Fort San Sebastian, Shama  (1526)

In an area known as Shama, on the coast of Ghana’s Western Region, lies Ghana’s third oldest fortification. Fort San Sebastian is a historical architectural delight, reflecting the distinctive styles and preferences of both its Portuguese and Dutch sculpturing. Fort San Sebastian was built by the Portuguese from 1520 to 1526. Its original purpose was to serve as a deterrent to English sailors interfering in Shama trade.

Fort San Sebastian has been described as a small-scale copy of St. George’s Castle , and the fort received a mention in Di Castaldi’s Venetian map of 1564. However, when the Dutch took over the fort in 1638, San Sebastian was a ruin.

Major Dutch renovation works in between 1640 and 1643 substantially expanded the initial structural form. Later Dutch West Indian records reveal some trade in gold and slaves at the fort, but by 1705, the Dutch West India Company’s official opinion was that although the fort served as a source of fuel wood and water, there was no trade activity. Fort San Sebastian was ceded to the British in 1872.

Rehabilitated in 1957, the fort is presently used as a post office and magistrate’s court. It also serves as offices for the Electoral Commission.

The fort’s opening hours are 9:00am to 4:30pm.

Entrance fees are as follows:

Visitor Category Entrance Fee*
Pupils from Primary to JHS 3 GH¢  0.50
SHS Students GH¢ 1.00
Tertiary Students with ID GH¢ 2.00
Ghanaian Adults GH¢ 5.00
Foreign Children USD  2.00 or its equivalent in Ghana cedis
Foreign Students with ID USD  7.00 or its equivalent in Ghana cedis
Adult Foreigners USD  10.00 or its equivalent in Ghana cedis

*Entrance fees were reviewed in February 2013

Contact Details:

Central and Western Regions
Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast
Tel +233-3321 32529

Source: Anquandah, Kwesi J., Castles and Forts of Ghana, 1999, page 67.

Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) || All Rights Reserved.