From the early 1500s, West Africa's Gold Coast was overrun by adventurers from European nations, including Portugal, France, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Holland, looking to capitalize on natural and human resources.
The British established a fort at Kormatine in 1651, and at Cape Castle in 1661. With vessels laden with goods and gold, piracy was a problem. On March 28 1722, a trial of pirates was held at Cape Castle and 52 pirates were condemned to death. Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre says: "They were executed, according to their sentence, without the gates of Cape Coast Castle and within the flood marks." One of the pirates executed at Cape Castle was John Stephenson, a former Whitby chaplain.
Modern-day Ghana was formed from Britain's Gold Coast colony and the British section of Togoland, a German protectorate that eventually fell under the control of Britain and France. Ghana gained its independence in 1957.