Former slave castle yields grim secrets

2011-06-25 07:26

Freetown - A team of international archeologists has discovered grim relics of slavery some 300 years ago on the site of one of the largest "slave castles" in west Africa, the project director said on Friday.

Joe Opala said that Bunce Island, some 30km upriver from Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, had a "very strong and clear link" with the north American slave trade.

Christopher DeCorse, head of the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University in New York added, "Bunce Island was known as one of the chief suppliers of slaves to the rice industry of the then British colonies of South Carolina and Georgia".

"African farmers with rice growing skills were kidnapped from inland areas and brought to the castle and then shipped as human cargo to America", he said.

"We are working to preserve the island's structural resources," he added, after the team reported the discovery of an iron shackle and a spike just outside the castle.

"What made the find important is that it tells us really what happened in the island when slaves were being transported, as the shackles were used to restrict their movements, binding their arms and legs to prevent them from becoming violent," DeCorse said.

DeCorse said the spike would be given to the national museum while the shackle would be taken taken to the United States for conservation treatment and then returned to Sierra Leone.

One notable visitor to Bunce Island was former US secretary of state Colin Powell, who after a visit in 1991 remarked, "I am an American but today, I am something more. I am an African too. I feel my roots here in this continent."

  • Neyven - 2011-06-25 08:16

    To my knowledge, and it is an accepted viewpoint internationally, the slavers did not go hunting to capture slaves. Their 'brothers' sold them down the river into slavery.

      Robnob - 2011-06-25 08:25

      They will always blame western white man. It is proven here on our doorstep that African man will even kill his mother for R10. - 2011-06-25 08:45

      does that make u sleep better @ night? knock ur self out, but slave trade was still a colonial invention. all the cities you so proud of today, are a result of slavery. when u moan about africans not building anything just spare a thought of what it would be like if they used slavery to build that something.

      DoublySalmon - 2011-06-25 09:20

      Yes every single thing in the world is thanks to black slaves. Nobody in the whole universe could accomplish anything if not for black slaves. It is incredible that you have convinced yourself of this utter crap, but somehow I understand that you believe such far fetched things because the truth, the truth that Africans have accomplished very little is just as unbelievable. No matter where you look there is only destruction, decay, corruption, disease, death, darkness among the slave kind.. You might as well go full circle and believe the sun revolves around your kind and that the world is founded on your shoulders.

      bb - 2011-06-25 09:21

      Please! These blacks still practice slavery today!! But noooo, its the blue-eyed devil that made them do it! Grow up, take some f£$%ing accountability for the actions of your people - just look at the way you treat your own woman and children, savagery.

      Irené - 2011-06-25 10:00

      Can you asses please keep the comments relevant- why do youf eel such a need to share your ignorant and hateful racial views?- you are not contributing to anything positive in this country- so how do you think you are better than the rest. thanks for keeping the hatred alive and well in this country- bloody twats, i hope you dont procreate

      DAB - 2011-06-25 11:48

      @ For your information, slavery was not "a colonial invention", but was practiced firstly by the Egyption pharaohs, the Incas, the Persians, the Romans, etc etc. But then I suppose you are one of those that blame everything on Apartheid. I am suprised you didn't blame slavery on apartheid

      ZACommentator - 2011-06-26 11:09

      No it wasn't Bobby you tool the Muslims were trading slaves way before the Europeans and the Egyptians before that.

      Richard Townley-Johnson - 2011-06-27 10:43

      @ bobbi.. I thought they used the slaves in the wheat fields in America.. Not to build huge skyscrapers?

  • Slapper - 2011-06-25 09:04

    Get over it. Practically every nation in the World has been enslaved at one time or another. Australia was colonised with Irish Slaves after the American revolution stopped the British sending slaves there. British Slaves were even used by the Dutch in South Africa. Stop blaming "Colonials for the pitiful way you still act.

  • Nunya - 2011-06-25 09:46

    Why did they allow themselves to be taken as slaves???.....Oh yes, because the had sticks, stones and skins to protect themselves and the white man came 10 000 Km's in ships with navigational equipment, guns, steel amour and technology....would still have been like that if the white man did not land on your shores.

  • ZACommentator - 2011-06-26 11:08

    If they only knew the problems they would create in future generations they would have left the Africans in Africa, put a fence around it, and revisited in 2400AD

      daaivark - 2011-06-27 07:15

      True to form, a totally insane and disrespectful comment.

  • pawsaw - 2011-06-26 17:23

    This area of Africa was doubly cursed due to slavery because when slavery was abolished and due to human rights activists mainly missiionaries,descendants of freed slaves were lured back to Africa and dumped there. They were Americanised and saw themselves as better than those who had not been taken into slavery and this is part of what causes a lot of conflict in that part of Africa. One can't help feeling that Africa would not have had any problems had the colonialists who went to America actually flocked to Africa instead. The Americans took no prisoners even back then whereas in Africa our ancestors tried to educate them and help them improve themselves and even intermarried with them. There are lots of parallels with Africa and America. Dutch vs English in SA but further North of course other European nations were involved. It's a huge subject but bottom line is that N. Hemisphere is very different to Southern when culture is concerned. I'm not sure that Africa couldn't teach America some things but perhaps the majority is already too Americanised for that to work.

  • cromagnon - 2011-06-27 08:45 - people like you shouldnt comment if they dont know anything about history.

  • ChiJuicy - 2011-06-27 09:19

    It doesnt matter who done it and why...Slavery was an evil act against humanity. Never to be repeated again. But as they say nothing happens for nothing. Would we still have the Obama's of today if it werent for slavery?

  • Shadoz - 2011-06-27 17:49 yes white people where involved and we will be forever sorry for that but what he says is true the ships just picked up the slaves it was the locals who rounded up and captured the slaves and sold them to the slave traders. So i guess that puts us both in the wrong hey? i was not involved or i would be over 300 years old so should we stop blaming and pointing fingers and create a new and good future or would you like to continue living with the hate and get nowhere?

  • tony.delucchi - 2011-12-28 12:37

    ....has anyone taken the time to actually study how many Europeans were stolen from southern Europe and the British isles by arab raiders over the centuries, or how many slaves were part of the Phoenician/Greek/Roman/Turk bounties that their armies forced into labour in homes and on galleys and whatever. I would hazard a guess that it was just as horrendous for them and the numbers might be even more alarming than the entire African slave trade that strangely enough the Europeans put a stop to!

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