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Gambia

Slave Island

This is the most blood-stained Island on the Vest African coastline 

 Visiting Gambia:
Gunnar Christensen

 - James Island!
The Spanish Captain points with his knife roaring to the rower.
- Ci ci, captain, the black rower answers.

After 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.

Blood-stained
This 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.

Kunta Kinte
Kunta 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.

Today 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 years ago.

The 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
- 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.

The 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.

Camera click.
- Look here!
- Unbelievable!

Robbed
Tourists 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.

Just 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.

 

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The Spanish Captain points with his knife roaring to the rower.

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