Island of Gorée
Place in charge of History distinguished by UNESCO, Gorée is at the same time a island of the northern Atlantic Ocean located in bay of Dakar (Senegal) and one of the 19 common of district of the capital.
HistoryWith only 18 Hectare S and a thousand of inhabitants, it testifies of almost six centuries to foreign presence and in particular to the long story to Signares, rich mongrel women, who saved deportation of the thousands of African. The navigator Portuguese Dinis Dias, relative of Bartolomeu Dias, discovers Gorée in 1444 and names it initially Palma . However documents of the time also indicate it under the name of Beseguiche . The Portuguese domination lasts until in 1595.
The Dutch seize Gorée in 1617 and baptize it Goede Reede , “the good roads”, étymon of the current name. The French are established on the island in 1677, but the English dispute this position until the to them Paix of Amiens in 1802.
The treats slaves perdure during three centuries on the African coasts (Gambia, Saint-Louis of Senegal, Bénin, Ghana…). The centers concentrationnaires of the African Esclave S in departure for the America are especially at Saint-Louis, convergence point of the treats négrière European arabo-Moslem woman and . In Gorée the old residence of Anna Colas Pip, known in the whole world under the name of Maison of the Slaves, is a place plus symbolic system that history. Indeed, the passage of the slaves by Gorée was very minority: they embarked directly and discreetly in forts - “ the Factories ” - distributed on all the coast. Nevertheless the name of Gorée remains narrowly attached to this tragic period.
In parallel, trade of the gum, Groundnut, skins, gold of the Galam, spices poor as well as the supply of skilled workers (carpenters, masons…) ensure the economic prosperity of Signares of the island of the 18 century at the 19 century.
With the foundation of Dakar in 1857, at the request of the notable ones of the island, Signares at the head, Gorée loses its importance gradually. In 1872 the French colonial administration creates the two communes of Saint-Louis and Gorée, the first two communes of West Africa on the Western model, equipped exactly with the same statute as the other common Frenchwomen. Dakar, on the continent, fact part of the commune of Gorée, whose administration was on the island. However, as of 1887, Dakar is detached from the commune of Gorée and becomes a commune of full exercise. The commune of Gorée is reduced by it to its small island.
In 1891 the population of Gorée rises with 2.100 inhabitants whereas Dakar counts only 8.737 of them. Nevertheless in 1926 Goréens are nothing any more but 700, whereas the population of Dakar reaches 33.679 people. Thus the fusion of Gorée with Dakar is decided in 1929. The commune of Gorée disappears and Gorée is nothing any more from now on but one small island on the commune of Dakar. Lieutenant Robert Gaffiot publishes in 1933 a work whose title reflects this downgrading well: Gorée, capital déchue .
AdministrationIn 1996 the Parlement decides in favor of a deep reform of the territorial organization of Senegal. Within the framework of this policy of Decentralization, the commune of Dakar, become too extended and too populated, is seen divided into 19 common of district, on which larger capacities are conferred.
For the commune of Gorée it is a kind of resurrection. With the title of " Commune of District of the island of Gorée" , it takes again possession of the buildings of the old town hall in the center of the island, a building which had lodged the town hall of the preceding commune of Gorée between 1872 and 1929.
This new orientation is one of the major achievements of the municipal team, directed successively by Augustin Ly, then Urbain Diagne as from 1975.
Under the mandate of Urbain Diagne, military career and assistant special with the Mayor of Dakar charged with Gorée as from 1980, which will be completed by its political retirement in 2001, Gorée reappears in particular by his classification with the World heritage of UNESCO (1978) with the assistance of his General secretary, the Senegalese Amadou Moctar Mbow and of Abdou Diouf, then Prime Minister of Léopold S. Senghor. The island finds its seal of antan: restoration of the buildings and infrastructure adapted to the architectural standards of origin, Re-fleurissement by the Association of the " Friends of Nature" chaired then by Master Marie-Josée Crespin.
On the medical level, Gorée from now on is equipped with a dispensary renovated by the Sovereign Ordre of Malta, of which Urbain Diagne is Chevalier of grace, member of the single commandery of Africa based in Senegal.
