Fort Metal Cross: A landmark of Ghana's colonial history and slave trade legacy

Fort Metal Cross

Stories and facts

Fort Metal Cross, originally known as Fort Dixcove, is a historical military structure situated on a promontory in the fishing community of Infuma in Dixcove, located in Ghana's Western Region.

Due to its significant role in the Atlantic slave trade and its representation of European-African trade relations, Fort Metal Cross was designated a World Heritage Site in 1979 as part of the collective Forts and Castles of Volta, Greater Accra, Central, and Western Regions.

The history of Fort Metal Cross intertwines with the colonial ambitions of Brandenburg-Prussia, which commenced the construction of Fort Groß Friedrichsburg about 15 kilometers west of Dixcove in 1683. Although the construction began in the 1680s, it was not completed until the 1690s.

This period was marked by intense rivalries and alliances, exemplified by the two sieges of Fort Metal Cross in 1712 by John Kanu, a local ally of the Prussians. Despite these attacks, the fort remained under British control.

In 1868, the fort was transferred to the Dutch as part of the Anglo-Dutch Gold Coast Treaty, receiving the name Fort Metalen Kruis. However, this Dutch control was short-lived.

On April 6, 1872, the fort, along with the entire Dutch Gold Coast, was transferred back to British control under the Gold Coast Treaty of 1871. Despite this change, the fort retained its Dutch name, which was translated to Fort Metal Cross.

Renowned author Bosman dubbed the fort ‘the fake mint of the Gold Coast’ because the gold mined in the region was often impure, dashing hopes of a gold rush. Besides its role in the slave trade as a prison, Fort Metal Cross also served as a vital service station for the supply of timber from nearby forests and the repair of ships.

The Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1867 facilitated an exchange of forts, leading to the Dutch initially gaining control of the fort before selling their interests to the British.

In contemporary times, Fort Metal Cross has served various civic functions, including operating as a police station and a postal station. Currently, it has been leased to a private institution, continuing its legacy as a landmark of historical and cultural significance.



Be the first to leave a comment!