Salaga slave market – Tourist Site in Ghana

by Kojo Pocu
Tourist sites in Northern region

You’ve certainly heard a lot about the cruel 19th century slave trade between Africa, Europe, and the Americas, in which Africans were kidnapped and brought to the Americas as cargo to work on plantations and factories.

Slavery did exist in Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries, however it was conducted in far more humane conditions than the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Salaga, notably the Salaga Slave Market, is home to one of the few remaining pieces of evidence of the slave trade in Africa prior to the 19th century.

The Salaga slave market, in Salaga, the administrative center of the Gonja East district in the Northern Region, used to be an important West African city where traders from the north met with traders from the south to barter in commodities such cowries, beads, textiles, animal hides, and gold.

However, by the late 18th century, the nature of trade in Salaga had shifted to include the exchange of people for goods. People were sold to northern African traders in return for commodities such as cowries, exquisite textiles, and leather.

The northern traders who preferred to be paid in humans mainly used them as home helpers or assistants to help them with their day-to-day commercial activity. There were no brutalities or violence because the sold slaves were normally treated nicely.

The Salaga slave market moved its concentration from trading with traders from the north to trading with Europeans who offered more for their captives after the entrance of Europeans in the eighteenth century and the start of the dreaded Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Salaga slave market is now a pale shell of its former glory, devoid of dynamic commercial activity and transformed into a car park. Salaga also has additional slave monuments, such as a notable slave cemetery and a slave storehouse, in addition to the slave market. Slaves were housed and held captive in the slave warehouse until they were moved to coastal districts and sold to Europeans living along the coasts.

Salaga, a town historically noted for its slave trade and vitality as a West African commercial center, is a must-see for any tourist interested in learning more about slavery and how slave marketplaces and centers appeared.