The island is modernized and opened in the world by many twinnings with other cities also in charge of History: Drancy, Rhode Island. Gorée is from now on a meditation and crossing point obliged for the large ones of this world in official visit in Senegal (Jean-Paul II, Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat…).
It becomes also a place of intense cultural activity (jazz festivals, exposures.) and intellectual (University of the Mutants, Soros Foundation, female College of elite Mariama Bâ.). Gorée is then a symbol of ethnic and cultural mixing, mixing with the inhabitants of all the areas of the sphere, and religious tolerance, with the image of the family structure multi-denominational and métissées which lives there. The communities cohabit harmoniously Moslem woman (Sunnite, of which the hermits Baye Fall of rite Mouride), Christian woman, Bouddhiste and Rasta. One can thus see, traditionally, the Imam to assist with the mass of the employers' festival Saint-Charles Borromée or the priest to request with the mosque at the time of the festival of Aïd El Kebir (Tabaski).
From now on the commune of district of Gorée is managed by a Municipal council, democratically elected every five years and of a mayor elected by the members of this Council.
The commune is attached to the district Plateau - Gorée. She belongs to the Département of Dakar in the Région of Dakar.
GeographyAs the crow flies, the closest localities are Dial Diop, Dakar-Plate, Dakar, Bel Air, Thiaroye-on-sea, Mbao, Diokoul, Keuri Souf, Tiawlene, Bargny Guedj, Minam, Yene Tode, Toubab Dialo, Tilène and Keur Dib.
Geological physicsGorée being in the center of the roads that form the southern part of the Peninsula of Cape Verde, with the shelter of the Atlantic winds, it for a long time constitutes a sure shelter for the damping of the ships. Of volcanic origin, this rock island is made of cooled lava, as the use of basalt for various constructions testifies some. It is overhung in the south by a granitic plate. In the handle of Gorée close to the port a small sand beach profits from a clear water and moderate waves. Water is a little fresher there than on the beaches of the continent.
In addition to the landscapes, temperatures varying between 25° and 17° the winter and 24° with 30° the summer, a vegetation in particular made up of Palm tree S, of Baobab tree S, Bougainvillea S and Hibiscus contribute to create a natural framework of most pleasant.
However several buildings are threatened by slow work of corrosion of the sea.
PopulationAs in the Peninsula of Cape Verde, the first inhabitants were Lébous.
Most of the population is Moslem, but the catholics are also present.
At the time of the census of 2002, Gorée counted 979 inhabitants, 164 households and 84 concessions.
End 2007, according to the official estimates, the population would rise with 1.102 people.
Economic activitiesThe first occupants were fishing. Thereafter the island knew a true economic prosperity, in particular related to the trade. Today tourism and its derivatives constitute its main resources.
Inheritance and tourist sitesIn November 1975 the architectural heritage of Gorée is registered on the inventory of the monuments histories of Senegal and since September 1978 it is reproduced on the Liste of the world heritage established by UNESCO.
House of the Slaves
Thanks to the charisma and the perseverance of its conservative, Joseph Ndiaye, the Maison of the Slaves constitutes the required passage of whoever goes to Gorée for the first time. If the real role of the famous pink house - and more generally of the island - in the treats négrière is denounced by many downward researchers slaves.
See also: historical Museum of Senegal with Gorée
Located on the northern point of the island, the historical Museum - attached to the fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) - occupies old Fort of Estrées. It is devoted to the general history of the country, the origins to independence, and particularly with that of the island of Gorée.
Museum of the Woman
See also: Museum of the Woman Henriette Bathily
Arranged in the old residence of a rich person Signare, Victoria Albis, the museum was open in 1994, under the direction of the woman of letters Annette Mbaye d' Erneville. Also place of formation and animation, the museum pays homage to the women of the country, known or not, and gives an account of their daily life.
Museum of the SeaIn the middle of the Bougainvillea S, a large house of the Compagnie of the Indies built at the 18th century shelters the open museum in 1960 by IFAN and entirely restored in 1995. It is famous for its collection of 750 fish species and 700 mollusc species. The ecosystem S and the habitat of the area are also presented there.
