Brazil’s hidden slavery past uncovered at Valongo Wharf

Rio de Janeiro is a city looking to the future. Major development work is underway in the city’s historic port area as it prepares to host the Olympics in 2016.

But the construction effort to make all that happen has unexpectedly shone a light on a dark side of Rio: its past as the largest entry point for African slaves in the Americas.

In 2011, excavation work uncovered the site of Valongo Wharf, where almost a million African slaves disembarked before the slave trade was declared illegal in Brazil in 1831.

The wharf and the complex surrounding it were constructed in 1779 as part of an effort to move what was regarded as an unsightly trade to an area far from the city centre.

h/t Suzanne