November 14th, #BunceIsland , in #SierraLeone from 1670 is acknowledged as the major launching point of the Middle Passage to America first settled by English slave traders. Bunce Island (also spelled "Bence," "Bense," or "Bance" at different periods) is the site of an 18th-century British slave castle, or trading site, located in the Sierra Leone #River in the present-day Republic of Sierra Leone in #WestAfrica . 1000s of slaves were shipped from here to the #NorthAmerican colonies of #SouthCarolina and #Georgia , and were ancestors to many #AfricanAmericans of the United States.
Located about 20 miles (32 km) upriver from Sierra Leone's capital city of #Freetown on the #coast , Bunce Island lies in what was later called the "Freetown Harbour", the vast estuary formed by the #RokelRiver and #PortLokoCreek . Although a small island, about 1,650 feet (502.9 m) long and 350 feet (106.7 m) wide, its strategic position at the limit of navigation for ocean-going ships, in Africa's largest natural #harbor , made it an ideal base for #European slave traders.
During its early history the #castle was operated by 2 London-based firms, the #GambiaAdventurers and the #RoyalAfricanCompany of England, the latter a "Crown-chartered company," subsidized by the #British government!! The castle was not commercially successful at this period, but it served as a symbol of British influence in the region. This early phase of the castle's history came to an end in 1728 when José Lopez da Moura, an Afro-#Portuguese competitor in the slave trade, raided #BanceIsland . It was abandoned until the mid-1740s. Bance Island was operated later by two #London -based companies: Grant, Oswald & Company and John & Alexander Anderson, and at that period it was a highly profitable enterprise.
During the 2nd half of the 18th century, the companies sent 1000s of #African captives from Bance Island to British- and French-controlled islands in the #WestIndies and to Britain's #NorthAmerican colonies. The London-based owners grew wealthy from the castle's operations.