History project

The people that lived in Elmina, on the southern cape coast in Africa, are very important to the Atlantic world because they played a huge role in the Atlantic trade and slave trade. the years, it good that many groups took over Elmina because it helped shape Elmina and influenced trade. Elmina means “The Mine.” This is referring to the Gold the Portuguese was searching to find in 1482. When the Portuguese came to take over Elmina, they built the Elmina Castle. Elmina is known for their castle. The Portuguese influenced trade using the castle. In 1637, the Dutch took control. They helped Elmina by building a hill to keep away attackers from sea because attackers were more from the sea than on land. Before the Portuguese came, the Elmina people were organized in different types of ways. They were free, and they traded a little. They were between two large kingdoms. Their family was very important to them. The Elmina people united with the Akan/Ashanti religion. They mostly fished and traded on canoes. It was good that the groups took over because it influenced trade in the Atlantic world.


Because of the different influences and all the diversity of religions, the Elmina people shared their religion with other areas. Their religion was Akan. It was based on the worship of a High God, spirits or deities, and ancestors. Some of the High Gods are Onyame and Onyankopon. The High Gods are the creators. There were many Gods, like Asase Yaa, the goddess of the earth. Their royal ancestors had ritual protection. They “fed” shrines. Some of the shrines were blackened stools made of wood that were kept in the “stool rooms.” The Elmina people sacrificed their blood, gun powder, spider webs, drinks, and their lives. They thought they could communicate with their spirits and deities through prayer, sacrifice, and possession. Each of the spirits or deities had their own priest.

There was little social structure in Elmina because of the different and always culture. The high officials married high officials. The same classes married together. The bride had to come from the Akan religion. The children of families did what their father did, but they were sent to a different place for education. The Elmina people spoke the Elmina language. This is important because it shows that Elmina people developed a way to speak to each and advance in technology and culture.

Item Elmina traded
Item Elmina traded

Elmina also shared art with the Akan religion because of the many groups taking over and the diversity of cultures. Their

major metals were brass, copper, gold, and iron. They used these metals for their tools and other uses. Their most common items were gold weights, spoons, and jewelry. There were blacksmiths that produced swords, knives, agricultural tools, and traps. The agricultural tools included the hoe, knife, axe, digging tools, swords, and the spear. There were items called Kuduo and Forowa that were common. The Forowa was made with brass and used for domestic or personal use. These were both bowl-shaped items. The Kuduo was also made with brass, but it was used for religious purposes. It was used for ritual ceremonies, twin festivals, royal purification, etc. The symbol for it was ground in many jewelry and wood carvings. The gold weights were made from bronze or copper. They served as money. Some of the jewelry you can find there are gold arm bracelets, necklaces, pendants, and crowns. The art social structure and religion are important because it shows the Elmina culture and symbolizes who the Elmina people really were.

external image Elmina_f.jpg
external image Elmina_g.jpg

The Elmina Castle played a very important role in trade, especially slave trade, in Elmina. The Portuguese built the castle, or St. George’s Castle, in Elmina because it was rich in gold and ivory. It was in a great position for trade. Elmina first traded with Liberia, Benin and northern Ghana. In the castle, upper class people lived in the luxury suites. Where the slaves stayed it was cramped and filthy. There were 200 people in one cell, and there was not enough space to lie down. Outbreaks of diseases were common. These compartments were below the luxury suites. Most of these slaves were captured on land, and then were moved to the castle. Half of the slaves did not even make it to the castle. The famous “door of no return” was the door that slaves went through to board the ship to get traded. It was a very dangerous journey. Before being shipped off, they were detained and tortured. A lot died. The slaves were traded for cowrie shells, iron bars, guns, basins, mirrors, knives, linens, silk, beads, textiles, and horses. They did not only trade slaves, they also traded ivory, gold, pepper, redwood, raw materials such as rubber, cotton, clothing, and weapons. 30,000 slaves passed through each year. The castle was heavily armed against attacks from sea. It was not as armed on land. This is because pirate or sea attacks were more likely than land attacks. They built the castle to fend off European competitors and to support the trade networks. The Elmina Castle was very important because it played a big role in trading, and helped shape our world today.

external image ELMINA_C_edited.jpeg
View of Elmina Castle.