Tourist Attraction in Rio de Janeiro: Cais do Valongo
Cais do Valongo is an old dock located in the port area of Rio de Janeiro, between the current Coelho and Castro and Sacadura Cabral streets. It was awarded the title of World Heritage by UNESCO on July 9, 2017 because it is the only material vestige of the arrival of Africans enslaved in the Americas. Built in 1811, it was the site of landing and trading of African enslaved until 1831, with the ban on the transatlantic slave trade. During the twenty years of its operation, between 500 thousand and one million of enslaved landed in the pier of Valongo. In 1843, the dock was renovated for the landing of Princess Teresa Cristina de Bourbon-Duas Sicílias, who was to marry the emperor D. Pedro II. The berth was then called the Empress Pier. Between 1850 and 1920, the area around the old quay became a space occupied by black slaves or freedmen of several nations - an area that Hector of Pleasures called Little Africa. Until the mid-1770s, the enslaved landed at Praia do Peixe, now Praça XV, and were traded in Rua Direita (today Rua 1º de Março), in the center of Rio de Janeiro, in plain view. In 1774, a new legislation established the transfer of this market to the region of Valongo, on the initiative of the second Marquês de Lavradio, Dom Luís de Almeida Portugal Soares de Alarcão d'Eça and Melo Silva Mascarenhas, viceroy of Brazil, alarmed at "the terrible custom of as soon as the blacks disembark in the port coming from the African coast, to enter the city through the main public roads, not only loaded with numerous diseases, but naked." The market was transferred, but the anchorage had not yet been found, and the alternative found was to disembark the slaves at the customs and immediately send them by boat to Valongo, from which they would jump directly on the beach. In 1779 the slave trade finally settled in the Valongo area, where it reached its height between 1808, with the arrival of the Portuguese royal family, and in 1831, when the slave trade to Brazil was banned, being made clandestinely. From 1808 traffic almost doubles, accompanying the growth of the city that, after the transfer of the Portuguese court to Brazil, goes from 15 thousand to 30 thousand inhabitants. However, it was not until 1811 that the wharf was built, passing the landing directly to Valongo. From 1811 to 1831, between 500,000 and a million slaves arrived there. In the late 1820s, the slave trade to Brazil was at its peak. Rio de Janeiro was then an important trading post of enslaved people, and Valongo was the main gateway for blacks from Angola, East Africa and Central West - while in Maranhao and Bahia ships arrived from Guinea and West Africa, respectively. In 2011, during the excavations carried out as part of the revitalization works in the port area of Rio de Janeiro, the two anchorages - Valongo and Imperatriz - were discovered, one on top of the other, and along with them a large number of amulets and objects worshipers from the Congo, Angola and Mozambique.