The final exit to their ‘new life’ was deliberately kept narrow and low, to stop slaves from thronging together and making a dash for freedom. As there is no harbour in Elmina, the slaves were taken by canoes to waiting ships for the long and arduous journey to the New World.
The large dungeon was used for transitting the slaves from their penitentiary confinement to the exit door. There were no lights, the dungeons took twists and turns, and the doorways were deliberately kept low in order to disorientate the slaves.
The women were herded out into the courtyard, in order to picked by their male captor for sexual favours – rape in other words. If they refused, they were chained to this cannon ball and left exposed to the elements, the rain and/or the baking sun, for several days without food, drink or sanitation.
The women were separated from the men and about 150 women were kept to each room for up to six weeks. Like their male counterparts, they were given little and poor food, had no facilities and poor sanitation. The first picture shows the original iron bars and the second one the original floor constructed by the Portuguese.
El Mina Castle, also known as St George’s Castle, was built by the Portuguese in 1482 under the command of Don Diego d’Azambuja, and is a very important fortification in terms of history. It is the biggest and the first European building in tropical West Africa. It was captured by the Dutch in 1637, who again sold it to the British in 1872 when they left the country. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
If you make a walk around the town, there are some beautifull views at the town, the lifely lagoon and the Fort St Jago uphill.
Best time for a walk early is in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sun is less burning.
Opposite the castle in the lagoon, it is very lifely with boats, especially when the fishermen return from sea with the catch of the day.
At that time your can stand here for a long time to see what's going on.
Opposite of the entrance of the castle is a lifely fish landing place of Elmina. Here the fishermen bring the catch of the day.
I like it a lot to walk there and have a look at this landing place and the work of the fishermen.
In the courtyard between the two big stairs is a dutch tombstone with an epitaph.
''vanveeremitscadersBewindhebberDerWestIndischeCompagnie ..." died at the 12th march 1758 at the age of 41.
That is what we could read.
The St George's castle has a spacious great courtyard. At the left side of the building are the governor's apartments.
In the middle two broad staircases lead up to a terrace and a loggia for overlooking the court.