Goreé Island

Goreé is a small island of about 18 hectares, located 2 kilometers from the main port of Dakar, Senegal. According to the 2013 census, it had a population of 1,680. Goreé is the smallest and least populated part of Dakar's 19 boroughs. There are frequent ferries between Dakar and the island, the journey takes about 20 minutes.

Goreé Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was among the first 12 places in the world to be so designated back in 1978. Its name is a corruption of its original Dutch name Goedereede, meaning "good anchorage".

Being almost devoid of drinking water, the island was not inhabited before the arrival of Europeans. The Portuguese were the first to build a small stone church here around 1450 and use the land as a cemetery. The island is most famous for its role as a strategic trading post for the transatlantic slave trade. According to some sources, about 20 million African slaves passed through the island and its most famous building, the House of Slaves, which now houses a small museum. And while the true extent of Gore's involvement has been disputed by historians, the island still serves as a symbol of the Atlantic slave trade.

Central Africa lost up to one-third of its population during the early years of colonial rule. Up to a quarter of those taken away died on the way. To reduce this ratio, only strong individuals who could survive a several-month journey below decks were allowed on the ship. Everyone was weighed and, for example, a minimum weight of 60 kg was set for men. Those who did not meet this limit were forcibly fattened or used for slave labor on site. Slaves then boarded ships through the door of no return.

Slavery was the biggest deportation in human history. It affected half of the entire African population. In total, about 100 million people were taken from Africa. This terrible part of history is sometimes referred to as the "African Holocaust". That is why the local museum is also partnered with the Czech Memorial in Terezín.

Important personalities who have visited Goreé include, for example, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and Pope John Paul II. Among the Czech politicians, Václav Klaus, for example, visited the island of Goreé.

Today, Goreé Island is a peaceful and even romantic place. The island has been occupied by artists who offer their works here. You can also walk to the Castel fortress and enjoy a beautiful view of Dakar. You can see the colonial architecture in the colorful streets or sit down in one of the local restaurants and try the excellent local cuisine.