CubaPLUS Magazine

La Demajagua Park: Memories and history

By: Amanda Bedia, photos: Santiago Torres Pupo
Sep 18, 2023
La Demajagua Park: Memories and history

Near the warrior mountains of eastern Cuba, about 13 km from the southern city of Manzanillo is home to the National Park Demajagua, also close to a small rural community of the same name, site where the first cry for independence was given and the first libertarian campaign began in 1868.

La Demajagua Park: Memories and historyThere, on the vestiges of the old Demajagua sugar mill, property of the patrician initiator of the emancipation war, was raised a memorial area and a museum that remembers the glorious day of 10 October of the aforementioned year, when the Bayamese patriot Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Father of the Nation, freed his slaves and proclaimed the call  for independence.

The industry installed there was prosperous when Céspedes abandoned it to go to the redeeming struggle -an intricate mountain, according to the Creoles- and it was not in decline, as it had long been spread. But very soon it was shelled from the sea by a Spanish ship and destroyed, leaving only remains of some machinery, where there was an agrarian community. Some patriots kept their historic bell, the one that gave the first tolls for the freedom of the Antillean Island.

Today converted into a beautiful historical park, in a natural environment, there is an interesting museum. La Demajagua shares with the Santa Ifigenia Heritage Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, the honorable epithet of Altar of the Homeland, although for different reasons, but intertwined.

La Demajagua Park: Memories and historyIn the hands of Carlos Manuel since 1866, the mill had a modern steam engine, a crew of 53 slaves, and the workforce was reinforced by 60 employees, since the enlightened owner was aware of the most up-to-date ways to increase returns.

However, the main goal of that big man and other patriots was to make the Revolution to free Cuba from the yoke of Spain.

This National Historical Park is a peaceful place today, where a clean and serene breeze and vibrant memories still beat of its history. The valuable bell is its most precious symbol and the saga of its protection and participation in other patriotic events is beautiful. Also, the old chain or sort of central machine wheel, imprisoned between trees, the green esplanade that surrounds it, next to other objects in the Museum always invite Cubans and visitors to travel to the roots of the forging of the nation.

They say that even the sound of bugles and galloping horses is sometimes heard in the early mornings, if you think about those glories and tune your ears.

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