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A Coastal City in Benin Restores Monuments from the Slave Trade Era

It is part of a billion-dollar development project aimed at promoting tourism and confronting its role in the slave trade. Part of this past touches upon the Transatlantic Slave Trade of the 1600s that lasted around 300 years as Ouidah — the nation’s coastal town, was a main port from where many Africans were captured and inhumanely shipped abroad. Authorities are renovating the Pendjari National Park in the far north to attract safari hunters, and building several museums of voodoo, an indigenous religion that originated in the Kingdom of Dahomey. Benin has also asked France to return objects looted in colonial conflicts. Visitors can also see portable altars used in ceremonies by the long line of kings of former Dahomey, founded around 1600 and crushed by French colonialists in 1894. The museum houses a church bell brought by Roman Catholic missionaries, together with a sinister selection of chains and other implements used to bind slaves. The renovation of Benin’s Ouidah Fort — which also houses a history museum, is a move to have future generations honour the suffering and celebrate the overcoming of African ancestors.