Portuguese 18th century slave ship discovered off Cape Town coast

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Portuguese 18th century slave ship discovered off Cape Town coast

History will always be fascinating and trying to erase it is never a good idea. But have we learnt or discovered everything there is to know?

Well Archaeologists from around the world believe that they might have hit the jackpot confirming the first ever discovery of a sunken slave ship.

The Sao Jose-Paquete de Africa, a Portuguese slave ship, sank off Cape Town on its way from Mozambique to Brazil in 1794, while carrying more than 500 slaves. It is believed that most of the slaves drowned in the violent waves and for those who survived were resold in the Western Cape.

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So far, only a few remnants have been retrieved from the wreck site, a turbulent spot located between two reefs. Iziko Museums of South Africa are expected to formally announce the breakthrough in Cape Town on Monday. The Slave Wrecks Project, founded in 2008, uncovered shackles, an iron ballast which helped weigh down a ship that carrying human cargo and a wooden pulley block.

“The Sao Jose slave shipwreck site reverberates with historical significance and represents an addition to our underwater heritage that has the potential to advance knowledge and understanding of slavery, not only at the Cape but on a global level,” said Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums, in a statement.

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The ship was first discovered by treasure hunters but unfortunately they recorded it as a Dutch vessel. When archaeologist Jaco Boshoff discovered an account from the captain back in 2010 and 2011 it sparked a new interest in the site.

Investigations is still ongoing and archaeologists are hoping to find relics that can shed light of descendents who were on board.

An exhibition entitled “Slavery and Freedom” will open at the African American History and Culture Museum in the fall of 2016.

Read full story here – CNN

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