Benin: Route des Enslaves in Ouidah

Route des Enslaves or Slave Route is a 4km road in the historic town of Ouidah where thousands upon thousands of slaves travelled toward the ocean where they were loaded in ships en route to the New World. More then half of all the slave trade by Portugal from West Africa went through Ouidah. There are a number of monuments along the route and statues depicting traditional Vodun gods and symbols. There are also monuments like the slave auction square (where slaves were bid on and purchased), the Tree of Forgetting (where slaves walked around a tree so that they would forget their true home), the Tree of Return (so that their spirits would return home), and the Memorial of Remembrance. The Portuguese actually traded slaves with the Ouidah African kings who sourced them by conquering the Abomey kingdom in the north. And later on, some of the slaves returned from Brazil and established slave trading themselves.