A Guide to Sites, Museums, and Memory

Angerona Coffee Plantation, Artemisa Havana, Cuba

Watchtower
Watchtower.

Angerona emerged during the first half of the nineteenth century under the management of German landowner Cornelio Souchay and his Haitian concubine, Ursula Lambert. Souchay set into place a peculiar organization of slave labor that was very different to the one that reigned in the rest of Cuba at the time. According to several accounts, the plantation included a main house (now in ruins), the mayoral house (restored a few years ago), a system of reservoirs for the storage and supply of water, the quarters for slaves, a guard tower, and the statue of goddess Angerona, conserved at the Municipal Museum of Artemisia.

From an architectural point of view, the house illustrates neoclassical construction, with an austerity of space appropriate to the environmental and climatic characteristics of the place, as well as large doors and other elements from the Hispanic tradition, such as railings and grills.

This was the most important coffee plantation in western Cuba and the second largest operation on the island during the first half of the nineteenth century. Souchay owned about 450 slaves, an extraordinary number for a single plantation. The ruins of Angerona serve as one of the most complete and authentic representations of a nineteenth-century Cuban coffee plantation today. For the particularities of its proprietors and the treatment of enslaved people who lived and worked there, this place embodies the pro-slavery society that created it. In fact, it is here that it reached its pinnacle.


Related Topics: