A tour of Badagry slave routes and relics

A tour of Badagry slave routes and relics

Happy new year to you all. I pray that 2017 will be the best year ever. My last trip in 2016 was to Badagry. Badagry is a coastal town in Lagos state, Nigeria and it is situated between Lagos and the Seme Border, Benin Republic. It is historically known for been the main port for the exports of slaves from Nigeria to Brazil and other countries during the slave trade era.

I visited the slave museums and learnt a lot about how the African chiefs gave massive support to the Slave traders. I also visited Whispering Palms Resort.

At the entrance of Whispering Palms Resort
Just chilling
You can get coconut water when you visit.

My first visit to the resort was about six years ago and I went with an old friend. We were both catching up on old times so I didn’t even take note or remember how the place was again. I checked online and liked what I saw but when I got there, I was not so pleased. I spent less than  twenty minutes and left to see the slave relics about thirty minutes’ drive away.

I first got to the Brazillian Baracoon (slave cell) which was established in 1840. The slave cells are tiny rooms that housed forty slaves each (just imagine). There were forty cells in the compound but only two have been reserved for tourist. I was not happy that other parts of the building had people living in them. The forty cells should have been left untouched (tongue out).

As at when the slave traders came, the currency used were cowries also known as owo eyo in Yoruba. The slave traders refused to accept this for the business so they resorted to trade by barter. These items here were used for the exchange.
Umbrella was exchanged for 40 slaves, bottle of gin for 10, small canon gun for 40, big canon gun for 100, ceramic bowl for 10 and the mirror and coral beads were for 5 to 10 slaves depending on negotiation.
I don’t even want to imagine the excitement on their faces when they got these things. These Chiefs were the greediest of them all. How can you sell human beings for peanuts?

 

A clearer view of the damn ugly umbrella. This umbrella was used as an accessory by the chiefs.

 

This was the statue of Chief Williams Abass Seriki. He was a captured slave but was trained by his master to read and write. He was released on the condition that he will help the traders facilitate the business when he got back. He had 128 wives and 144 children. His tomb and that of his last child can be found in the compound. The outfit on this statue was a gift given to him by the Brazilian slave traders.

 

These were the chains used on the slaves. Their mouths were padlocked. They had no clothes on except for these chains. A sharp iron when burnt in fire was used to write the names of the slave masters on the back of the slaves. This was done for easy identification.

 

The drinking bowl. This was used by 200 slaves and they had to use their mouths to get the water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A typical negotiation process for the slaves.

 

I joined a family and we took a speed boat across the Lagos- Port Novo lagoon to the ‘Point of No Return’. This place is on Gberefufu Island. As the slaves were paddled to this island, there was no hope of ever returning as the ships on the Atlantic ocean were waiting for them to be transported to their final destinations.

 

This is the Attenuation well. The African chiefs built the well and activated some voodoo in it. The voodoo made them loss their memory for about three months which was usually the duration of the journey.
Each ship depending on the size had 10 to 15 slave traders and about 800 slaves or more. For fear that the slaves may overpower the traders, the voodoo potent worked.
This small structure around the well was not built at that time.

 

At the Atlantic ocean…I wished there was a slave ship there so I could have a feel about how the slaves were cramped into them. 

I took the speed boat back and continued the tour. It is good that all these sites are just a walkable distance from each other except Gberefu Island where one has to take the speed boat.

The First Storey Building in Nigeria was built in 1845. It is estimated to cost 325 pounds. It was built with brimstones but the stairs leading upstairs are made of wood.

 

This well called the Miracle well is right inside the storey building. It is said to have the cleanest water in Badagry as other wells that have been built have salty water. Some indigenes are said to still come here to have some water.
The water was actually very clean from what I saw.

 

This used to be the district office for Lord Frederick Lugard, one of the colonial masters. The event of the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914 was held here.
That amalgamation is the greatest undoing of Nigeria till date (my opinion though).

I cannot comprehend what it must have been to be a slave at that time. Imagine being locked up in a cell with 39 other slaves and those who died of suffocation were just discarded like trash. I visited the Museum of Slavery and Civil Rights in Selma, Alabama and I remember feeling so much disgust for the white slave traders. This trip to Badagry made me feel even worse. If the African chiefs had activated the same voodoo at the attenuation well on the slave traders themselves, I’m sure slavery will not even be a topic but greed took over their wicked souls. How would it have felt for the male slaves who worked inside the masters’ houses and had to be castrated? The inhumanities were just too gross and the African chiefs take 99% of the blame.

It was a great trip and I was glad to have made it. I hope you visit Badagry someday.

Happy new year once again.

 

 

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  1. Hey gotta go to Badagry soon, btw was there any history on Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther? Did you stay at whispering palms? Thanks for this post.

    1. No,I didn’t stay at the resort. I came back that day.
      When you get to the first storey building, there are lots of information about The Bishop. The Bible he translated to Yoruba is there too.

  2. This is very insightful. You truly had a great time dear and I share your sentiments. The Amalgamation was a painful mistake. Am glad Observance of Human Rights Dictates have been Largely enthroned across the world.

    1. Till tomorrow, we will still have to suffer the consequences of the amalgamation.the north and south should how been two individual countries.

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