The Villèle historical museum is located at the heart of a site emblematic of a specific period in the history of Reunion, that of the plantation society that centred around the growing of coffee, cotton and sugar-cane.
Set up in the late 18th century by the Panon-Desbassayns spouses, the Villèle estate evokes a way of life where the prosperity of the masters was dependent on the work of slaves.
In line with its scientific and cultural focus, the Villèle museum now defines itself as a museum representing the history of both the estate and of slavery on Reunion. In this respect, it offers visitors the experience of immersion in the life of a 19th-century colonial property, as well as proposing tools enabling them to understand the period of slavery.
In this age of digital communication, the museum has set up a website dedicated to these topics. It was inaugurated on 20th December 2018, for the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Reunion.
The website is an important addition to the museum’s cultural offer and acts as a specialised resource centre. It currently contains 46 articles written by researchers (historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, ethnologists, economists and jurists).
A living tool for transmitting knowledge, it is constantly updated through new contributions. With this in mind, each year specialists are asked to provide new articles.
In order to link up the Villèle museum to places and establishments evoking the history of slavery and the slave trade around the world, in 2019 was launched the English version of our website entitled ‘The Plantation society, history and memory of slavery on Reunion.’
On 20 December 2021, we publish the Portuguese version and thus open the “Slavery Portal” to the Portuguese-speaking world.