can have unique guided tours of the forts to find out first-hand about early European-Ghanaian connections.
Local folklore abounds, though much of it remains in oral form. The trained tour guides in each community conduct excellent cultural tours, which reveal different aspects of the community’s history and local leadership. Many historical relics still stand, such as stately homes owned by rich local merchants, churches, schools, early commercial buildings, and so on.