Nana Asamani: The First Black Governor Of Christianborg Castle, And He Held The Danish Officials As Prisoners In 1693

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Asamani of Akwamuman, a bronze statue is dedicated to Asamani, the brilliant strategist, and his capture of the Christianborg Castle.

Nana Asamani was a successful businessman who traded with the Danes and the Ga-Adangbe people of Accra. He served as a middle-man between the Danes, the Ga-Adangbe, and the traders of Akwamu. Asamani was known to be the Akwamuhene who tricked the Danes and seized the Christiansborg Castle in 1693. Asamani sold the castle back to the Danes in 1694 for 50 marks of gold, but kept the keys to the castle after he sold it to them.

The Osu Castle, which is also known as Christiansborg Castle, is a castle located in Osu, Accra the capital of Ghana. The Christiansborg Castle was built by Danish colonialists in 1659 on a land that was obtained from Paramount Chief Okaikoi of the Ga ethnic group.

Over the past years, the castle was tossed between the Portuguese, Swedish and Danish. Sometimes it was even taken over by force between themselves and at times they purchase it.
In 1693, Asamani, who was the Akwamu Chief, had a plan to seize control of the castle by way of a very cunning trick.
He was a very successful trader and warrior, who moved to Accra, and became proficient in the Danish language. He then disguised himself as a cook and interpreter to secure a work at the castle. He studied the place, and the people who lived there and their operations, which included the time the ship arrives and departs as well as those of the traders, merchants and others who worked and visited the Christiansborg Castle.

The town Akwamu, a state set up by the Akan people in Ghana, that grew in the 17th and 18th centuries. Asamani informed the Danes he would escort a group of traders of Akwamu to purchase some commodities.

In 1693, Asamani and 80 armed men acting as traders entered the
castle. Since the practice was to test goods before purchasing, the men of Akwamu were granted permission to enter the castle. Asamani and the traders entered the castle under disguise to test the ammunition before finalizing on the purchase. They hid the ammunitions and the gun powders under their clothes. Asamani attacked the Danes and then captured the castle, most of the Danes were taken as prisoners.

The Akwamu leader, Asamani stayed in the Christiansborg Castle for a year appointing himself as the “Governor of Christiansborg Castle,” trading with many merchants from across the globe. He then replaced the Danish flag with the flag of Akwamu. In 1694, Asamani sold back the castle to the Danes for 50 marks of gold (which is worth about $666,920.00 today), but he kept the keys. The keys are still in the Akwamu’s possession till this day and it had been kept since by the Akwamu as a trophy and a proud symbol of the resistance by the people of Akwamu from the Danes.

The keys of Christianborg Castle

In the year 1957, when Ghana became independent, with Queen Elizabeth ll being the head of state, the Christianborg Castle became the Government House, that is the residence of the Governor-General. When Ghana became a republic in 1960, it became the residence of Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Christiansborg Castle is currently marked as a security zone and isn’t opened to walk-in visitors.

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