Fort St. Jago, Elmina (1660s)

A small Portuguese chapel dedicated to Saint Jago, had previously stood where c (also known as Fort Coenraadsburg) now sits on a high hill opposite St. George’s Castle (Elmina Castle), in the Central Region of Ghana. This fort is a good illustration of a people learning from their history.  In 1637, the Dutch installed heavy guns on the hill from where they had barraged the weakest side of Portuguese-controlled St. George’s Castle, forcing its surrender.

To protect St. George’s Castle from attack via similar tactics, the Dutch, by the 1660s, had constructed a permanent fort, which was considered ‘the oldest and purely military architecture of the Gold Coast’ .  Built for purely military reasons, that is, the defence and protection of St. George’s Castle, the fort had only military quarters and no commercial warehouses. Its strongest bastions are trained inland, from where an attack would have most likely emanated.

The fort was always well-garrisoned, and was often employed by the Dutch as a prison for European convicts and as a disciplinary institution for their disobedient officers.  After 1872, its English owners added some alterations such as a second floor to the main building, which allowed the fort to be put to some civilian uses.

The fort has been, in recent history, used as a prison, hospital and rest house.  Currently in fairly good condition, it has been earmarked as an inn and a restaurant.

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

Source: Anquandah, Kwesi J., Castles and Forts of Ghana, 1999, page 62.

Contact Details:

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

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