Fort Metal Cross Ghana

Ghana’s Fort Metal Cross – A call on The White Grandeur Fortress

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One would immediately be struck by the magnificent appearance of this colonial edifice and would probably ask how old the town was when this castle aged three hundred (300) years was built. The British Fort Metal Cross in western Ghana is already visible on a headland. This castle is located near a fishing village Infuma of Dixcove (originally called Dick’s  Cove). In fact, I did not think that I could visit this historic castle.

Perhaps, emotions attached to the fort was my phobia but I finally did. I was grief-stricken and also got the vital information I needed. As a defensive castle, the British-owned colonial edifice has a calm sea that surrounds it. The fortress looks incredible with a good view of the town especially the sea. Looking at how calm the sea is, one would wonder if the sea rises. But this can be skipped at any time and can be placed on large ships.

Brief About Dixcove

Dixcove is a calm town, found in the Western part of Ghana. It has an eye pleasing fishing village that harbours a lot of fishermen in the territory.

History

The  Dixcove Fort was erected in Ghana in 1698 by the Brits. The fortress was built by the Royal African Company to serve as a warehouse for timber and gold dust, and was later renovated to hold slaves. The prime aim was to esablish a connection with inhabitants of Infuma, a fishing village immediately next to the fort with the promise of being given a land to mine gold. Another reason was to possibly win back the large number of the English captains who were carrying on trade deals at the (Germans’ Fort Gross Friedrichsburg close to Princestown. Interestingly, the people of the village had two chiefs who were also being influenced by the Dutch against the Brits. These two heads of Infuma village continually attacked the fort over a long period, thereby delayed the completion of the Fort Metal in Dixcove. So after 14 years (in 1750), the fort was finally ready and equipped with arms, munitions, rigging and even troops.

 Fort Metal Cross Ghana

Seemingly, the gold promised at first sight did not appear. After collecting a large amount of gold from the extraction, it was determined that they weren’t genuine. As a result, an author named Bosman wrote an article entitled ‘The Fake Mint of the Gold Coast’. It was read by many people around the world. This is how come the fortress’ name was earned. The Fort Metal Cross was used as a repair point for ships and wood transportation in forests around other towns due to the lack of fortification. The fort was also used as a prison during the slave trade. In 1867, the fort exchange agreement between the Brits and the Dutch brought about pandemonium between the two countries. Then the Dutch took hold of the fortress. This couldn’t have been possible but for the military reinforcement who intervened to calm down nerves as the inhabitants were outraged by the sudden switch. The people felt they were not consulted before that change. The name of the fort was quickly changed to the Dutch name “Metalen Kruis”, which literally means “metal cross”. Metalen Kruis was named after one of the Dutch warships who called for reinforcements to save a day of misunderstanding between the Infuma people and the rulers of the fortress. After the Dutch took control of the Metal Fortress for some time, it was difficult for them to manage the place. The average cost of maintaining the fortress doubled. They quickly sold the fort to the Brits. Therefore, the Fort of 1872 returned to England, which was named the Fort Metal Cross.

When Britain left Ghana in 1957, on the day of Ghana’s independence, the fortified metal cross was officially handed over to the government of Ghana. Before all this happened, the fortress was twice surrounded by John Kanu in 1712. John was an ally of Prussia. Unfortunately, he could not maneuver his way through because the fort was strictly guarded. Thus, the fortified metal cross was identified as a World Heritage Site in 1979. This was after it was brought into the group of forts and castles of the Volta, Central, Western and the capital Greater Accra regions respectively. Many have seen Fort Metal Cross as a slave yard in Africa. Europeans compared the fortress with other oppressive monuments of the world. But African Americans believe that they show fear of coastal slave trade in the Atlantic.

