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Trinidad: The Slaves' Imprint
Date: NOV 27, 2006
Other Reports

Slavery, a phenomenon closely linked to Spanish colonization and the need for cheap labor force, also has a close relation with the dynamic development of Cuba's sugar industry.

That sector of Cuban economy relied on slaves brought from Africa and exploited under inhumane conditions by landowners whose only goal was to get rich at any cost.

Therefore, thousands of people – men, women and children – were uprooted from their homeland and brought to the Caribbean Island, where they were subjected to the colonizers' rules.

However, the slaves contributed to the formation of Cuban nationality, as they brought along their customs, traditions, songs and dances, as well as their African religions.

They left their imprint everywhere in Cuba, and in many cases their legacy is well preserved in museums throughout the Caribbean Island.

One of them is the Municipal Museum in Trinidad – one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish conquistadors in Cuba – where visitors can learn about the history of the region.

The museum, which treasures the village's rich history, is housed in an old colonial mansion called Palacio Cantero.

The exhibits include archeological artifacts from aboriginal cultures, elements from the period when slave trade and the sugar industry boomed, and exponents from the wars of independence and other major landmarks in Cuban culture, society and economy.

Trinidad is the Cuban municipality with the largest number of museum per inhabitants, and all five major museums in the village are located in the historic heart of the city, which was designated Humankind Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Palacio Cantero, which is one of the most interesting museums in Trinidad, was built from 1827 to 1830 and is just 50 meters from the Main Square.

The building has a great staircase and beautiful neoclassical mural paintings made by Italian and Cuban artists.

Since 1980, the museum's halls have exhibited rich collections on the extraordinary history of the region and the development of the city, including weapons, furniture, arts and documents.

The building has a large inner patio, a lookout and all details that characterized the development of the sugar industry in the region.

Trinidad combines characteristics from the 18th and 19th centuries and the first decades of the 20th century, so while touring its cobblestone streets, visitors can discover artistic balconies, iron-wrought railings, steps and multicolor façades.

The city's structure consists of a beautiful Main Square that has a statue of the muse Terpsichore in the center, as if willing to bring inspiration to dancers. The square is flanked by the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Trinidad, Cantero Palace
Square in Trinidad. General view
Tower at Manaca-Iznaga Sugar Mill, Trinidad
Trinidad, popular dances
Trinidad, estate
Trinidad, colonial square
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    Trinidad, Cantero Palace

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