Elmina, is a town in the Central Region, situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, about 12 km west of Cape Coast. The first European settlement in West Africa, it now has a population of around 20,000 people.
The town grew around São Jorge da Mina Castle, built by the Portuguese Diogo de Azambuja in 1482 on the site of a town or village called Amankwakurom or Amankwa. It was Portugal’s West African headquarters for trade and exploitation of African wealth. The original Portuguese interest was gold but this later expanded to include tens of thousands of slaves channeled through the trading post of Elmina. The location of Elmina made it a significant site for reprovisioning ships headed south towards the Cape of Good Hope on their way to India. The Dutch West India Company captured it in 1637; in subsequent centuries it was mostly used for the slave trade. The British attacked the city in 1782, but it remained in Dutch hands until 1872, when it was sold to the English.
Elmina is also home to Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill, built by the Dutch in 1666, several Asafo shrines and a lagoon. Today, Elmina’s main industry is fishing.
Elmina in the 21st Century
Beginning in 2003, the city of Elmina, along with the Ghanaian government and foreign investors, began The Elmina Strategy 2015, a massive project to improve many aspects of the city, consisting of water drainage and waste management helping to improve the health of the citizens, repairing the fishing industry and harbor of within Elmina, tourism and economic development, improved health services, and improved educational services.