Battle of Elmina, 1637

In 1637 the Dutch West India Company detached 9 ships from the forces attacking the Portuguese in Brazil to send them against the Portuguese in Fort Elmina. They appointed Colonel Hans Coine to command the fleet which consisted of a total of 1,300 men. They landed on July 24 a short distance away from Cape Coast, and proceeded to canoe down the Sweet River towards the Portuguese fort, bringing 800 soldiers and three days worth of provisions.

A hill named St. Jago dominated the fort which Coine determined needed be taken if they were to take the fort. However, 1,000 natives allied to the Portuguese were at the base of it, preventing the Dutch from seizing it. Coine sent four companies of Fusiliers after it, but they were completely destroyed. A second Dutch detachment that attacked the other side fared better, causing the native to go into a rout. The Portuguese and their native allies made two attempts to take back the position, but both failed. After the second failed attack, the Portuguese fell back into their redoubt at the summit of the hill.

The redoubt was protected by a wooden wall on one side, and a river on the other. Coine decided to ford the river to allow a mortar and two cannon to fire upon the fort. After bombarding the fort for two more days, he demanded the garrison in the castle to surrender. The Portuguese governor requested a three-day truce, but Coine refused as he only had provisions for one more day. He brought more of his forces to St. Jago and continued to bombard the fort. The bombardment was ineffective, and by the next morning Coine realized that he would have to either have to attack the fort that day or abandon the attempt. He dispatched a group ofGrenadiers up the hill, but before they could attack a chamade was sounded and two messengers were sent out by the Portuguese to negotiate a surrender.

The surrender allowed the Governor, the Garrison, and all Portuguese citizens to leave, without swords or any other weapons, on a boat to the island of St. Thomas. The Dutch would be allowed take all that was left including gold, silver and slaves.

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