Old Slave Quarters

Sri Lanka was a nation that was under the governing of three different colonial rules; namely, the dutch, the Portuguese and the British. As a tourist, during your visit to the island of Sri Lanka, wherever you go you will come across massive and magnificent colonial buildings, with stunning architectural fare and complex engineering undertaking. Though these buildings are being treated as monuments and sites of great historic significance today, there is something dark and ominous looming behind their past. If you think about the construction of these sites you can’t help but wonder how these might have been built during a time where heavy machinery was completely absent. Then you might get the question not how, but who must have built these structures – slaves is the answer to this question!

Though it might have to been mentioned in many guides and other materials you may have come across while you did your research about the country, this is a well-known fact that people fail to notice when visiting Sri Lanka. It has been speculated that over 15 000 Africans, were brought into the island by the dutch and they were forced into working on many construction projects that were carried out by the colonisers. One such notable feature that involved the use of a massive amount of forced labour is the Galle Fort. It is evident that slaves were used in building this site and it could be seen at the structure known by the name Old Slave Quarters. Located in proximity to the fort, this place was used to forcefully accommodate slaves. At the site, you could see that the allotted space for each of these people was very narrow and cramped; it is conclusive that the people were treated as prisoners rather than workers.

This site today has become a stark reminder of a horrid past that the European colonies endured. Though visiting this site might make you sad and uneasy, it is an essential step in knowing the world better by studying its past. It will also offer you knowledge and insight so that such dark pages of history would never repeat itself!

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