Location: Elmina, Ghana
Notable Residents: n/a
Amenities: Slaves either waited here after being captured or while negotiations for their sale were carried out
Built at the end of the 15th century in modern day Ghana, Elmina Castle was originally intended to be a Gold Coast trading post. It holds the distinction of being the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara Desert. The Dutch strong-armed it from the Portuguese during the 17th century. In 1872, the entire island became part of the British Empire.
Elmina Castle is most famous for its role in the slave trade, serving as an auction block where slaves were purchased from African chiefs and kings. Slaves were typically captured in Africa by slave-catchers and sold to Portuguese traders in exchange for textiles and horses. Slaves often shared cells with as many as 200 others, and by the 18th century, 30,000 slaves were passing through the "Door of No Return" annually. Elmina Castle was restored by the Ghanan government during the 1990s, and today it serves as a popular historic site. It is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.