Elmina Castle was erected by Portuguese in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine) Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, and took over all the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814; in 1872 the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of the British Empire.
Britain granted the Gold Coast its independence in 1957, and control of the castle was transferred to the nation formed out of the colony, present-day Ghana. Today Elmina Castle is a popular historical site, and was a major filming location for Werner Herzog's 1987 drama film Cobra Verde. The castle is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Welcome to Africa, AKA the motherland! Check out African Internet Radio while you're scoping the panoramas.The earliest fossil of the homo sapiens family (human beings) was found in Ethiopia, dating back more than 200,000 years. Compared to this length of time, even the "ancient Sumerians" from 6000 B.C. are drooling toddlers.Let's mention a few African heroes you may have heard of, for inspiration in the face of the continued economic inequality and violence which plague Africa today: Nelson Mandela, first democratically elected President of South Africa, who fought against apartheid and served 27 years in prison while advocating freedom and peace. Haile Salassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, who resisted Mussolini and the fascist Italian invasion of WWII, and who is worshipped as an incarnation of God by the Rastafari movement. Kwame Nkrumah, first Prime Minister of Ghana, advocate of uniting Africa in Pan-Africanism. Fela Kuti, inventor of Afrobeat music, who declared his home to be an independent state, ran for president of Nigeria, and to whose funeral ONE MILLION PEOPLE came to pay their respects.In June 2001 the African Union was formed, consisting of 53 African States organized, like in the EU, around common economic and political development.Text by Steve Smith.