The Memorial of Anse Caffard

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On April 8th, 1830, a ship approached the coast of Diamant. François Dizac, who managed a plantation in the area, was watching the ship approach and realized that it was too close to the shore line but strong waves prevented him from sending a boat out to warn the captain. Instead, he tried to send out signals, but the captain either did not see the signals or just ignored them. That night, a loud crack pierced the air and shrieks quickly followed. Dizac and a group of slaves saw the ship broken across the rocks, its passengers clinging to its ruins on violent seas. 46 bodies were recovered from the ship the next morning.

While the identity of the ship was never established, we do know that it was a slave trader who was bringing slaves to Martinique. By that time, the slave trade was illegal in Martinique and in France (although slavery itself was still legal). Of the 46 dead, the white slave traders were buried at the Diamant cemetery while their African captives were buried near the shore.

Dizac and the plantation’s slaves managed to rescue 86 people, all of whom were African captives, and they were sent to Fort-de-France. It is unclear what happened to them beyond that.

In 1998, for the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, artist Laurent Valère made this somber memorial to the victims of the wreck. It offers a beautiful view of the Islet of Diamant and reminds us of the high price that was (and still is) paid for the slave trade not just in this wreck or on this island, but all over the world.

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