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Keta – History

 Keta is a town in the Volta Region of Ghana. Keta was settled by the Anlo Ewe, a sub-group of the Ewe people who, in the 17th century, migrated to the area from Ketu, in Benin. Keta was an important trading post between the 14th and the late 20th centuries. The town attracted the interest of the Danish, because they felt they could establish a base here without interference from rival European nations. Their first initiative was to place a factor at Keta to sell alcohol. The settlement then changed into a port for trade in slaves, ivory, spices, and gold.

In 1784, Fort Prinzenstein, like most slave trade forts, was built by the sea’s edge. However the sea had retreated by about 600 ft by 1907. Since then Keta has been subject to sustained erosion. The Bremen Factory and Coconut plantation, which were close to the high water mark in 1907, had been swept away by the sea by 1924. The erosion has now taken away a big chunk of the fort. Prinzenstein (stone of the Prince) was erected in 1784 by the Danes and is one of the most spectacular relics of colonialism in Keta. In the colonial era, the fort served as a prison, a role it continued to serve until it was damaged by waves during a storm in 1980.

The fort served as a transit point for slaves from Accra, Northern Volta, Togo and Dahomey in Benin.  They were marched from their villages and taken to the slaves markets in Keta and Atorkor, where you can see a memorial of the slave trade.

 From there, the slaves were brought to Fort Prinzenstein and were subjected to a through physical examination by a medical expert. It was followed by the barbaric European practice of branding. A red-hot iron with the name or coat of arms of the company was used to burn a mark on the bodies of the slaves.

The fort offers as a step back in time and an insight into an area of history that cannot be ignored.

In the days of the slave trade, Atorkor a small town in keta became a very important slave market. As a result, a memorial was erected in one of Keta’s excellent technical colleges to remember the hardships of the slave’s journey.

The memorial around the walls is a stark reminder of how the chiefs were tricked and bribed into allowing the westerners to take slaves from their tribes.

After visiting the fort, why not visit Atorkor for a fascinating yet disturbing glimpse into history of the slave trade market.

“Until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be a hero”
(quote scrawled on a wall inside the Fort’s dungeon)

 

Close to Keta is the famous town of Woe, known for the notable lighthouse called Cape St. Paul Lighthouse on the beach that is believed to guide ships away from a mythical massive underwater mountain. This lighthouse is also thought to be the oldest in Ghana. This ancient light house located in Woe, built in 1901 can be found just off Keta’s Municipalities main road. It is a vital part of Keta’s coast line. Still functioning, it is used to direct ships at night away from what is believed to be a big submerged mountain just off the coast of Woe.

It is reportedly the oldest lighthouse in the country making climbing it an interesting if somewhat daunting adventure! Upon climbing to the top, you will be rewarded with the fantastic views of Keta’s beautiful sandy beaches and Woe’s famous farming land.

 For those wishing to experience the real Ghana, this traditional Ghanaian market is an excellent place to start. Products on sale range from live chickens to local salt and from locally caught fish to the famous Keta shallots. Tourists can enjoy an array of beautiful materials in the typically vibrant African colours. An excellent way to experience the market is on the early morning ferry from Ada Foah every Wednesday. Stopping at each island village en route to pick up the market sellers, the trip provides more than just a method of transport, but a fascinating insight into the lives of the local people as well some excellent photo opportunities.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Keta lagoon offers the most important site for marine bird watching in the whole of Ghana. With 76 recorded species including the western reef herron, great white and little egret there is plenty to see, bird watcher or otherwise!

Bird watching island is the best place to view the birds in their natural environment. The island also serves as a breeding point for the birds and during the dry season, tourists can see eggs hatching.

One of Keta’s biggest attractions is its lagoon and provides a source of food and livelihood for the local residents. Made up of fresh, shallow water this beautiful body of water happens to be the largest in the country at 40km long and 8km wide.

It is a little known fact that the Southern Ghana coast line is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You will find that Keta is no exception. With white sand that stretches for what seems like miles, and beautiful resorts such as the Emancipation Beach Camp boasting beach huts, music and a bar serving food and drink, there is enough here to satisfy even the fussiest of tourists. It has to be seen to be believed!

