Princes Town, also known as Pokesu, is located atop Manfro Hill, 5 kilometers east of Fort St. Antonio, in the Ahanta West District of Western Region. It is located between Axim and Sekondi-Takoradi to the west and east, respectively. A Brandenburg expedition of two ships led by Otto Friedrich von der Groeben arrived on the Gold Coast on January 1, 1681, and began construction of a strong fort between Axim and the Cape of Three Points.
Fort Fredericksburg (German: Gross-Friedrichsburg) was constructed in 1683 and named for Prince Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg. Princes Town is the name given to the fort since it was named after a prince. The fort was to be the headquarters of the Brandenburgers in Africa.
John Canoe, an Akan merchant, learned in 1708 that the Germans planned to sell the fort to the Dutch. In protest, he organized a resistance that lasted nearly 20 years and repelled battleship fleets. The Dutch eventually seized the fort in 1725 and called it “Hollandia.” Residents saw John Canoe as a hero since he was successful in holding possession of the fort. The Dutch gave the fort to Britain in 1872, and it became part of Ghana’s newly independent country in 1957.
Fort Fredericksburg was one of two German forts built in Ghana, the other being Fort Dorothea, and was made of stone imported by sea from Prussia between 1681 and 1683. Around 300,000 Africans are thought to have been transported through this fort. John Canoe’s whereabouts are unknown. Some claim he was captured after losing the fight of the fort, while others claim his remains are buried in Kumasi’s Tafo Cemetery.