New Historian

Remnants of Brazil’s Past Unearthed As They Build Their Future

<![CDATA[As the construction for the World Cup projects continues in Rio, architects have discovered the remains of slave ports that once acted as major trading stations for newly imported African slaves. As Brazil gears up for hosting the world cup, more buildings are being erected to facilitate what is dubbed as the “Greatest Show on Earth”. Among the planned buildings is “The Museum of Tomorrow”, a $100 million futuristic museum designed in the shape of a fish by architect Santiago Calatrava. As the city is being torn apart for the construction of these new projects, evidence of old buildings that once held a significant role in the slave trade has been unearthed. Though the development of the new buildings is still underway, plaques have been installed at the newly discovered ports that many decades ago hosted a thriving slave market. Visitors are now able to see how the then prosperous slave market once functioned. While many debate on the significance of such findings, others still see it as a significantly small issue when compared to the vast amount of benefits to Brazil and its people from the buildings being erected for the World Cup. Many descendants of the slave trade believe that more recognition should be given to these findings as is the norm for other countries who have dedicated museums in honor of their past. Others on the other hand, think that the planned construction is more important as it will be a big boost for the future of the country. The slave trade in Brazil is of significant importance as Rio was one of the largest importers of slaves, surpassing other major cities. The city of Rio is said to have imported more than 21 percent of slaves who landed in the Americas.  The wharves were still functioning up until the 1840’s and was a hotspot for many who came to buy slaves the same way that they would buy goods in a marketplace. It was later buried and used for other purposes. Descendants of the slave trade now settle around this area as squatters, living in slums and favelas. They are now embarking on a quest to obtain proper titles for their homes. Other significant discoveries have been made in Brazil in previous years including the discovery of the Valango wharf in 2011 and the discovery of a mass grave underneath a residential home. In 1996, during a renovation project at the home of a local resident, bones were found that were the result of a dumping ground for dead slaves. It was surmised that more than 20 000 slaves were buried at the site. A significant amount of the Brazillian population is made up of black and mixed races, giving the country the greatest percentage of African descendants in the world, outside of Africa. As the country nears toward the June 2014 World Cup, the planned buildings and expansions around Rio nears completion. Sadly, while the city busies itself with future planning, descendants from the slave trade who feels as if they are still getting a sting from being neglected, believes they should be given something to hold onto in recognition of what is seen as a blemished portion of Brazil’s history.]]>

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