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Sankofa Pilgrimage to Barbados

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Historical ties between Barbados and Liberia will be celebrated and strengthened in May 2024, with a Back2Barbados pilgrimage to Barbados by Liberians with roots on the island. This is a story of exploitation, resilience, and the ultimate triumph of freedom.

Historical Ties

Timeline of the relationship between Barbados and West Africa from the start of the transatlantic slave trade to the relocation of Bajans to Liberia.

The relationship between the island of Barbados and the African continent traces back to the mid-17th century with the transporting of enslaved Africans to the Caribbean islands by Europeans.

By the late 17th century, Barbados was one of the major destinations for enslaved persons, with sugar production driving the demand for labor in the British colony.

The abolition of the slave trade in 1807 marked the official end of the horrendous transatlantic slave trade throughout the British Empire, including to Barbados. However slavery itself was not abolished until 1834, with full emancipation granted in 1838.

In 1865 approx. 50 families, totaling 346 persons, made the momentous journey back to the continent from Barbados – this time a journey of choice and freedom made by descendants of enslaved Africans.

These Barbadian migrants contributed to the cultural and social fabric of Liberia during its formative years. In fact two of Liberia’s presidents – Arthur Barclay and Edwin Barclay – were of Barbadian descent.

The Pilgrimage Back To Barbados

In May 2024, Barbados will welcome Liberians and other Africans of Barbadian ancestry for a special Sankofa pilgrimage. The event promises to strengthen ties, raise awareness, and celebrate the 159th anniversary of the Barbadian settlers journey to Liberia.

Fittingly the pilgrimage takes place during the Season of Emancipation, a time of reflection, education, and celebration commemorating the end of slavery in Barbados.

While in Barbados, visitors will trace their genealogical ties to Barbados, visit historical sights on the island, and celebrate our shared heritage.

“Sankofa” represents the importance of learning from the past, understanding your roots and history, and using that knowledge to guide and shape the future.

Follow the Pilgrimage

Visit for up to date information on the pilgrimage.

Sights of Interest

Rock Hall Freedom Village: site of the first freehold village created by former slaves in 1841.

Newton Slave Burial Ground: the largest and earliest slave burial ground discovered in Barbados.

Emancipation Statue: symbolizing the breaking of the chains of slavery at Emancipation.

Monument to the Barbadian Family: following the Barbadian Family’s journey, past and present.

Golden Square Freedom Park: a place for reflection, education and agitation.

Golden Square Freedom Park

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