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A timeline

Fort Amsterdam's History

1400
Oral tradition holds that an inland group migrating to the coast established the hilltop town of Kormantin.

Their arrival preceded the Fante Nation, another inland group who would eventually surround them.

1482
The Portuguese build Elmina Castle

20 miles west of Kormantin, they established the first permanent European trading center on the "Gold Coast."

1558
Englishman William Towerson trades textiles and ironware for gold with residents of Kormantin

He also reaches the cities of Mouri, Cape Coast and Winneba, in spite of Portugal’s claim to the whole coast. He was chased away by an arriving armada from Lisbon.

1582
Portugual sends two war galleys to attack a French ship trading at Kormantin

The French ship is hammered by cannon fire which killed or wounded 22 of the crew. The rest of the crew abandoned ship and fled ashore. The captured ship was taken back to Elmina Castle, where it was salvaged for parts.

1590
Dutch trading vessels encroach on Portugal’s gold trade

They barter extensively at Gold Coast villages from Axim to Accra. The small under-supplied garrison at Elmina is nearly powerless to stop them.

1612
The king of Sebou invites Dutch traders to build a permanent trading lodge at Mouri

The small stone fort erected becomes the first Dutch outpost in West Africa.

1618
England’s King James I charters the Guinea Company, a private joint-stock enterprise that gained exclusive trading privileges in West Africa

The Company of Adventurers of London Trading to the Ports of Africa, more commonly known as the Guinea Company, initially concentrated on the redwood trade in Gambia and searching for gold in Sierra Leone.  One of the first English-language descriptions of West Africa, Richard Jobson’s The Golden Trade, published in London…
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1620
War breaks out between the Sebou and the Fante

Dutch soldiers assist the Sebou in battle and raids, creating hostility between them and the Fante.

1621
Dutch West India Company is created

They take over all forts, lodges and trading operations in West Africa. Private Dutch traders are prohibited from trading there.

1625
The Battle of Elmina occurs

A large Dutch army fails to capture the Portuguese castle, thanks largely to a clever ambush that African Elmina warriors staged.

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