Osu Castle is still closed to the public while the seat of the government moves to Golden Jubilee House – although this has taken four years already. The chequered history of Osu Castle reflects the history of the Ghanaian nation. Initially called Christiansborg Castle, it was built by Danish colonialists in 1659 on land bought from a tribal chief in Accra. Over the following hundred years the fort, smaller than the current construction, was juggled between the Portuguese, Swedish and Danish. Sometimes it was taken over by force; other times it was bought. In one incident in 1693, the Akwamu ethnic group occupied the fort for several months before their canny leader, Assameni, sold it back to the Danish for 50 marks of gold, around US$350,000 today. However, the keys were never officially returned to the Danish and remain symbolically in the possession of the Akwamu even now. After it fell into disrepair, the British rebuilt most of the fort in 1824 and it became the seat of the British Gold Coast remaining so until independence in 1957. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, moved there in 1960. At the beginning of 2009 the seat of the government was supposed to move to Golden Jubilee House, however, only a couple of departments have made the move. Osu Castle is a constant and poignant reminder of the slave trade that was largely administered from the building and was often used to house slaves before they were shipped to the Americas. There are several plans afoot to turn it into a museum, but there is nothing concrete so far. The road is often blocked off by soldiers but this may be relaxed as the government moves.
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