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Slave's Route: The Museum of Limonar

Slavery, a phenomenon that boomed during the Spanish colonial period, left a deep imprint in Cuba as a result of the need for cheap labor force to work the fields.

Experts say that more than 1.3 million slaves were brought to Cuba from different regions of Africa.

The slaves, who belonged to different ethnic groups, including Lucumi, Carabali, Congo, Ganga and Mina, brought their culture and religion along.

Slave trade, which was carried out for years, resulted in a huge death toll and rebellions against exploitation by the Spanish masters.

Elements of African culture are present everywhere in Cuba, where specialized institutions treasure artifacts, documents and elements from that period of Cuban history.

One of those institutions is the Museum of Limonar, located in the municipality of the same name, in the western Cuban province of Matanzas. The museum is housed in the former school La Encarnación.

Batá Drums.
IFA Board
Africa House

The school was built by the Economic Society of Friends of the Country in 1890, thanks to a donation from Don Basilio Martínez y González to construct an educational center.

The Museum of Limonar consists of a Hall for Transitory Exhibitions and the Exhibit of the Month, in addition to four other halls for permanent exhibitions.

One of those halls is devoted to archeology and displays several utilitarian artifacts that the aborigines made of shells, stone and flint.

The hall on General History treasures elements that show the presence of the local people in different periods of Cuban history, as well as documents on the Wars of Independence, official weapons of the liberation army, and objects that belonged to the Town Hall and the Henequen Workers' Movement.

The Hall on Economic Development, which covers the 19th and early 20th centuries, shows the economic development of the municipality of Limonar.

That hall exhibits elements linked to the development of the sugar industry and the slave trade that boomed in the region.

The exhibit is made up of instruments used to repress the slaves, including hand, foot and neck shackles found in the Sugar Mill Triunvirato, and iron cuffs from the Sugar Mill La Paz.

Visitors can also see the instruments used by the slaves to work in the fields and in other activities in the sugar mills, including hoes, mattocks and hooks.

The Museum of Limonar also keeps other objects from the Sugar Mill Triunvirato, including bills, locks, bolts, hinges and keys.

The Sugar Mill Triunvirato, where the Monument to the Slaves' Rebellion is located, was built in the 19th century, a period when the sugar industry boomed in the province of Matanzas.

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