Fort William, Ghana
|Part of British Gold Coast|
|Coordinates||5°10′00″N 1°07′00″W / 5.1667°N 1.1167°W|
Fort William is a fort in Anomabu, Central Region, Ghana, originally known as Anomabo Fort and renamed Fort William in the nineteenth century by its then-commander, Brodie Cruickshank, who added one storey to the main building in the days of King William IV. It was built in 1753 by the British after they thwarted a French attempt to establish a fort at the same place. Two earlier forts had been established at the same site, one in 1640 by the Dutch, another in 1674 (Fort Charles) by the English. Fort Charles was abandoned in the late-seventeenth century.
In 1640, the Dutch built the first simple fort in the form of stone nog and brick lodge under the direction of Commander, Arent Jacobsz van der Graeff. In 1653, the Swedes captured the lodge. In 1657, Danish forces took the lodge under Caerloff. In 1659 or 1660, the Dutch recaptured it. When the second Dutch-Anglo war ended in 1667 with the (Treaty of Breda), the British gained a foothold in Anomabo. In 1672 or 1673, the British began building Fort Charles naming it after King Charles II of England on the present-day location of Fort William. An early Anomabo chief, perhaps Eno or Eno Besi, inhabited the Dutch lodge at this time and declared it his palace. The fort was abandoned by the British not long after, in order to concentrate efforts and costs on Fort Carolusburg at Cape Coast.
"Ten Percenters" base
In 1698, the Royal African Company "licensed" ship captains not in its employment upon the payment of a 10% "affiliation fee" to enable them to trade in its areas of monopoly. There followed a flood of "Ten Percenters" trading at British forts, often outnumbering the company's own ships. Anomabu became a popular haunt of "ten percenters" (until their licensing was stopped in 1712), exporting vast numbers of slaves.
In 1717, the Dutch director-general at Elmina, Engelgraaf Roberts, quoting an English captain on Anomabu slave trade exports, stated: "From January 1702 to August 1708 they took to Barbados and Jamaica a total of not less than 30,14 slaves and in this figure are not included transactions made for other ships sailing to such Islands as Nevis, Montserrat, St. Christopher, for the South Sea Company, the New Netherlands and others which would increase the above number considerably, and of which Annemaboe alone could provide about one third."
In 1753, after thwarting a French bid to establish a fort at Anomabu the British began construction "Annamaboe fort" designed by military engineer John Apperly, who became its first governor.
After Apperly's death in 1756, Irishman Richard Brew took over the Governorship of the fort and completed its construction in 1760.
The Anomabu fort became the center of British slave trading along the Gold Coast until the slave trade was outlawed in 1807.
Anomabu is a popular tourist destination. The remains of Fort William can still be seen.
- Fort William (publ. 1861)
- King George IV plaque
- Gold Coast King George VI Memorial Youth Centre
- Fort William - Crest reads "Freedom and Justice"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fort Anomabu.|
- Albert Van Dantzig, Forts and Castles of Ghana, 1980
- Courtnay Micots, “African Coastal Elite Architecture: Cultural Authentication during the Colonial Period in Anomabo, Ghana” (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 2010), 137, 390-393.
- Ghana tourism site
- St. Clair, William (2006). The Grand Slave Emporium: Cape Coast Castle and the British Slave Trade. Profile Books. "Chapter 7: The Fort," pp. 183–201. (Chapter on the Anomabu fort in a book about the nearby Cape Coast Castle.)
- Ghana Slave Forts