Elmina, is a town in the Central Region, situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, about 12 km west of Cape Coast. The first European settlement in West Africa, it now has a population of around 20,000 people. The town grew around São Jorge da Mina Castle, built by the Portuguese Diogo de Azambuja in 1482 on the site of a town or village called Amankwakurom or Amankwa. It was Portugal's West African headquarters for trade and exploitation of African wealth.
The original Portuguese interest was gold but this later expanded to include tens of thousands of slaves channeled through the trading post of Elmina. The location of Elmina made it a significant site for reprovisioning ships headed south towards the Cape of Good Hope on their way to India. The Dutch West India Company captured it in 1637; in subsequent centuries it was mostly used for the slave trade. The British attacked the city in 1782, but it remained in Dutch hands until 1872, when the Dutch Gold Coast was sold to the British.