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National Museum Of Slavery

Luanda, Angola

The museum was founded in 1977 by the National Institute of Cultural Patrimony, with the objective of depicting the history of slavery in Angola. The museum adjoins the Capela da Casa Grande, a 17th-century structure where slaves were baptized before being put on slave ships for transport to the Americas.

The museum displays hundreds of items utilized in the slave trade and is located in the former property of Álvaro de Carvalho Matoso, captain of the presidio of the Forte de Ambaca, Fortaleza da Muxima, and Forte de Massangano in Angola, and one of the largest slave-traders on the African coast in the first half of the 18th Century. Matoso died in 1798, and his family and heirs continued in the slave-trade until 1836, when a decree by Maria II of Portugal prohibited the export of slaves from the Portuguese Empire.

At Morro da Cruz, a house rises, white and austere, as in the days of D. Álvaro de Carvalho Matoso, captain of Granadeiros, admiral of the Naus Lusitanas das Índias, knight of the Order of Jesus and slave trader. We arrived at the Slavery Museum

Heat waves distort the landscape, the stones themselves seem to perspire. In the distance, the huge Mussulo language separates the sea from outside the sea from inside.

Casa Grande stands out on the way to Barra do Kwanza, but few make the detour to visit it. And yet, its chapel is home to one of the most significant museums in Angola: the National Slavery Museum.

This hill is the memory of the five million luangos, malimbés, cabindas, congos, ngolas, mundongos, matambas and benguelas who lost their lives thanks to the relentless network of slave trade.

Slaves were mainly imprisoned in the interior of Angola, chained and marked with hot iron, to be easily recognized in the event of an escape. Then they started a long and painful walk to one of the coastal ports, in a caravan, tied up like cattle, before heading to the New World.

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