CubaPLUS Magazine

Ingenio Taoro, a great story to tell

By: Mercy Ramos
May 30, 2024
Ingenio Taoro, a great story to tell

Located on the road that connects the town of Punta Brava and the beach of Santa Fe, in the municipality of Bauta, province of Artemisa, are the ruins of what was once a large manufacturing factory of sugar.

The Ingenio Taoro, scene of the painful life of the black slaves brought to the island from Africa by the Spanish colonizers in the 16th to 19th centuries, to enrich themselves at the expense of the work of those men and women, many of whom lost their lives under the colonial yoke .

04-ingenio-tahoro-1.jpgOf that mill, whose name comes from the Lucumi language and means wealth and opulence, only ruins remain, declared a local monument in 1981. In 1886 it was the scene of combat fought by General Antonio Maceo against the Spanish army, which he partially destroyed its buildings when they were set on fire by the mambi troops (Cuban liberation army).
The mill was built between 1857 and 1860 and conforms to the construction patterns in facilities of its type. The bell tower stands out, which together with the ruins located to the southwest of it form a harmonious and very well defined landscape.

The main house, also in ruins, has a portal with wide columns and a Spanish slab floor.  It was built at the beginning of the 19th century and adjoins the garage, the kitchen, the servants' quarters and the large barracks. The slave barracks date back to the 1850s and are partially preserved, although some are quite deteriorated.

They were satisfied with stone walls, with minimal ventilation through a small wooden-framed window with bars of irons. The spatial architectural system had among its elements, an elongated plan, prismatic volume, which occupied the center of the batey (hamlet), with lights and intercolumns quite spacious for the transfer of raw materials and the movement of the buoy, which must have been part of the sugar mill.

The boiler house is located near the sugar mill and sometimes forms a single building. With this, it appears with its longitudinal axis in the north-south direction, aiming to attenuate the intense heat given off by the work being done there.

04-ingenio-tahoro-2.jpgThe purge house that was characterized by being closed to prevent the entry of air and maintaining humidity is another of the important properties for the production process of sugar.

It is estimated that the Taoro slave supply was large, more than 100, since the barracks housed several slaves left and it is known that the cane fields were quite extensive.

In short, whoever visits this place will be able to have an idea of the vicisitudes that slaves suffered then, due to the characteristics of the buildings that can still be seen there and have remained as a legacy of the mark left by colonization and slavery that inhabitants of the Greater Antilles suffered back then.

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