Zanzibar: They did not only trade spices…

Zanzibar was East Africa’s main slave entrepot port until 1873, when the British Parliament voted to abolish slavery and persuaded the Sultan to render it illegal on the island.

We make a disturbing visit to the old slave market, now the site of Zanzibar’s Anglican Cathedral. We visit a chamber, probably 300sqft in size, used to keep as many as 75 slaves for the night until they are auctioned at the market. Slaves used to be whipped to determine their price. Those who would resist screaming the longest would fetch the highest price.

The Cathedral was built in 1874 to commemorate the abolishment of slavery in Zanzibar. Its crucifix is carved from a branch of the tree in Northern Rodhesia (now Zambia) under which the explorer (and anti-slavery advocate) Dr. Livingstone’s heart is buried.



1894 memorial to slavery