The Island of Goree is located in Senegal, Africa, just off the peninsula of Cape Vert. As a former European settlement, the island is now within the city limits of Dakar. The main attraction for travelers, specifically those who like to venture off the beaten path, is its history as one of the main trading centres for the Atlantic African Slave Trade in the 15th to 17th centuries. So much has been written and yet so little is known about the Island of Goree’s history, however, it has been classified by UNESCO, on the world heritage list, as a cultural heritage site.
The Island of Goree brings us into the lives of millions of African men, women and children, who were torn from their beautiful homeland and given over to the “death ship,” and transported, under inhuman conditions to the so-called New World. It was a spiritual and psychological journey of unspeakable torment.
A visit to the Slave House (House of Slaves – (Maison des Esclaves)), takes you to the Door-of-No-Return. Once the slaves stepped out of the “Door,” it was “bye-bye” Africa. It takes little effort to imagine the details of the trade; they were shackled two by two, the right wrist and ankle of one to the left wrist and ankle of the other. Although there is no way to compute exactly how many people lost their lives, it has been estimated that between 30 to 60 million Africans were subjected to this horrible slave trade system and only 1/3 of those people survived. They were brought to the island against their will, under inhuman conditions, and suffered unspeakable abuse.
If you are traveling through Senegal and are headed to the city Dakar you’ll want to tour the island.
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