The castles and forts of Ghana constitute treasures par excellence, a legacy of the historic past as much to modern Ghana and Africa as to the world at large. Though built on African soil, their authors came from Europe - Portuguese, Dutch, French, Britons, Brandenburg-Prussians, Danes and Swedes. For several centuries, European masters and native African servants lived and worked in them. The warehouses teemed with gold and ivory export products as well as African slaves destined for auction in the New World, there to become ancestors to future generations of black populations. Indeed, these historic buildings were no respectors of persons and extraordinary history was made once when one castle, Elmina, held prisoner an Asante King in all his splendour during the first stage of his forced exile from Ghana. Hence, not only modern Ghanaians, but also many millions in countries of the Western hemisphere and elsewhere constitute stake-holders with an interest in ensuring the preservation of these historic castles and forts.
Recognizing their unique place in world history, the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO has designated Ghana"s castles and forts as World Heritage Monuments.