The colorful island of Gorée is located 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) from the west coast of Dakar, the bustling capital of Sénégal. It is approximately 45 acres (18.2 hectares) in size, home to roughly 1000 inhabitants, and can be reached every day by a 20 minute ferry ride.
As one of Sénégal's most favored haunts, Gorée possesses all the amenities of Dakar (electricity, running water, restaurants, museums, art, sports, dance, music, and a cyber cafe), but exudes a charming and relaxed atmosphere typical of many small tropical islands (see images of the island at images/art).
The history of Gorée is long and eventful, but it is best known as a significant port-of-call during the Atlantic slave trade. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to occupy the island, followed by the Dutch, and then the French. Large numbers of slaves were reportedly brought from the mainland and transported to the Americas for labor, primarily on plantations in the southern United States, the Caribbean Islands, and Brazil. Determining the extent of this trade is one of the main research questions of archaeologists Ibrahima Thiaw (see Archaeology) and Raina Croff (Contributing Research).