Travel Photography Photos tagged as forts
Our guide here stands by the door of the Cell where condemned slaves who had attempted to escape or committed some other 'crime' were sent to die.
Since the remains of 2 deceased slaves from the diaspora (one Jamaican and one American) were returned through the door to be buried in Ghana, thus breaking the chain of forced immigration and slavery, the door on the other side has been christined the 'Door of Return'.
Once through the Door of No Return, the view that greets the visitor today is the bustling fishing harbour that is now the main industry at Cape Coast
The view that slaves would've seen as they looked back towards the castle just before being shoved through the Door of No Return
The women were separated between 2 smaller dungeons. Women from either dungeon would often be selected by the governor himself or lesser ranking officers and be taken from the dungeon to the officers bed quarters where they would be raped. After the ordeal, they would be returned to the dungeon. Women who fell pregnant by their captors were shown a little more mercy and taken out of the dungeon to live in the town with their newborn child. Children of the officers would often be given their name with the suffix 'son', hence the origins of names such as Williamson, Johnson, Peterson, Jackson etc.
Men were marched from the main dungeon below the chapel along a 200ft corridor which ran underneath the main sea-facing buttress of the castle to join the women at the Door of No Return. To ensure they kept moving and didn't stall, various checkpoint port-holes were installed so that guards could monitor them from the level of the inner quad above.
Whilst the governors and priests of the castle were buried in dignified graves inside the castle's inner quad, any slaves who died either from malnutrition, disease or in the condemned chambers were thrown onto these rocks for the gulls and fish.
The main chapel of Cape Coast Castle was situated directly over the mens dungeon below. The plaque just visible to the left of the main dungeon entrance is to commemorate the visit of Barrack and Michelle Obama to the castle, approximately a week before this photograph was taken. Michelle Obama may have had ancestors who were traded through this castle.
When the sun is not directly shining on the tiny inlets of air and light that supply the entire mens dungeon at Cape Coast Castle, the lack of light is abysmal and depressing.
This photograph gives the viewer a length-view of the mens dunegon below the castle. It consists of 3 main interlinked 'rooms' into which up to 1000 men were crammed at any one time. The line down the centre of the floor was the only toilet and sewerage system supplied. There was no space to lie down and most of the time the slaves had to sit or stand in their own excrement.
A tribute to the hope that led many slaves who were filed through Cape Coast Castle to survive their arduous journey or give up their lives in an attempt to win back their freedom.
One of the 3 chambers of the mens dungeon of Cape Coast Castle. The line down the floor was the sewerage system.
The chalk marks on the wall indicate the level of compacted human excrement that had to be excavated from the main mens dungeon when it was reopened as a tourist site and monument.
This photograph was taken without flash to give a sense of the darkness inside the main chamber of the mens dungeon at Cape Coast. The 3 inlets at the top of the wall are the only source of light and air.
Looking back towards the entrance gives an idea of the light coming through into the dungeon. When slaves were kept here, this light was blocked off too by a door.
We followed our guide down into the main mens dungeon. The floor was very steep and incredibly slippery, worn smooth by the number of people who had walked in. It was very difficult to walk back out this entrance as there are no stairs.
This is the main entrance to the mens dungeon at Cape Coast Castle.
Cape Coast Castle was a very desirable and strategic location for any European power seeking access to the slave trade from West Africa. As the main conduit of slaves traded from the Ashanti, that country which held Cape Coast had the best access to the lucrative trade. As a result, it often came under attack from rival countries who would lay siege to the castle from the sea in an attempt to take it.
A porthole through which guards would keep an eye on the slaves in the corridor below being filed from the dungeon through to the Door of No Return where they would be rowed out to the awaiting ships.