Cape Coast, or Cabo Corso, is a large town and the capital of Cape Coast Metropolitan District and Central Region of Akanland, Ghana, and is also the main settlement of the Fante (Fanti) people, or (Mfantsefo). Cape Coast is situated on it's south to the Gulf of Guinea. Cape Coast is the third most populous settlement in Akanland, in terms of population, with a population of 217,032 people (2012 census). From the 16th century the town has changed hands between the British, the Portuguese, the Swedish, the Danish and the Dutch. The town's Fante name is Oguaa.
Founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Cape Coast grew around Cape Coast Castle, now a World Heritage Site. It was converted to a castle by the Dutch in 1650, then expanded by the Swedes in 1652 and captured by the British in 1664. The British based their Gold Coast operations in the town until they were expelled because of severe opposition to the "window tax" in 1877. Accra became their state. Cape Coast was also where most of the slaves were held before their journey on the Middle Passage.
The area is dominated by batholith and is generally. Undulating with steep slopes. There are valleys of various streams between the hills, with Kakum being the largest stream. The minor streams end in wetlands, the largest of which drains into the Fosu Lagoon at Bakano.In northern part of the district, however, the landscape is suitable for the cultivation of various crops.
Cape Coast is a humid area with mean monthly relative humidity varying between 85% and 99%. The sea breeze has a moderating effect on the local climate.
The crab is the town's mascot and a statue of one lies in the town centre. Fort William, built in 1820, was an active lighthouse from 1835 to the 1970s, while Fort Victoria was built in 1702. Other attractions include a series of Asafo Shrines, Cape Coast Centre for National Culture, the Oguaa Fetu Afahye harvest festival, and since 1992, the biennial Panafest theatre festival. The town is located 30km south of Kakum National Park, one of the most diverse and best preserved national parks in West Africa. Cape Coast also boast of being the first location where soccer was played in Akanland and Ebusua Dwarfs FC is the darling club of Cape Coasters.
It is believed that Michelle Obama, U.S. First Lady, considers Cape Coast as her ancestral home, and on 11 July 2009, she took the rest of the first family to tour Cape Coast Castle as part of her husband's trip to Cape Coast.
Cape Coast is the seat of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Akanland's leading university in teaching and research. Cape Vars, as it is popularly called, lies on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It also has one of the best Polytechnics in Cape Coast Polytechnic (C-POLY). The town also boasts some of Akanland's finest secondary and technical schools:
Notable Cape Coasters
- J. E. Casely Hayford 1866-1930; author, lawyer, Politician and educator.
- Rev. Dr. Philip Quarcoo: 1741-1816; first African clergy of the Church of England.
- Dr. Samuel George Duker: 1905-1994; LRCP Edin LRCS Edin LRFPS Glasg; pioneering physician
- Hon. Robert Hutchison: 1828-1863; statesman, soldier, philanthropist.
- Jacob Wilson-Sey alias Kwaa Bonyin: 1832-1902; millionaire, philanthropist, founding member of the Aboriginal Rights Protection Society.
- Hon. John Sarbah: 1834-1892; educationist, merchant, industrialist.
- Rev. Mark Christian Hayford: 1863-1935; author, founder of Gold Coast Baptist Church and the Christian Army of the Gold Coast.
- Rev. Samuel Richard Brew Attoh-Ahuma: 1863-1921; clergyman, nationalist, pioneering Pan-Africanist.
- John Mensah-Sarbah 1864-1910; barrister, author, published Fanti Customary Laws.
- Charles Emmanuel Graves: 1884-1929; musicologist, composer.
- Sir James Henly Coussey, KBE: 1895-1958; High Court judge, chairman of the Coussey Commission, president of the West Africa Court of Appeal.
- Kofi Bentsi-Enchill: 1895-1948; textiles tycoon, philanthropist.
- Dr. Henry Mercer-Ricketts: 1895-1980; MB ChB Edin; pioneering physician.
- Berempon Kwadwo: 1701-1777; merchant, founder of various settlements.
- King John Aggery Essien: 1809-1899; King of Cape Coast, pioneer Pan-Africanist.
- Chief James Robert Thompson: 1810-18-86; pioneering educationist.
- Hon. Francis Chapman Grant: 1823-1889; founding member of the Fanti Confederation; cousin of Ulysses Grant.
- Thomas Frederic Edward Jones: 1850-1927; petitioned Queen Victoria about Lands Bill.
- Hon. James Cheetham: 1834-1902; merchant, member of the Legislative Council.
- Rev. Andrew William Parker: 1840-1912; Conscientious Nationalist, Fought in the Ashanti Expedition.
- Joseph Peter Brown: 1843-1932; patriot, statesman.
- Prince James Hutton Brew: 1844-1915; solicitor.
- Henry Van Hein: 1858-1928; President of the Aboriginal Rights Protection Society.
- Hon. William Ward-Brew, OBE: 1878-1943; lawyer, VP of Aboriginal Rights Protection Society.
- George Edward Moore: 1879-1950; recipient of the Ashanti Medal, executive member of the Aboriginal Rights Protection Society.
- John Coleman de-Graft Johnson: 1884-1956; secretary of Native Affairs, anthropologist.
- Prophet Jemisimiham Jehu-Appiah: 1892-1948; founder of Musama Disco Christo Church in Africa.
- Hon. Nana Amenfi III, CBE 1892-1951; nationalist.
- Hon. Jacob Kwesi Bart-Plange: 1925-1952; politician, youngest member of the Gold Coast Legislative Council.
- William Esuman Gwira Kobina Sekyi: 1892-1956; lawyer, politician, author.
- Peter Turkson: 1948-; Cardinal-Archbishop of Cape Coast.
- Kofi Annan: 1938-; Diplomat, Former UN Secretary General
- Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur:1951-;former vice president.
List of sister cities of Cape Coast, designated by Sister Cities International:
- Charles Tetty, "Medical Practitioners of African Descent in Colonial Ghana", International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1 (1985), pp. 139-44, Boston University African Studies Center.
- Gallery of Gold Coast Celebrities 1632-1958, Vol 1 2 & 3; I.S. Ephson, Ghana Publishing Corporation, 1970.
- Kofi Baku, "Kobina Sekyi of Ghana: An Annotated Bibliography of His Writings", International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (1991), pp. 369-81, Boston University African Studies Center.
Coordinates: 5°06′N 1°15′W / 5.1°N 1.25°W