Salaga Slave Market is an 18th-century slave market located in the East Gonja District of northern Ghana.
One of Ghana’s major tourist attractions is the Elmina Castle on the former Gold Coast. Built in 1482 by the Portuguese, its white-washed facade looms over the Atlantic Ocean, now an unfortunate relic of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
From these shores, an estimated 25 to 30 million slaves from across West and Central Africa were shipped off to plantations across the seas in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. The Portuguese were the first to engage in the Atlantic slave trade, completing a voyage to Brazil in 1526. However, there is a place deep in the heart of the Northern Region of Ghana where few ever make it, and it is there where a slave’s journey truly began.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Salaga was one of the most important market centres in West Africa where they traded in everything: kola, beads, ostrich feathers, animal hide, textiles and gold.
However, from the 18th to the 19th century, Salaga became the biggest slave market where humans were sold or exchanged for cowries. The town became a well-known slave market in the sub-region.
During the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Salaga served as an important market where slaves were transported to the coast for export. The market also served as outposts for the movement of slaves along the trans-Saharan routes
Apart from the Salaga slave market, the town could also boast other slavery monuments and relics, including the Salaga Slave Cemetery, slave warehouse, drinking wells, chains, iron shackles and spears.
The slave warehouse, for instance, is believed to have been used as a temporary place where the slaves were housed before they were transported to the coastal areas for shipment by the slave merchants.