The Complex History of Fort Amsterdam
Fort Amsterdam, situated on a hill in Abandze, Ghana, was constructed by the British between 1638 and 1645. It was called “Fort Cormantin”. British built this fort after a disgruntled former employee of the Dutch West India Company, negotiated with the Ambro Braffo, the Chief of the Fanti, for exclusive trading rights and a lease on the grounds. With the lease signed, the British then constructed a lodge to cement the deal and occupy the area.
In 1640, fire destroyed the lodge. After this British rebuilt the fort, heavily fortified, with four bastions and thick walls. During the next decade, the ownership of the fort changed several times. This building survived wars and destructions not just once. Dutch Admiral Michiel Adriaensz De Ruyter captured the fort in 1665 after a ‘long and bloody battle’. He reconstructed the fort and named it Fort Amsterdam. It remained until 1811 when the people of Anomabu, attacked and demolished the fort. Fort Amsterdam remained as a ruin until its 1951 restoration by the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board. It is presently open to the public.
Today, Fort Amsterdam is a well-preserved piece of Ghana’s past.
The Ghana Museums and Monuments Board is the legal custodian of Ghana's material cultural heritage. It was established in March 1957 – on the eve of Ghana's independence - as a result of the merger of the then interim Council of the National Museum of the Gold Coast and the Monuments and Relics Commission.