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Fri, 12.24.1649

The Swedish Africa Company is Formed

SAC Fort Carolusborg

*On this date in 1649, we affirm the Swedish Africa Company (SAC). They were a Swedish slave trading company founded by the Walloon-Dutch merchant Louis De Geer and his son Laurens. The primary interest of the company was the trade on the Swedish Gold Coast, present-day Ghana.


In 1648 De Geer's charter on exporting Swedish copper ended. He founded the SAC with his son Laurens and a royal charter of Christina I of Sweden but moved its base from Gothenburg to Stade. The company was also conceived after Hendrik Carloff, administrator of the Dutch West India Company had offered his help, promoting his good relationship with a local Black African chief. Carloff was hired for three years as commander and director at a salary of one hundred guilders and an ounce of gold per month to cover the charges. He arrived at the Gold Coast on April 22, 1650.

Carloff signed a contract for the purchase of land with the chief of Efutu. On May 28, 1650, Sweden and the English signed a treaty with the chief. The English obtained the right to trade for only half a year. Carloff occupied Butre in 1659, Annemabo in 1651, and Orsou in 1652. On his return in September 1652, Carloff and his ship Christina were seized and taken to Plymouth. His ship was transporting about twenty bags of gold and 6,500 elephant teeth. The gold rings, necklaces, and bracelets were taken to the Tower of London. Meanwhile, his men started building Fort Carolusborg and conquered Tacorary in 1653.

In Sweden, Carloff was promoted to general and knighted on May 3, 1654, and occupied Fort Apollonia and Cabo in 1655. In 1656 Fort Batenstein was recaptured by the Dutch. In 1656 Carloff was accused of private trade and left the colony and deserted Denmark on March 27, 1657. He then founded the Danish Africa Company and recaptured Carolusburg from the Swedes. Because of the Dano-Swedish War, he ordered to sell Carolusborg to the Dutch if the garrison entered trouble. The establishment of both the Swedish and Danish Africa Company should be seen in light of the mismanagement of the Dutch West India Company. This company went bankrupt in both 1636 and 1647 and was eventually dissolved in 1674. The Swedish Africa Company was formally abolished in 1663 after the West India Company paid compensatory damages to the Swedes.

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