Exploring Tourism in Ghana
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Salaga Slave Market

Tamale, Ghana

One hundred and twenty kilometres to the southwest of Tamale is Salaga, the capital of the Gonja East District which used to be the biggest slave-trading center in Northern Ghana.

The original slave market was moved south from Salaga to a settlement called Kafaba. Unfortunately, much of Kafaba is now under the Volta Lake. Salaga has a pond called “Wonkan bawa” (a Huasa word meaning “the bathing place of slave”) and a young Baobab tree in what used to be the Slave Market.

This existing Baobab is a replacement for an original tree to which slaves were chained and displayed as wares for sale. Merchants from farther north and the forest regions of the south would come and barter salt, cola nuts, cowries, gold, and Europeans drinks for slaves. This historical market presently doubles as a public transportation terminal.

Salaga was an international trade centre and had seven other markets. Wells, which served as water supply sources for the township, and the large migrant trader population and relics such as slave chains can also be found in Salaga. Slave dormitories and other transit housing have been demolished and replaced with new residential dwellings. The chains and other related artefacts are in private possession of some residents and there are few sites of the slave market available to visitors.

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