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Goree Island, Senegal - Reflecting on the Horrors

Fri, Jul 8, 2011

Western Africa



Goree Island or the Ile de Goree is a tiny islet situated not far from the coast of the capital city of Senegal, Dakar. The island is a major center for tourism. The island is historically significant as it was a major center for slave trading in the ancient times. The island is a significant destination for African Americans.

Many African Americans come here to pay their respects and to reflect upon the past and their ancestors. The House of Slaves or the Maison des Esclaves is a pilgrimage spot of sorts, where people come to remember the horrors of slave trade and the countless lost souls due to the evil.

Goree Island has been declared a World Heritage by the UNESCO and has been visited by world famous public figures such as Nelson Mandela, the Pope, Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. The symbolic significance of the location has always left the visitors to Maison des Esclaves deeply moved.

However, not all agree that the Maison des Esclaves has been a slave trading center of such scale. Some scholars argue that the place is small and would not have fit the millions of slaves that were transported here. Whatever it is, it is sure that slave trade was prevalent here, and slaves did pass through.

All in all, the Museum, Maison des Esclaves and the Goree Island is a focal point for everyone to express their grief and reflect on the horrors of the blight on history that was slave trade.

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