Entrance to an underground room, Bunce Island, Sierra Leone. The room was most likely used for storage rather than for holding slaves.
Between 1750 and 1800, Bunce Island was one of the major slave trading centres on the Rice Coast of West Africa and the island played a significant part in the British slave trade. Its strategic location at the limit of navigation in Africa's largest natural harbour made the island an ideal base for European slave traders. Slaves were purchased from inland traders sailing down from the interior, sold on and then shipped to the Caribbean and the American South. Local slaves from this part of Africa were particularly valued in the British rice plantations of South Carolina and Georgia and as a result, thousands of slaves were shipped directly from Bunce to these colonies. Slave ships from Newport (Rhode Island), New London (Connecticut), Salem (Massachusetts) and New York also regularly called at Bunce. Because of this direct connection between the island and the USA, Bunce Island is though to be one of the most significant historical slave trade sites for African Americans today...Bunce Island is now a National Historic Site and protected by the Sierra Leone government. Some restoration and clearing work has already taken place and the site has been mapped by the US Parks Service. The island has also been the scene of several 'home comings' by members of the Gullah community - descendants of slaves transported through Bunce to South Carolina and Georgia.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download