If you visit Bagamoyo now it is not more than a big village that lives on fishing, but in the past it has been much more. And much worse. Slavery again. Slavery and ivory.


Arab Fort

It became one of the most important points for these trades: the exchanging goods were fabrics and beads.

The name of the place in the local language means ‘leave your heart’: probably referring to the heart of the slaves who would have never seen this land again.

This commerce brought richness to the city so the Germans made it the first capital of the German East Africa.

It didn’t last so much, the capital was moved to Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo started its decline.

This period left a number of buildings that testify its past: the old Arab Fort, where slaves were kept and chosen, the old German Boma for the administration and Liku house from which the German government ruled the area.

But Bagamoyo is also the witness of the passage of some very famous missionaries and explorers. Burton and Speke started their expeditions from here looking for the source of the Nile. Stanley left Bagamoyo searching for Doctor Livingstone. And the body of Livingstone himself arrived here carried by his two servants after an eight months trip from Zambia in May 1873. He rested one night at the Holy Spirit Mission before being brought back to England for his funerals.

It is very interesting to visit Bagamoyo. You can breath history. The people are very quite, the streets not so busy any more. Nowadays going to the historical monuments is a way of living first hand what has passed here. A way to try to understand what those people, millions of them, could have felt in the same places, the same streets.

Or how the explorers felt, how excited they were in their search. All their hopes, the harshness of the land and of a trip in those times. I cannot even imagine theis feelings.

While I walk and take time in my visits I try to visualize people, furniture, dialogues, life in general. Very fascinating. A place I recommend to everyone. A deep dive into the past, sometimes glorious, sometimes not.