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Violation of Agreement

Remember the struggle of the natives of Infuma and the fort managers? Well, a gentleman, Robert Fidler returned to Ghana a few years after he left for Europe and applied to lease the castle because he believed the castle still belong to the Brits. Fortunately, in 2001 it was rented out to him for 20 years by Ghana. He reconstructed the entire resort, but the Ghana Monuments Board did not like the idea. They believed he violated the terms of the lease. Meanwhile, local officials were also not satisfied with the changes made to the edifice without consulting them. After Fidler’s operations was ceased, the government transformed the fort into a guesthouse in 1983. The proceeds that came from guests who visited the place were shared amongst the local chiefs of the town. Prior to this situation, Robert Fiedler’s goal was to encourage tourists to visit a “British castle in Ghana, Africa” to increase the appeal. This castle had an indoor suite with chalets in the style of a restaurant, conference center, swimming pool, architectural motifs of classical gardens and fortifications. He did a lot to realize the vision of the Fort Metal Cross. He moved on, supported the locals around the fort to 150 new houses on a nearby hill.

 Fort Metal Cross Ghana

He transformed roads leading to the fortress, built bridges and schools for children. Unfortunately, while the Chiefs blessed and supports him for good works, others argued with him. The sub-chiefs of Upper Dixcove in Western Ghana disagreed with him on the basis that  he was a dictator. According to them, Fidler refused to open the Fort Metal Cross during the celebration of the annual Kundum festival for a day.(People of Kundum in the West celebrate this festival every year). They put forward a number of charges against him. In general, he completely violated the provisions of the Ghana Monuments Board.

The Restoration of the Fort Metal Cross

Fort Metal Cross, Dixcove was well-built and has so far been successfully managed. The fortress, based in Dixcove, is as white as snow. The building was built of stone and attracted many tourists from around the world, including such famous leaders as Barack Obama, the former US president. The rooms where the slaves were kept are still in good condition with an emotional depiction of what happened during the slave trade. A hantle of African Americans who throng to the fort to get information about how they were treated and transported to Europe cannot hold back their tears. Especially when it turned out that the European masters had made a small hole in the slaves chamber, where they threw their waste foods that could feed the prisoners. Emotional, I guess!

 Fort Metal Cross Ghana

This unmatched fortress’ firing mechanism or base cap, have had few of their trolleys deteriorated over time, so they lie on the defense wall. Currently, the authorities have created a new black wooden trolleys to replace the deteriorated ones. Fort Metal Cross, Dixcove offers views of the city of Disks and the bay near the fort. The interior of the fort is simply spotless.

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How to Reach Fort Metal Cross

This fort is not burdensome to locate from anywhere you find yourself. When you arrive at Ghana’s International Airport, foreign tourists should visit the transportation department to assign you a tourism commercial car. Otherwise, you can personally jump into any of the available private taxis, minivans, car rental service and uber services for your journey. From the airport to the main road of Dixcove (West Ghana), you can spot a T-Junction that leads to a very close fishing bay. Local visitors should do the same by taking a taxi and minibus present. Pass through the left turn of the intersection, and thats it – The charming white fortress, The Fort Metal Cross.

Ghana's Fort Metal Cross

Entrance Fee

Visitors do not have to bother about the cost of entrance to the Fort Metal Cross Ghana. The entrance fee to the fortress is ($2). If you’re thinking to have a nice time at an entertaining centre not quite far from the fortress, the Busua beach is the place to be. It is a well known beach in the area, that has wonderful services for all visitors. The tourist- friendly site which is a royal community has truly been well managed and maintained by authorities. And indeed, it takes strong men to drive great institution. And that’s what has been exhibited here. The maintenance is outstanding.

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Apart from the grief that has fallen on the necks of visitors especially the African Americans whose families went through hard times at the fortress as slaves, there is a glimmer of hope for the next generation. Fort Metal Cross has an important history to be disclosed to generations to come. A visit will be worth it. Join the list of visitors!.

Welcome (Akwaaba) to an exceptional fortress with an exceptional structure.

About the Author

Osei Agyemang is a calm, passionate and a creative writer. He is an expert in composing interesting and innovative contents. He is also an addicted travel enthusiast who likes to visit and tell the stories of interesting places around the world. Additionally, Osei is an award winning national artist and an entrepreneur who studied Journalism and Global English Language at University of Strathclyde and  the University of Glasgow respectively.

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