The tourism industry in Senegal and on Goree Island is counting on a big push after US President Obama was calling his visit to the island a “very powerful moment.”
Ile de Goree, i.e., Goree Island, is one of the 19 communes d’arrondissement (districts) of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is a 0.182-square-kilometer (45-acre) island located 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) at sea level from the main harbor of Dakar.
Obama says visiting Goree Island on Thursday with his wife, Michelle, and daughters helps them fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade.
Obama also said that as an African-American and an African-American President, the trip gives him even greater motivation to stand up for human rights around the world. He said the island is a reminder of what happens when those rights aren’t protected.
Its population as of January 31, 2005 was officially estimated at 1,056 inhabitants, giving a density of 5,802 inhabitants per square kilometer (15,028 inhabitants per square mile), which is only half the average density of the city of Dakar. Goree is both the smallest and the least populated of the 19 communes d’arrondissement of Dakar.
Goree is famous as a destination for people interested in the Atlantic slave trade but relatively few slaves were processed or transported from there. The more important centers for the slave trade from Senegal were north, at Saint-Louis, Senegal, or to the south in the Gambia, at the mouths of major rivers for trade.