Cuba had the largest slave society of the Spanish colonial empire and thus the most plantations. The lack of archaeological data for interpreting these sites is a glaring void in slavery and plantation studies. Theresa Singleton helps to fill this gap with the presentation of the first archaeological investigation of a Cuban plantation written by an English speaker.At Santa Ana de Biajacas, where the plantation owner sequestered slaves behind a massive masonry wall, Singleton explores how elite Cuban planters used the built environment to impose a hierarchical social order upon slave laborers. Behind the wall, slaves reclaimed the space as their own, forming communities, building their own houses, celebrating, gambling, and even harboring slave runaways. What emerged there is not just an identity distinct from other NorthAmerican and Caribbean plantations, but a unique slave culture that thrived despite a spartan lifestyle.Singleton's study provides insight into the larger historical context of the African diaspora, global patterns of enslavement, and the development of Cuba as an integral member of the larger Atlantic World.
Slavery Behind the Wall
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