Even more Guadeloupe
13 December 2017 | Pointe a Pitre Guadeloupe
We stayed one more day in Pointe a Pitre especially to visit the Slave Museum. Called "Memoriale ACTe The Caribbean Centre of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery", it was built by the EU, France and Guadeloupe and opened by President Hollande in 2015. It won the global award of Museum of the Year this year. The structure itself was an amazing statement, as the photo shows. It reminded me a little of the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
It traces slavery from Africa from its beginnings to today. It finished with the 2014 UN list of nations of the world with slavery problems. Slavery from Africa continued for three centuries and transported some 12.5 million Africans, but 90% of those were enslaved between 1740 to 1850. The biggest slave trading country was Portugal, followed by Britain, France, Holland and Spain. 10.5 million were taken to the Americas - north, south and the Caribbean.
The stories were sad and cruel. Slave revolts, including the one in Guadeloupe, and the successful one in Haiti, were featured. There was a lot of good modern art related to the theme interspersed among the exhibits. Napoleon was featured prominently as the only person who reintroduced slavery after it had been abolished by France. The continuing troubles in the US were also prominently featured, with a room on segregation and another on the Ku Klux Klan -perhaps this explains the absence of cruise ship passengers in the museum. The upbeat note was the tributes to heroes in the fight for freedom, from the earliest slave rebels to Barack Obama. Even one of my heroines, Rosa Park, was featured. A most educational, revealing and saddening experience.
Tomorrow the island of Marie Galante.