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goreeislandmoxon.jpg Goree Island or Ile de Goree as it is known locally, is a small island off the coast of Dakar, the capital of Senegal in West Africa. The island is a major tourist attraction in West Africa because of the role it played in the slave-trade. An old Dutch slave house on the island has been turned into a museum and offers a glimpse into the horrific conditions slaves had to endure before they embarked on their (equally difficult) journey across the sea to the Americas.

Goree Island has become an important place of pilgrimage for African-Americans in particular. Although there is debate about the actual numbers of slaves that may have passed through the island and the Slave House in particular, its symbolic significance is nevertheless extremely important and offers a focal point for people to pay their respects and reflect on their heritage.

Goree Island is a really pleasant place to visit. It's an easy daytrip from Dakar, much more relaxed than the bustling city and there are several places to stay. Heritage tours from the US are readily available but you can easily travel there independently. For more travel information see my Guide to Goree Island.

Thanks to Mark Moxon for the use of his image of La Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves)

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