Old palate of the GovernorThe former higher commanders of Gorée placed in this palate located at the west of the island. The residence completed in 1864 is left today with the abandonment.
Old William-Ponty School
See also: School William Ponty
The School William Ponty (of the name of the general governor of the French Western Africa William Merlaud-Ponty) was of 1913 with 1937 the federal teacher training school of the AOF. It made of many African frameworks before being transferred to Sébikhotane.
Today closed down, it is on the place of the Government.
Church Saint-Charles-BorroméeLocated at the center of the island, on the street of the Knight of Boufflers, the imposing church Saint-Charles-Borromée is one of the two crowned buildings of Gorée.
As its homonym Austrian - the Church Saint-Charles-Borromée of Vienna - it is dedicated to the Italian cardinal Charles Borromée.
The old church having been burned by soldiers during the Christmas Eve 1799, at the time of the resumption of the island by the English, the catholics of Gorée remained private of church until the completion of this new masonry in 1830, built by the Ordre of Malta. In the interval it is the house of the signare Anna Colas Pip - girl of Nicolas Pépin and niece of Anne Pépin -, who played the part of provisional worship place for the catholics of Gorée. Marriages and baptisms were celebrated there until the completion of the new church. The wrought iron staircase of the platform was molten in the workshops of the French Marine.
Each year the employers' festival of Gorée is celebrated in the church on November 4th, or next Sunday is it is not a question one Sunday.
MosqueGorée has one of the oldest stone mosques of the country. This one was built in 1890, with the foot of the western slope of the Manor house.
A project of installation of the esplanade is in hand. It envisages in particular spaces of relaxation and the integration of the site of artisanal trade located at the bottom of the Manor house.
Manor houseOverhanging the island on his southern point, the Manor house constituted a strategic position and offers today a broad panorama on the continent. Vis-a-vis the west strong the Saint-Michel was built there by the French in 1892. In 1907 one installed a Télémètre making it possible there to measure the distance of the ships in order to regulate the guns. Other side a gun of a range of 14 m allowed France Vichy to run an English boat on September 23rd, 1940. Sabotaged by the French at the time of independence, it had never been used again.
On the plate draws up a small-scale model of the future Memorial Gorée-Almadies, the project of an architect Milan board Ottavio Di Blasi retained in 1999 and who should aim to promote the cultural and architectural heritage symbol of Gorée.
University of the Mutants
See also: University of the Mutants
The University of the Mutants is an international center of meetings and conferences founded in 1979 on the initiative of President Léopold Sédar Senghor and of the writer and philosopher French Roger Garaudy.
Gorée and artsThe attaching atmosphere of an island without cars nor bicycles, let us tons them pastels of its frontages, its pleasant climate, but also the proximity of the capital led many artists to be established in Gorée, temporarily or definitively. Most known is undoubtedly the painter Fallou Dolly and its fixed under glass, but one can also quote Moussa Sakho, Gabriel Kemzo Malou or Sheik Keita. Much of them is installed with the accesses Manor house.
The music is not in remainder. Artists such as Iannis Xenakis, Kassav' or Youssou Dour drew their inspiration there. An opera was dedicated to him in 1966 at the time of the first world Festival of negro Arts. The choral society of the church Saint-Charles-Borromée profits from a certain notoriety.
Scenes of several films were turned within this framework photogenic. History of Adele H. of François Truffaut watch thus Isabelle Adjani - in the role of the desperate girl of Victor Hugo - wandering in the streets in search of an impossible love.
In 2005 took place the first edition of Gorée Diaspora Festival, a demonstration launched by the commune and associating dances, music, visual arts, conferences, sports, carnival and son et lumi2ere displays.
- Stanislas de Boufflers (1738-1815)
- Jean-Baptiste Belley (1746 - 1798), appointed
- Anne Pépin (1747-1837)
- François of Orleans (1818-1900)
- Léopold Angrand (1859-1906)
- Blaise Diagne (1872 - 1934), politician
- E. Dandy (1887 - 1953), actor
- Armand-Pierre Angrand (1892-1964)
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