Fort James

The Gambia

Fort James was an important British colonial trading post from 1661 and the departure point of vessels packed with ivory and gold, as well as slave ships. Over subsequent decades, it was the site of numerous skirmishes. Variously held by British, French and Dutch traders, as well as a couple of privateers (pirates), it was completely destroyed at least three times before being finally abandoned in 1829.

The ruins of the fort are quite extensive, though badly neglected – the only intact room is a food store, which is often called the slave dungeon for dramatic effect. The biggest threat, though, is rapid coastal erosion, which literally pulls away the ground the ruins stand on.

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