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Goree Island Tells Tragic Story of African Slave Trade


Goree Island is tiny, just 900 meters by 300 meters. It sits just off the coast of Senegal in West Africa, close to the capital, Dakar. Despite its size, Goree Island history left a long and lasting impression.

The history of Goree Island is the history of slavery. For 300 years, beginning in 1538, hundreds of ships put into Goree Island, just three kilometers from Dakar, Senegal, to pick up their human cargo.

This was the center of the West African slave trade. Over two million slaves were shipped from here to Europe and the Americas.

Adam, the island's official guide, says several European countries were involved in the slave trade through this port. "After the Portuguese, the Dutch. After the Dutch, then the English, and the last were the French."

Many of these buildings used to be slave houses - one has been kept for tourists to see. Here they could have 150 to 200 slaves, men women and children, separated in different cells by sex.

"Fifteen to twenty men inside, sitting on the floor against the floor, chains on the legs, liberated once a day to go toilet," adds Adam.

Every corner of the Slaves' House shows traces and memories of the human pain these walls witnessed for 300 years. And there is the door to the ocean, known as the "door of no return".

"Once you go through this door it means you say good-bye to Africa forever. It used to have a small bridge to take them to the ship. With all the ill people that used to be pushed into the water, we used to have a lot of sharks around."

The second floor used to be the dealer's apartments, where they lived in as much comfort as possible. Now it holds the museum. Today, a little over 1,000 people live here peacefully, mostly tending to the hundreds of tourists that come every day from Dakar.

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