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Following the establishment of their headquarters at Elmina, the Portuguese, in an effort to maintain their monopoly and exclude foreign ships from the gold markets, built a trade post in 1503 at Axim close to the mouth of the River Ankobra. Owing to attacks launched by the local people on the lodge, the trade post was abandoned. In ISIS, a small promontory close to the Ankobra mouth was chosen and a fort built to cover the entire promontory. It was named Santo Antonio and was the second Portuguese fort on the Gold Coast. The site chosen had several little inselbergs in the ocean close to the promontory.

The fort was triangular in outline, in keeping with the contours of the promontory.
Two major bastions were located on the northern and southern ends - the two corners of the wide end of the triangle.
The Portuguese constructed a rock-cut ditch some three metres deep to protect the landward side of the fort but this was later filled in during the 17th century. Inside the fort, a number of buildings of considerable size were raised to accommodate up to thirty officers.