Elmina Castle and St. Jago Castle, Gold Coast, 1840s?

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This record was last updated on 29 May 2017

Image Reference

Drawings of Western Africa (University of Virginia Library, Special Collections, MSS 14357, no. 6).

Ink and colored crayon. Foreground shows St. George de Mina (Elmina). St. Jago (Coenraadsburg); two other unidentified forts are in the background. On the left is "DeVeers redoubt" (i.e., Fort de Veer [Veersche Schans]) with its satellite African village in the center. The perspective shows the drawing was done from the anchorage. Some geographical details seem to be distorted, but the image is interesting because it shows some of the lesser fortifications around Elmina, established between 1792 and 1830. Although undated and unsigned, the drawing was perhaps made by an American Protestant missionary or associate, on a coastal voyage from Liberia to the Gabon estuary in 1838 (see Erskine Clarke, By the Rivers of Water [Basic Books, 2013] pp. 184-185). See also image reference UVA14. See Christopher DeCorse, An Archaeology of Elmina: Africans and Europeans on the Gold Coast, 1400-1900 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001); ibid., Trade, Slaves, and the British Forts of West Africa, in D. Maudlin & B. Herman, eds., Building the British Atlantic World (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2016), pp. 165-187. Thanks to Christopher DeCorse for his help in interpreting this image. See other images "UVA" on this site.