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Early Trade Posts And Forts Of West Africa

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Chapter Summary

The first Portuguese forts in Africa can to some extent be seen as the last vestiges of the Crusades and the expansive energy of the Reconquista. During the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries Portuguese expansive energies were increasingly concentrated on voyages southward along the African coast. Coastal Ghana was reached in 1470s, the Cape of Good Hope was rounded in 1488, and the circumnavigation of the globe completed between 1519 and 1522. The early Portuguese trade in West Africa consequently focused on areas such as the Senegambia and modern day Ghana where gold fields and trade routes to the interior were accessible from the coast. São Jorge da Mina (Elmina) in coastal Ghana, founded in 1482, and later outposts at São Tomé, Fort Jesus on the East African coast, and in South Asia were aimed at both securing the African trade and controlling sea routes to Asia.

Keywords: early Portuguese trade; forts; São Jorge da Mina; West Africa



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