City tours are often a compilation of the most famous, the biggest, most historic, most beautiful—but they seldom address the history of how they got that way unless it involves some colorfully bloody legend. But a new walking tour of Barcelona takes a different tack: exploring the slave-generated wealth that paid for many of the famous sights.
According to historian Oriol López “Es una memoria incómoda – an uncomfortable memory...It’s not taught in schools here and it’s still not something some those in authority want to look at.” López's organization, the European Observatory of Memories, created the tour, which focuses on slavery.
Along the way, it points out that perhaps 10% of the population in medieval times were slaves, and that in the 19th century, much of the new wealth that built Barcelona's moderniste masterpieces came from families whose members had made fortunes from slavery in Cuba and other areas and brought the money home. That includes the Guell family, responsible for several of Gaudi's projects.
Of course, Barcelona is far from the only city whose growth and wealth came through slave-based fortunes. In some places, including Colonial Williamsburg, Liverpool, England and more, there have been serious efforts to explore and explain; in others it's still an "uncomfortable memory."
Photo: In Parc Guell, one of Gaudi's masterpieces.
For more details on this topic, from The Guardian (UK), click HERE