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7. Castles, forts and towns

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the different sources available for the study of the forts and castles, focusing on architectural aspects, the occupation and strength of the forts, the development of the surrounding towns and villages, and maps and drawings. Maintaining the forts and castles was one of the greatest challenges for the Europeans on the Coast of Guinea. The influence of climate and weather necessitated permanent attention to maintenance and demanded regular rebuilding of structures, often with makeshift materials, due to shortages of proper building materials and/or financial resources. In the seventeenth century, the forts' main function was mercantile, but in combination with that of a defensive work against European and African rivals. Information about the development of the town of Elmina is extensive and available in literature and a host of sources in the NBKG archives.

Keywords: Coast of Guinea; Dutch castles; Elmina; European forts; financial resources



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