Cap 110, the memorial symbolizing the last breath of African slaves involved in a boast disaster in 1830

Stephen Nartey November 18, 2022
Image via Wikimedia Commons/Wyder clara

The Memorial Cap 110 comprises 15 busts with its base fortified with concrete and whitewashed with sand from Trinidad and Tobago. Their weight is estimated at 4 tons to their apex and 2.5 meters tall. They have the same face and features and carry one symbolic meaning. The bottom line is they represent a group of people who were distressed, exhausted, and with eyes cast to the ground before their last breath was snuffed out of them. 

The busts symbolize slaves with no identity who were readied for the plantations in Europe and the Caribbean. They were simply victims of a system that ripped Africa off its human resource between the 17th and the 19th century, according to Az Martinique.

The sculpture from afar appears to be in a triangular shape in reference to the triangular trade. Each of the busts stands for a man leaning slightly facing 110° in the direction of the Gulf of Guinea. It was erected as a way of paying a lasting tribute to the victims of the last shipwreck recorded in the city of Diamant, in the wee hours of April 8th and 9th, 1830. 

The disaster was caused by a slave trafficking boat that crashed into the rocks of Anse Caffard and immediately claimed the lives of a third of the enslaved Africans who were on board the boat. The remains of the sailors were buried in a cemetery while the slaves were interred on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, according to historical accounts. 

Eighty-six of the enslaved Africans of which 26 were men and 60 were women were rescued from the boat disaster and sent to Fort-de-France. The meaning of this dark experience is embedded in the 15 busts. 

The white stands for those mourning in the Caribbean while the triangular shape captures the triangular transatlantic slave trade routes lining up Europe, Africa and the Americans. The 110° is inferred from the degree east of the Gulf of Guinea where the boat is suspected to have capsized. 

The sculpture stands in front of the Rocher du Diamant. It marks the 150th anniversary of when the slave trade was outlawed. It was unveiled in 1998 as part of a project initiated by the city of Diamant. Specifically, they were erected on March 12, 1998, and officially opened to the public on May 22, 1998. 

The artist behind the work is Laurent Valere, who is from Martinique and was born in 1959. Visual artist Valere is also a painter and sculptor who is self-trained in art. The location of the 15 busts in Anse Caffard is not one that was arrived at easily. It is the very edge the boat carrying the 300 slaves met its unfortunate incident. 

The remains of the wreckage were difficult to identify because of the impact of the crash. Only six bodies were recovered from the disaster. Their names were unknown to date.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 18, 2022


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