Butre village is located in a sheltered bay amidst the forests of Ahantaland, east of Cape Three Points.
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 bastions.
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.