Cape Verde’s Lost Slave Town Unearthed


New archaeological findings have brought to the fore interesting facts about Cape Verde’s lost slave town, Cidade Velha (formerly known as Ribeira Grande), according to CNN.

Using 18th century maps, a team of archaeologists have begun discovering the lost chapters of Cape Verde’s past, including materials used to build the lost slave town, such as marble from Italy and limestone from the Maio Islands.

“To the east we have the home of an army colonel. There is a Jesuit school to the west. There are many structures to be found,”Jailson Monterio, an archaeologist from theInstituto do Patrimonio Cultural said.

“The remnants of the Grao Parar and Maranhao Company are still here. It handled [the] slave trade and business with the African coast.”

Another team of archaeologists from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. have unearthed the first church to be built by Europeans in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“It’s built right on the shore. The water flows right through here,” Monterio says.

The archaeologist adds that the church, just like many other buildings in the lost slave town, was rebuilt multiple times largely due to rainwater damage.

Evidence of Transatlantic Journeys

The ongoing exploration has also led to the discovery of multiple untouched shipwrecks, lying off the coast of Archipelago.

According to the archaeologists, these shipwrecks represent a transitional moment in Cape Verde’s history – the end of slave trade and the start of transatlantic escapades by whalers and traders.

Lack of Funding

However, the archaeologists say they are experiencing a range of hurdles in their exploration, including the fact that many sites on land are now privately owned and permissions aren’t easy to come by.

They’ve also cited lack of funding by the government of Cape Verde as another major impediment.

Monterio says that the lost slave town has a wealth of artifacts to explore and he hopes they can get the needed resources to further their discoveries.

“We already have some idea of what is here. What we don’t know is the scale and magnitude of it,” Monterio said.

See video of Cape Verde below:

Author: Diario CV

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1 Comment

  1. For me, one of the most crucial fact surrounding this project is the presence of Jesuits in Ribeira Grande. It is important to note that the Jesuits played a significant and direct role in support of the trans-atlantic slave trade, and continue to benefit from it to this very day.

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