Robaina's plantation

Friday 16 January 2015

Antiguo Cafetal Angerona in Artemisa (near Havana) Ruins of a Coffee Plantation

            Artemisa has been a Municipality of Cuba since 2010. Previously it was part of the Havana province but has now become it's own province comprising of 3 municipalities from Pinar del Rio and 8 from Havana. The drive from Havana to the Cafetal Angerona is about 40 minutes, it's not far from the highway that runs from Havana to Pinar del Rio.
            The Antiguo Cafetal Angerona are the ruins of a Coffee Plantation that was operational during Colonial times. The owner was a German immigrant named Cornelio Souchay who bought the land in 1813 for 14,000 pesos. By the middle of the 19th century it had become the largest coffee plantation in Western Cuba and the second largest on the island. In it's prime it had 450 slaves working on the property and used a System of Organized Labor that was different from anywhere else on the island. The expansive property was a self-contained little village with the slave population living to one side in huts containing no more than 2 families each. It was the custom at this time to put many slaves into much larger structures. They also had their own kitchens and communal showers which was unheard of back then. The plantation had it's own masonry factory, mills, infirmary and reservoirs, add some livestock and they were like their own little town...they even made their own clothes that dressed the slaves and replaced the garments when they were worn out. The Master didn't allow slaves to work at night and gave time off during the hot day sun. He also had over 2 dozen sheds scattered around the property so they could take shelter in case of rain.
              Souchay Cornelius died in Havana in 1837 and was buried in the plantation cemetery. The ruins are some of the most complete in Cuba and the site was declared a National Monument on Dec.31, 1981. There was a historian on site that knew everything there was to know about the property and it's owners. It was a beautiful day, only a few minutes off the highway heading to Pinar del Rio and a great spot to take pictures. It doesn't cost anything to look around but of course I gave the Historian and the Gardner (that happen to be there) a few dollars tip.

The Gardner holding his Lawn Mower 


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