“Freed Cuban Slaves on Fernando Poo.”

Everyday, as a walk from my hotel along the road over-looking the Port of Malabo to the downtown area, only a short distance away, I pass a small monument dedicated to “Freed Cuban Slaves.”  I often stop to read the engraved stone and practice my Spanish translation skills… but never did I give the monument too much thought.  Well this week, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do a little research.

I knew slaves were forced to board slave ships in the port and were eventually sent to the Americas, but how did freed slaves become part of the island’s history over 100 years ago?

When you mention slavery, most people will think of the forced oneway trip many African’s took from Africa to the Americas hundreds of years ago.  Few people are familiar with the trip many freed slaves took in the 1800s from the Americas, back to Africa.  The Island of ” Santa Isabel,” later called “Fernando Poo,” and currently called “Bioko,” played an important role in the history of the slave trade, both in supporting it and eventually in helping abolish it.  When slavery was abolished in the British Empire in the early 1800s, the Royal Navy needed a port from which they could begin to interdict slaving ships.  The strategically well located Island of “Bioko” would become the ideal home port for the British Fleet.  The Port City would briefly become known as “Port Clarence,” now called Malabo.  From Port Clarence, the British Fleet could re-suppy their ships involved in stopping the slave trade.  The Island also became an important stop for many freed slaves from the Americas on their way back to the African Continent in the 1800s.  Many of the freed slaves eventually stayed on the Island and now make up part of the diverse population of Bioko Island.

Below are a few pictures of a small monument erected by the Cuban Embassy in memory of the freed Cuban Slaves that returned to the Island of Bioko in the 1800s.  The monument overlooks the Port of Malabo, formerly “Port Clarence” when the British Fleet used the port to support its anti-slavery operations.

Above, the inscription reads;

“In memory of the Cubans deported in the 19th Century
to the Island of Fernando Poo
28 May 1869
The Cuban Embassy in Equatorial Guinea

Above, the small monument over-looks the Port of Malabo.

Below, the Port of Malabo.