The coast of Elmina was inhabited by the Fantes who shared some uncertain relationship with the Akans. Their ancestors were miners and merchants who traded gold into the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. During those times, the people were ruled by Kings who had their land areas demarcated by kingship lines. The Elmina kingdom lay between the Fetu and Eguafo kingdoms.
There were rumors in Europe about African lands believed to be fertile and rich in gold and ivory. In 1418, Prince Henry who was known as the main initiator in the ages of discovery sent an exploratory ship to the gulf of Africa to explore the land. In 1471, the Portuguese arrived at Elmina, Gold Coast after 50 years of exploration of the Gulf of Guinea. This arrival made the Portuguese the first to arrive on the Gold Coast. The return the Portuguese royalty was making on the trades was meager and hence handed over to Fernão Gomes to oversee. Gomes upon arrival in Elmina found out that there was a gold trade already in existence. He built a trading opportunity with the natives. As the trade grows, news began to spread around other neighboring European countries.
A newly-crowned Portuguese king, João II, in an attempt to protect the trade, decided to build a fort. The king sent a fleet of ships, under the command of Azambuja, carrying all the logistics from foundational stones to tiles and roofing materials to the Elmina coast to begin the construction. Upon arrival, Azambuja took steps to involve the chief of the people to enable the project to run smoothly. However, they suffered rejection and rebellion from the people who disagreed with the idea of permanent settlement. It took gifts and the promise to protect the land from neighboring chiefs who may want to wage war against them. The building was completed. Trade with the European countries intensify. Gold traded from the Gold Coast account for 10% of the world gold market.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how the World Heritage Site, Elmina Castle was built on the coast.
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