Graves of 5,000 African Slaves Found on Atlantic Island

Graves of 5,000 African Slaves Found on Atlantic Island

Bristol University archaeologists unearthed the burial site of 5,000 freed African slaves on Saint Helena, an island 1,000 miles off the coast of southwest Africa. The British Royal Navy used the island between 1840 and 1872 as a base of operations in campaigns to intercept slave traders. 26,000 slaves were rescued and brought to refugee camps on the island, and those who did not survive were interred there.

The burial ground was found during excavations before construction of a new airport. An exhibition of artifacts from the site will be at the International Slavery Museum next year.


“Archaeologists find graves containing bodies of 5,000 slaves on remote island,” The Guardian

 Infernal Traffic: Excavation of a Liberated African Graveyard in Rupert’s Valley, St Helena, Andrew Pearson, Ben Jeffs, Annsofie Witkin & Helen MacQuarrie, CBA Publications 2011

Note: The Island’s name may sound familiar. The British exiled Napoleon Bonaparte to Saint Helena after Waterloo, and he died there in 1821.


Short Link:

Map: Cvdr, Saint Helena work group, WikiProject Africa.

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