 Keta is a town in the Volta Region of Ghana. Keta was settled by the Anlo Ewe, a sub-group of the Ewe people who, in the 17th century, migrated to the area from Ketu, in Benin. Keta was an important trading post between the 14th and the late 20th centuries. The town attracted the interest of the Danish, because they felt they could establish a base here without interference from rival European nations. Their first initiative was to place a factor at Keta to sell alcohol. The settlement then changed into a port for trade in slaves, ivory, spices, and gold.

In 1784, Fort Prinzenstein, like most slave trade forts, was built by the sea’s edge. However the sea had retreated by about 600 ft by 1907. Since then Keta has been subject to sustained erosion. The Bremen Factory and Coconut plantation, which were close to the high water mark in 1907, had been swept away by the sea by 1924. The erosion has now taken away a big chunk of the fort. Prinzenstein (stone of the Prince) was erected in 1784 by the Danes and is one of the most spectacular relics of colonialism in Keta. In the colonial era, the fort served as a prison, a role it continued to serve until it was damaged by waves during a storm in 1980.

The fort served as a transit point for slaves from Accra, Northern Volta, Togo and Dahomey in Benin.  They were marched from their villages and taken to the slaves markets in Keta and Atorkor, where you can see a memorial of the slave trade.

 From there, the slaves were brought to Fort Prinzenstein and were subjected to a through physical examination by a medical expert. It was followed by the barbaric European practice of branding. A red-hot iron with the name or coat of arms of the company was used to burn a mark on the bodies of the slaves.

The fort offers as a step back in time and an insight into an area of history that cannot be ignored.

In the days of the slave trade, Atorkor a small town in keta became a very important slave market. As a result, a memorial was erected in one of Keta’s excellent technical colleges to remember the hardships of the slave’s journey.

The memorial around the walls is a stark reminder of how the chiefs were tricked and bribed into allowing the westerners to take slaves from their tribes.

After visiting the fort, why not visit Atorkor for a fascinating yet disturbing glimpse into history of the slave trade market.

“Until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be a hero”
(quote scrawled on a wall inside the Fort’s dungeon)

 

 Close to Keta is the famous town of Woe, known for the notable lighthouse called Cape St. Paul Lighthouse on the beach that is believed to guide ships away from a mythical massive underwater mountain. This lighthouse is also thought to be the oldest in Ghana. This ancient light house located in Woe, built in 1901 can be found just off Keta’s Municipalities main road. It is a vital part of Keta’s coast line. Still functioning, it is used to direct ships at night away from what is believed to be a big submerged mountain just off the coast of Woe.

It is reportedly the oldest lighthouse in the country making climbing it an interesting if somewhat daunting adventure! Upon climbing to the top, you will be rewarded with the fantastic views of Keta’s beautiful sandy beaches and Woe’s famous farming land.

 For those wishing to experience the real Ghana, this traditional Ghanaian market is an excellent place to start. Products on sale range from live chickens to local salt and from locally caught fish to the famous Keta shallots. Tourists can enjoy an array of beautiful materials in the typically vibrant African colours. An excellent way to experience the market is on the early morning ferry from Ada Foah every Wednesday. Stopping at each island village en route to pick up the market sellers, the trip provides more than just a method of transport, but a fascinating insight into the lives of the local people as well some excellent photo opportunities.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Keta lagoon offers the most important site for marine bird watching in the whole of Ghana. With 76 recorded species including the western reef herron, great white and little egret there is plenty to see, bird watcher or otherwise!

Bird watching island is the best place to view the birds in their natural environment. The island also serves as a breeding point for the birds and during the dry season, tourists can see eggs hatching.

One of Keta’s biggest attractions is its lagoon and provides a source of food and livelihood for the local residents. Made up of fresh, shallow water this beautiful body of water happens to be the largest in the country at 40km long and 8km wide.

It is a little known fact that the Southern Ghana coast line is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You will find that Keta is no exception. With white sand that stretches for what seems like miles, and beautiful resorts such as the Emancipation Beach Camp boasting beach huts, music and a bar serving food and drink, there is enough here to satisfy even the fussiest of tourists. It has to be seen to be believed!

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