House of Slaves in Dakar, Senegal
The House of Slaves on Gorée Island, Senegal, is a place humanity’s cruelty through the transatlantic slave trade can still be heartbreakingly felt. The island itself, resting off the coast of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, emits a rather sombre vibe, something that more resembles a graveyard than a tropical island. There seems to be a respectful understanding that underneath the gentle sound of the sea breeze lurks the pain and silent screams of its past.
Acting as a stopover where outbound African slaves would be processed and shipped away, the House of Slaves was a market where Africans would be shipped by middle-men from mainland West Africa, and then traders could visit and purchase slaves before leading them through what is now called the “Door of No Return.” The traders will then fill their small boats before returning to their main vessel stationed just off the island. The island is believed to have processed hundreds, perhaps thousands of African slaves, with some estimates even suggesting millions, however, many scholars have called the veracity of the island’s legacy and its House of Slaves into question.
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The House of Slaves itself is now a museum; an evocative structure complete with iron shackles and dingy cells where the slaves were said to have been crushed together in horrifying darkness, awaiting their inescapable fate.