|Like Dixcove and Fredericksburg, it was among the early
historic settlements generated by the 17th century
inter-European and inter-African conflicts, partly because it
lay close to the gold-rich hinterland.
As early as 1598, the Dutch West Indian Company established a
trade post at Butre.
As a counterpoise, the Dutch financed Swedish Africa Company
led by Heinrich Caerlof set up a lodge at Butre in 1650-52.
In retaliation, the W.I.C. instigated the Ankasa people to
attack and expel the Swedish Company.
Then, in 1656, the Dutch Company constructed its own fort on
the hill at Butre and named it Batenstein.
The fort was visited and described by 17th century authors,
Jean Barbot in 1679 and William Bosman in 1701.
Bosman said of it: “On a very high hill lies a tiny
ill-designed fort called Batenstein with four useless little
bastions upon which are mounted eleven light cannon.”
It had a pair of flat-roofed buildings adjoining the
So feeble was the structure, militarily, that it was said
that it was shaken itself whenever it had to fire its own guns.
In reality, its guns were used more for firing salutes than
actual military encounters because the fort’s commanding
location on top of the steep hill gave it a semblance of
impregnability that tended to put off would-be invaders.