Presentation on theme: "VISIBLE SYMBOL OF MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN. INTRODUCTION Bunce Island is situated about 20 miles from Freetown (Sierra Leone’s capital) on the Sierra Leone."— Presentation transcript:
INTRODUCTION Bunce Island is situated about 20 miles from Freetown (Sierra Leone’s capital) on the Sierra Leone River. One of 40 major slave castles in West Africa during the period of the European Slave Trade. Many European countries fought for control of the island, but the British dominated and Bunce Island became their largest slave castle in West Africa.
LOCATION Bunce Island was the limit of navigation for ocean-going vessels. Became a major meeting point for European slave traders and their Sierra Leonean counterparts. The British operated the island from the 1660s to 1807.
BUNCE ISLAND’S HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE Over 50,000 enslaved Sierra Leoneans passed through Bunce Island to North America and the West Indies. But the vast majority landed in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to boost the local economy, which was dependent on rice cultivation. Of all the slave castles in West Africa, Bunce Island has the strongest link to the United States of America.
BUNCE ISLAND’S HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE Most African-Americans today trace their roots to Sierra Leone. Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Collin Powell visited Bunce Island in 1991. He remarked: “I am an American...But today, I am something more.... I am an African too....I feel my roots here in this continent.”
BUNCE ISLAND’S HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE A distinct African-American group – the Gullah – (living today on the coast of South Carolina and Georgia) have enduring family and cultural ties with Sierra Leonean ethnic groups. Since the late 1980s members of the Gullah community have visited Sierra Leone and Bunce Island to reconnect with their past.
BUNCE ISLAND TODAY Bunce Island was closed down in 1808, a year after Britain outlawed the slave trade for its nationals. Today the island lies in ruins. In 1948 Bunce Island became Sierra Leone’s first officially protected historic site. It is under the protection of the Sierra Leone Monuments and Relics Commission.
BUNCE ISLAND COALITION There have been several attempts to reconstruct Bunce Island for historical and touristic purposes. The Bunce Island Coalition (Americans and Sierra Leoneans) have secured $5 million for the historical preservation of Bunce Island. Initial work started early this year.
GOALS OF THE PRESERVATION PROJECT Stabilise the ruins. Build proper historical park that tells the full story of Bunce Island. Build a sea wall to halt further erosion of the island. Construct basic facilities in the island. Build a museum in Freetown. The project, when completed, will further illuminate an important if negative phase in African-American history and relations.