Roots and Rooted » Uncategorized For Those That Love Traditional African Religion Tue, 07 Jun 2011 13:13:18 +0000 en hourly 1 Ifa Reading of the Year, Oke Itase, Ile-Ife Nigeria on June 5, 2010 Fri, 25 Jun 2010 19:54:50 +0000 Admin 0 Fort Coenraadsburg (Elmina) Sat, 26 Dec 2009 16:32:19 +0000 Admin

Situated at the end of a steep and narrow road , at the top of S‹o Jago Hill overlooking the historic Sao Jorge Castle, lies the smaller, but equally significant Fort Coenraadsburg. The original structure that lay atop the hill was a chapel built by the Portuguese in honor of St. James. In 1637, however, when the Dutch launched their final attack on the Portuguese at Sao Jorge, the S‹o Jago Hill was seized for strategic purposes. Soon after the Portuguese surrendered, the Dutch began the construction of a redoubt at the top of the hill. Ironically, the redoubt was constructed in order to ensure their own security against any possible attacks similar to the one they’d just conducted against the Portuguese.

In 1652, the Dutch began transforming the redoubt into a fort. Construction was completed in the 1660s, and Fort Coenraadsburg, as the Dutch called it, was established as a fully fortified garrison post. The structure of the building was unique. The fort, for example, contained no commercial warehouses, only military quarters. Furthermore, a drawbridge was located at the entrance of the fort, which connected the main building to the entrance breast work called the ‘ravelin’. The entrance gate to the fort stood 15 feet above ground. As a result, once the drawbridge was pulled up, there was absolutely no way to get either into or out of the fort.

As its architecture suggested, Coenraadsburg was built strictly for military purposes. It was, in fact, the only major coastal fort built under such circumstances. During the period of Dutch control of S‹o Jorge, Coenraadsburg was the most important of the castle’s many defenses. It was to remain of such importance for over 200 years of Dutch control until it was ceded to the British in 1872.

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Sao Jorge da Mina (Elmina) Sat, 26 Dec 2009 16:29:51 +0000 Admin

St. George’s Castle, also known as Mina, is the oldest major stone structure erected by the Europeans in the Tropics. Built by the Portuguese in 1482, it was to be the first of many trading forts constructed along the Gold Coast and would play a vital role in the development of a trade whose social, political and economic ramifications would transform the histories of four different continents; Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Although European traders had been engaging in trade with Africa well before the historic voyages of the fifteenth century, it was the efforts of Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’ and the initiation of the ‘Age of Discovery’ which marked the true emergence of Portuguese exploration of the African coast. Making good use of Portugal’s convenient geographic location at the South West tip of Europe, Prince Henry set out in search of, amongst various other things, a direct route which would lead him to the sources of Africa’s rich supplies of gold.

In 1443, Prince Henry reached Arguin on the South Saharan coast, and within two years, he established a trading post on an island just off the coast. By 1462, only two years after his death, Prince Henry’s explorers had reached the area of Sierra Leone, chartered the mouths of both the Senegal and the Gambia rivers, and had already brought small quantities of gold along with some slaves from Senegambia, back to Portugal.

In 1469, continuing in the spirit of his enterprising and adventure-seeking predecessor, King Alfonso V leased ‘the enterprise of Africa’ to Portuguese explorer Fernao Gomes. The contract was set over a period of five years, during which time, Gomes’ men were to explore a minimum of one-hundred leagues of coastline each year. In 1471 Gomes’ men reached what appeared to be the most promising area for trade. Unlike the land further west along the coast, which predominantly consisted of swamps and various lagoons, the explorers found solid land with a succession of bays which were ideal for providing sheltered anchorage. Most importantly, however, the area seemed to posses an abundance of gold, available for trade with the Portuguese for a relatively small cost. In awe of the amount of gold available for sale, the Portuguese explorers called the stretch of coast as the ‘Mina de Ouro’; the gold-mine.

Over the next decade, news of the wealth of the Mina de Ouro spread rapidly. By the late 1470s, sailing vessels from both Spain and France began appearing along the African coasts. Portuguese traders saw the ships as a threat to their trade, particularly as it concerned the valuable Mina de Ouro, and felt compelled to defend what they considered to be their territory. In 1480, as an attempt to maintain the Portuguese monopoly of trade along the coast, King John II of Portugal decreed the construction of a castle in the area, which would be dedicated to Saint George, Portugal’s patron saint.

