Forts and Castles in Ghana: Ussher Fort
The Ussher Fort is one of the oldest Forts in Ghana and West Africa, built in the year 1649 by the Dutch. The Fort was constructed in Accra as Fort Crevecaur. The purpose was to serve as a shelter for the Dutch traders who came to the Gold Coast to trade in the slave business which was booming at the time.
Initially built in 1642, the building served as a small factory until it was renovated and converted into a Fort in 1649 by the Dutch West Indian Company.
While the Fort was not as imposing and important as the Osu and Elmina Castle, it played a significant role in the pre-colonial trade between the indigenous people and the Europeans.
In the 1800s, the Fort was renamed after the then British administrator of the Gold Coast, Herbert Taylor Ussher. During the 1800, the Dutch were long gone, and the whole Gold Coast was under the rule and authority of the British government.
In recent times, the European Commission and UNESCO have provided funds for the renovation and restoration of the Fort in a bid to convert it into a museum and tourist site. This initiative resulted in the establishment of a museum within the Fort in 2007. Historical artefacts such as paintings depicting slavery, drinking cups made of clay, grinding stones and portraits of those who fought for the abolishing of the slave trade are found in the museum and available for public viewing.
Ussher Fort receives thousands of tourists every year, especially from Europe and the Americas. Most of these tourists are usually African Americans who return to Ghana to see these Forts that once held their ancestors captives as centre of the dreaded Slave trade. The Ussher Fort remains one of the only 11 remaining Forts still in good shape and serving as tourist destinations.