Gambia: Slave Island
This is the most blood-stained Island on the Vest African coastline
- James Island!
The Spanish Captain points with his knife roaring to the rower.
- Ci ci, captain, the black rower answers.
two hours under the hot sun from the Gambian capitol Banjul 20 miles up
the mighty Gambia River I see the horror island coming out of the mist.
With it's fort ruins and with the rusty cannons from the times of the
slave ships to USA.
is the most blood-stained Island on the Vest African coastline: More
than three hundred year ago 2000 slaves per year was shipped out from
James Island on board the horrible slave ships. Many of them died
before they got to USA. James Island was once a strategic trade centre
controlling the trade on the Gambia River: Europeans exchanges their
goods with gold, ivory, ebony and slaves.
Kinte from the famous novel "Roots" by Alex Haley lived in the little
Gambian village Juffure on the bank of this river. He was ship out to
slavery in USA from this Island.
the island is not habited. Like a ghost island it comes closer when the
ship sails up to the old harbour made for the sail ships more than 500
Portuguese occupied the Island in 1456. At that time the island was six
times bigger than today. Gradually the river eats up the island. The
island was first called St. Andrews Island because Andrew was the first
European soldier to be killed here. The island kept this name for 200
years. The British, the French and the Swedish ruled this island during
its most horrible history.
The tide makes it impossible to take the ship to the island today: The small boats are lowered.
- Sharks! one of the passengers cries.
- Not sharks, but dolphins, the rower cries back - They followed us up the river.
-Are there crocodiles on the island?
- Usually not. They are normally further up the river.
small boats take the tourist ashore: They walk around the island
investigating the ground: The old trees still have messages for the
slaves. The old fort wall and cannons makes you shiver. Imagine the
enormous amount of tragedies taking place here.
- Look here!
pick up small bit of the old history for souvenir: Iron from the
chains, leather from the ropes. Things that should have been on a local
museum are robbed from this island every day now. Like the river
tourists eat up the island more and more each year. Every year the
river digs up more history for the tourists to steal.
like the people of Africa once was stolen for their country - the
history is now gradually stolen every year. The crew on board the ship
don't care: It's tourist business as usual.
Gambia is a poor country. They can't afford to take care of this history: One of the worst tragedies in the history of mankind.