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Discover >>The road of slaves


This tree had a spiritual function in the slave trade. Thus, on leaving the parking of ZOMAÏ, slaves sold to European traders turn three times around the tree. This symbolic ceremony meant that the spirit or soul of each slave would return to the homeland of Africa when he dies while crossing the Atlantic Ocean or the Americas. This return was mystical, not physical.


At the location of this statue was from the reign of King Agadja (1711 - 1742) a sealed box. The bartered slaves were jailed for a few days. This was painful and disorienting for all attempts to escape or revolt which they could deliver. Similarly, the sequestration prepared them for the promised dark life in the holds of slave ships.


When parking slaves, some of them were killed. At the end of this stay of sequestration, the bodies of the dead were gathered and thrown into a mass grave dug here during the reign of Agadja (1711 - 1742). Thus, the memorial was erected on this ZOUNGBODJI grave. This justifies today the sacred character of this place.


At the location of the mermaid statue was planted around 1727 by King Agadja (1711 - 1742) a tree. This was a spiritual function in the slave trade. Thus, going to the slave ships, bartered slaves stopped here for ritual. Men turned nine times around the tree while the women seven. This ceremony was to prevent them mystically to remember their cultural identity and landmarks in their country.


From the 1800s, whenever European traders (French, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, etc.) bought the slaves at CHACHA PLACE, they convoyed them to this house. These slaves destined for shipment to the Americas were marked to allow each trader to recognize his own later. Indeed, using predesigned and heated by fire metal, the original name of the trafficker was systematically put back to its "human products". This was always painful for the slaves that can hurt as well.


The Europeans had shown their presence in the Gulf of Guinea since the fifteenth century. With the signed authorization of Pope Nicolas V, they could officially practice the slave trade from January 8, 1454.
Early in the nineteenth century, it was under this tree located in the PLACE CHACHA that stood the public auction. Thus, all slaves for sale in Dahomey were brought. Traffickers (France, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, etc...) bartered them against trinkets. It was mostly mirrors, liquor, guns, gunpowder, tobacco, cloth balls, pipes, etc..


Inhabited by FON after the conquest of the kingdom of SAVI and Ouidah occupation in 1727 by King Agadja (1711 - 1742), the Ahossi house was a space linked to the slave road. Thus, it served as shelter and sorting of slaves of Yoruba and Maxi origin. They were divided into categories of importance. Women were separated from men. The youth were taken out of the old and children. The patients were away from healthy people, etc..


TCHIAKPE was an aborigine Hweda whom the king KPENGLA (1774 - 1889) inducted around 1775 as a traditional leader. The monarch also did of his house a place of welcome and gathering slaves. Thus, the convoys of slaves coming from the direction of SAVI marked a stop in which slaves were treated before being sold. Patients could be retained until their recovery. With this function related to the slave trade, the relatives of TCHIAKPE still conserving slave’s handcuffs and chains.


YOVOGAN (white leader) defended the Dahomey king’s interests and managed at OUIDAH relations with Europeans. The kingdom knew eleven successive YOVOGAN.
HOUNNON Dagba was a descendant of AWESSOU (wise from Abomey) that King Guezo (1818 - 1858) appointed as YOVOGAN. He received a special mission in the management of the slave trade. He signed in 1868 and 1879 treaties granting COTONOU to FRANCE. Vodun cult leader, he ordered the city organizing ceremonies from Abomey. He settled initially in Agoli headquarter, but in 1895 the colonial administration install him in GOMEY.


After the conquest of SAVI kingdom by Agadja (1711 - 1742) in 1727, the crossroad of the kpassè market materialized the entry of slaves in Ouidah. Coming in a caravan from SAVI, they marked a halt, during which their companions performed a welcome ritual ceremony. After that, the music of distress a song of woe starts warning people escorting the convoys of slaves. Now, residents were required to retreat into their homes. Anyone who heard this music and ventured to watch the convoys were routinely incorporated into slaves.


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