Slave Trade

This afternoon we took a wander through the streets of Stone Town looking for the former Slave Market, which now sits beneath the Anglican Cathedral.
Zanzibar was the centre of the Slave Trade in East African, first under the Portuguese then under Oman. Both nations exploited the Island as a staging post to ship out African slaves from as far as South Africa, Mozambique, Malaŵi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. These slaves were usually obtained by subterfuge with traders travelling to villages and persuading villagers to come to get better jobs. Many volunteered willingly and often village chiefs were paid well for allowing this. Obviously this was lies and people were sold into slavery in India, Oman, Persia (Iran) where they were not treated well (some men being castrated). In 1873 Livingston (British explorer and missionary) arrived on the island and was shocked to see slavery (having seen it abolished in the UK). He returned to the UK and petitioned (via Oxford and Cambridge Universities) parliament who sent seven warships to the island to back up missionaries who forced the sultan under duress to abolish slavery. Although it continued underground until the 20th Century it was very much weakened.
We were able to visit the two remaining slave rooms (preserved as a record) where up to 60 slaves were held for several days. Our guide showed us the monument to slavery in the church yard and then inside the church. The church was built after slavery was abolished (many former slaves had become Christian) and in spite of the astronomical price the Sultan wanted for the land.




2 responses to “Slave Trade

  1. Isn’t sad that the slave trade still exist in this country, but at least the Authorities deal with it when it comes to light. The gang masters in Lincolnshire ripe people off ,but they are few and far between and are coming to court.


  2. Very thought-provoking and challenging: man’s inhumanity to man.


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