Batenstein literally translates to “profit fort”. Post in 1650-52. Dutch fort built in 1656. Taken by the English, in 1665, abandoned in 1818-27, rebuilt by the Dutch, in 1828, relinquished by treaty and remained a Dutch possession until 1872, when it was transferred to the British.
Situated on the high hill behind Butre village in the Western Region of Ghana, the view of the Atlantic coastline from the bastions of Fort Batenstein is quite sensational. However, it was the promise of gold in the hinterland, and not simply the beauty of this ecological paradise, that prompted the Dutch to construct this small trading fort in 1656.
The sheer steepness of the hill was the fort’s greatest defence against imminent attack, but its constitution was so weak that the building literally shook on the occasions when its guns were fired in welcoming salutes. William Bosman described it as ‘a tiny, ill-designed fort’. However, amidst the verdant vegetation, clean air and the waters of the beach, life at Fort Batenstein must have been and still is, idyllic.
Although it’s trading prospects never materialized, Fort Batenstein provided useful services. Ships underwent repair works in the still waters of its bay, using timber acquired from the forest of Ahantaland. Cotton, sugar and coffee plantations were also set up on the rich soils behind the fort, along River Butre. The British acquired the fort on 6th April1872 and implemented a few basic structural adjustments.
The Fort Batenstein was consolidated between 2010 and 2011 with co-funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The fort is currently preserved as a ruin. Butre has a Town Tourism Development Committee, which offers guided tours to Fort Batenstein and the local area.