At this time, the Portuguese had been concentrating their trade on a small area located at the mouth of the Benya River. When the Portuguese initially arrived, they were astonished by the large gold ornaments that adorned the necks of many of the local peoples. Marveling Portuguese traders began calling the area ‘a Mina’, meaning ‘the mine’. The area’s position at the mouth of the Benya provided easy access to the shores of the coast for loading and unloading cargo, and as a result made for one of the best neutral harbors along the coast. It was in this area that the Portuguese decided to build their castle.

On January 21, 1482 under the command of Diego da Azambuja, the Portuguese began construction on Sao Jorge. While materials such as beams, rafters, mortar and plaster had to be imported from Portugal, most of the stone needed for construction was quarried from the rocky peninsula on which the castle now stands, creating a natural defensive ditch across it. A number of soldiers and craftsmen were also brought in from Portugal to specifically build the castle and within a relatively short period of time, the construction was complete. Though the first Portuguese trading post at Arguin never ended up playing a significant role in Portuguese trade, the castle at Elmina immediately became, and has remained throughout history, the largest castle along the coast of Africa.

The establishment of Sao Jorge had tremendous effects on the efficiency of trade between Portugal and Africa. Ships no longer had to wait off-shore for what was often several months, while African traders sporadically came and went, offering their goods. Ships could now immediately unload their goods into the castle storerooms in exchange for cargo that awaited export in the castles. Such improved methods of trade decreased the amount of time involved in trade transactions. This also meant a decrease in the mortality rate among crew members. Often, during a long stay, crew members exposed to the new climate and conditions would become ill with fever, with many eventually losing their lives due to disease and other sicknesses.

In the second half of the sixteenth century, Sao Jorge was externally renovated in attempt to bring it structurally up to date with the current standards of Renaissance fortification. Among the major changes that took place, the Portuguese thickened the walls of the main block, reinforced the walls of the Great Court, and constructed bastions at each of the castle’s four corners. Batteries were also built on the north side of the Riverside Yard in attempt to direct the landing places and river mouth, and at the foot of the south bastion between the sea and the outer ditch, to control the approach along the sea shore.

In 1612, Dutch competitors built their first fort on the Gold Coast at Mori, a mere twelve miles to the east of Elmina. Nine years later, in 1621, control at Mori was transferred from the State to the new West India Company. The rapidly growing company soon extended its activities on the Gold Coast, claiming exclusive trading rights at ports such as Anomabu and ‘Little Accra’, the port of trade for the Accra State. Over the next decade, the West India Company would further its conquests to the other side of the Atlantic, attacking Spanish vessels in the Caribbean and eventually establishing new colonies in both North and South America. It was during this time that the Dutch invaded Portuguese-controlled Brazil, and it was from here that the Dutch began plotting their final attack on Elmina.

For the Dutch, the conquest of Sao Jorge, which was presently serving as the Portuguese headquarters, would play a significant role in the downfall of the Portuguese Atlantic empire. The Dutch had previously made several attempts to attack the castle, but each time were effectively repelled by the Portuguese. In 1637, the Dutch seized the nearby S‹o Jago Hill and launched their final attack on Elmina. Installing heavy guns on the top of the hill, they bombarded the castle, and within several days the Portuguese surrendered.

The Dutch proceeded to take over the castle and began making numerous internal renovations. S‹o Jorge served as Dutch headquarters until nearly 200 years later, in 1872, when the Dutch government permanently left West Africa, selling all possessions along the coast to the British.

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Isese Celebration 2008, Osogbo, Nigeria Fri, 25 Dec 2009 16:44:22 +0000 Admin

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Ibusa Town: a Funeral Ceremony in Nigeria Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:40:13 +0000 Admin 0 usersonline Sat, 17 May 2008 17:32:50 +0000 Admin ]]> 0 Hello world! Tue, 25 Mar 2008 14:17:34 +0000 Admin

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Again, thx for making Roots and Rooted one of the most popular and long running websites on Traditional African Religion in the world. We started in 1997 and we have no intention of ever stopping. (We are currently the second highest visited Traditional African Religion website in the world!)  See you in infinity! lol

Ol’Orisa Olokuntogun

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Disaster Preparedness Kits Sun, 16 Sep 2007 13:21:44 +0000 Admin

As the environmental becomes more unpredictable and destructive, a natural reaction to over consumption and abuse by humans, it will be imperative that we are prepared to survive long term power loss, food shortages, temperature fluctuations and emergency injuries.

Basic Needs
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