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Barcelona Beyond Gaudi: A Black History In Barcelona

Hey Black History Travelers!

We all know Barcelona for its stunning architecture and vibrant energy. But did you know this captivating city also holds a complex history regarding the transatlantic slave trade?

I'm headed to Barcelona soon, so of course I wanted to understand more about Black History in Barcelona. I recently stumbled upon a website (https://memoriabcn.cat/en/legacies-of-slavery/) that highlights monuments and buildings tied to both the supporters and abolitionists of the slave trade. Intrigued? Here's a few places to start your exploration.


Walking in the Steps of Abolitionists:

  • Casa de la Contratación (House of Trade): This 16th-century building was the epicenter of Spanish trade, including the slave trade. However, it also housed offices dedicated to regulating the treatment of enslaved Africans. A powerful reminder of the fight for reform within the system.

  • Basílica Santa Maria del Mar (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Sea): Barcelona's seafaring history is undeniable. This stunning basilica, funded partly by maritime trade, serves as a prompt to reflect on the human cost of exploration and commerce.

Confronting Uncomfortable Truths:

  • Arc de Triomf (Triumphal Arch): This iconic landmark celebrates Barcelona's global reach. However, Spain's colonial past, fueled in part by the slave trade, must be acknowledged for a complete picture.

  • Passeig de Colom (Columbus Walk): A stroll down this promenade dedicated to Christopher Columbus offers a chance to contemplate the legacy of colonialism and its impact on African people.

This website isn't just a history lesson, it's a starting point for a powerful conversation. Barcelona's Black community is thriving, and you can support it by exploring local businesses like Blackcelona (a cultural association) or savoring delicious Senegalese cuisine in the El Raval neighborhood.


Remember, Black history is world history, and Barcelona is no exception. So, pack your walking shoes, your curiosity, and get ready to experience a Barcelona beyond the guidebooks!


Do your research: Explore the website mentioned above, and consider seeking out local Black-owned walking tours for deeper insights.



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