Views: 913 Michael Kwadzo Ahiaku, VR, July 9, 2019, Tue, 3:oo pm Fort Prinzenstein which is among fifty-four (54) forts built in Africa is left...
Michael Kwadzo Ahiaku, VR, July 9, 2019, Tue, 3:oo pm
Fort Prinzenstein which is among fifty-four (54) forts built in Africa is left wasting at Keta, it means a lot to the tourism industry.
The Keta Municipality can rake in more revenue from the tourism sector if it can maintain and promote the forte.
But, the Danish built legacy is left to rot away.
The Fort is among the four major Danish structures in Ghana, built in the commercial capital of the 36 Anlo towns, Keta in 1784 AD.
When the Portuguese, the first among the Europeans to reach the shores of modern Ghana in their sea route Search to India in 1471 AD, we were already settled as people of Anlo and it was from us that they got water and food supplies before advancing to the other Ewe Brothers of Benin in 1475 AD.
For erection of forts and castles, our territory, the Volta Star bar, was not considered as there were no readily available rocks as the Western Coastal Stretches was.
Also, the area does not provide enough natural defenses as the formerly built ones possessed. Therefore, except for lodges that King Nukponku allowed them to build one at Adina .Elmina Chica} and other at Tegbi there was nothing like a Fort or Castle on the Volta Sand Bar up to Gbadagli, the last Ewe territory in the East till 1642 AD when the Portuguese ceded all that they had in the Gold Coast Ghana to the Dutch their captors and left.
All trade engagements with the Anlo- fathers with the dominating European competitors –the Dutch –British –Danes-French-Russian, etc, were done in lodges built later and most of such landmarks disappeared over the centuries.
Between 1720 and 30 AD, the Dutch and the Danes strove to have dominion over the Ada-Keta Plains and over their Danish rivals. The Dutch tried to develop their lodge into a full –blown Fort called Singelengburgh. They had completed it when one of the Ewe Monarchs, Great Agadza Trudu of Dahume, marched his warlords towards the Volta River in 1737 AD, looking for Ashangmo, son of Okai Koi of Ge Accra who was supposed to be hiding with the Dutch in Keta then.
Nothing could convince Adzaga of the absence of Ashangmo from Fort Singelengeburgh. His force began digging under the Fort, which was strategically located in the middle of town.
In no time the walls began to crack and for the unfair deals in trade with the Dahumeans the previous years, Adzaga decided to take the forts inmate’s prisoners when Ashangmo could not be located.
The Dutch official told one of the remaining inmates to set fire to the powder, enclosure eduxor near the fort to prevent Adzaga and his men from possible looting and this was done.
Ashangmo resurfaced and the encounter at Little Popo was just bloody. The Dutch captives were released and when they came to Keta in 1741 AD, they met a surprise packet. The Danes were already established with a medium –built fort which was later to develop into what we see today.
Note that there was always very tough competition among all the Europeans powers in terms of building the forts for their trade interests and it is was a matter of the survival of the fittest. Between 1775 and 80AD, the Anlo were very suspicious of the Ada-Danish relations and their trade positions, this routed the Ada doms, compelled the Danes to remove their Ada lodge west wards four miles.
Seeing the Danish biasm against them in the 1780 AD encounter with the Adas, the Anlo attacked their lodge at Keta, and then under governor Kioge, who did not find it easy at all.
In July, 1782 AD, Peace was made between the Anlos and the Danes. All the Dungeoned slaves then were released.
FACTORS LEADING TO THE ERECTION
In 1782 AD, the Anlos was that a Danish lodge at Tornu, up the Volta River was being turned into a fort which would later ruin Ewe land for the slave-raising menace then was at its peak. The Anlos fathers quickly hand-picked some of the fearless men and soon, the building were demolished. Salvadore, the Danish Foreman, could not stand the wrath of the Anlo fathers.
Governor-Kioge, not understanding the character and, therefore, the nature of the Anlos resolved to silence us forever and have his way as to selling lots of us into slavery for as stated earlier, the slavery was its peak. Lots of dollars were being made. Governor Kioge rounded up troops from Ge-Ada-Krobo-Akwapim-Osu-Labadi-Teshie-Ningo-Tema and under Chief Otoo of Ge, they pounced on us on the 25th of March 1784 AD, a very unfortunate day for us since our fathers had to stabilize some uprisings in the Genyi-Anexodoms!
This war was what we code named Sagbadre, corruption for Salvadore. The invading forces with dated artillery and maxim guns shocked Anlo on the 30th March, 1784 AD.
By May, the 14th, General Amable led the Anlo forces back and though the position of the war could not be determined, the Anlo elders thought it wise, never to cry over split milk. Peace was signed on the 18th of June, 1784 AD.
Mr. Kioge and his shrewd cronies tried to impose the following terms-
- The Danes to build a permanent fort at Keta.
- There should be free passage through Anlo.
- A Danish Training Depot to be established at Anloga.
- The Anlos, never to trade with any other European nation.
On the 22nd of June, 1784 AD, under the guard and supervision of Prince Ofoli Bosu with an armed contingent for the Keta fathers would not contain them, being very well aware of the dreaded slave raiding and the fort bombardment of towns, then the fort was built.
Prinzenstein stands in the Keta metropolis, bounded immediately to the South by the Great Gulf of Guinea, her old rival that took away almost 2/3 of her and seven out of her ten slave Dungeons that all well-meaning Blacks and whites need to see today!
On the North are the present Lorry Park and the North –North West is the Keta market.
The Eastern border is the old now deserted London Park, the old Keta football pitch. The West is surrounded by Togbui James Ocloo, Dufia of Keta premises. The ravaging sea, as stated earlier started devouring the land of Keta from 1907 AD and by the middle of the 1980 had got near the fort and had nearly destroyed our painful past.
As one can see even today, the cannons were laid on the fort facing the Keta township confirmation of the military defence for which the fort was supposed to have served.
With the erection and the expertise fortification of Prinzenstein, the Danes assume they were lords of the Volta Basin right into our Benin Doms.