An interesting day in Stone Town Zanzibar
I took a step back in time yesterday with a visit to the Historic Stone Town. I was captivated by the narrow walkways and stone buildings with residents sat outside selling their wares. However what really caught my attention was a visit to the former Slave market where I had a guide to take me around and tell me all about the symbolic history of the Slave Market in Stone town.
The slave trade in Zanzibar originated under Portuguese rule when the area was mainly Christian. In 1698 Zanzibar came under the control of the Sultanate of Oman and it was during the rule of the Sultanate that the Slave trade grew and developed into one of the biggest slave markets in West Africa. The religion changed from Christianity to Muslim which is what the island mainly is today.
Zanzibar is of great importance in the suppression of slavery as it was one of the main markets in East Africa but also where David Livingstone based himself in the campaign against slavery.
Initially men, women and children were captured on the African mainland and forced to carry Ivory to the Coast. The Slaves that survived were then transferred to Zanzibar and put to work in the spice plantations or sold mainly to the middle East but also to Mauritius, Seychelles , North America and Europe.
Zanzibar is of great importance in the suppression of slavery as it was one of the main markets in East Africa but also where David Livingstone based himself in the campaign against slavery. David Livingstone first came across the Slave Trade in 1840’s and appalled by the horrors of what he saw he started sending reports back to the British Government. David Livingstone’s reports were influential causing great concern to the British Government. With the help of the British Government, David Livingstone and the third Bishop of Zanzibar Edward Steere the Zanzibar Slave market was closed in 1973 and the legal slave trade outlawed on 1977 although it did continue for about 11 years after.
I was fascinated to hear the story having come across David Livingstone when he was the first European to discover the Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe naming the after the Queen of England at the time hence the name Victoria Falls. I had no idea that he was also involved in the abolishing the slave trade.
Although fascinated by the history and the importance I felt a sense of eeriness while in the pits and could not even begin to imagine the true horrors of what the captive men and women endured…
Now on the site of the former slave market there is a school and a church built to celebrate the end of the slave trade. I was taken and shown 2 remaining slave holding areas which could only be described as dark pits underground which were washed out but the sea twice a day when the tide came in. Up to 75 people were held in these pits awaiting to be sold, with no sanitary or food. The slaves were whipped with tree branches to establish the price they were worth. If they did not cry or whimper at the whipping the price went up if the did the price went down. Although fascinated by the history and the importance I felt a sense of eeriness while in the pits and could not even begin to imagine the true horrors of what the captive men and women endured…
Now Stone town is a peaceful place with tourism, local markets and small shops making a hub of activity. A far cry from its gruesome past…
Kristina Yorkshire Escort xx