Living history in La Demajagua National Park

Living history in La Demajagua National Park

Heritage & Traditions

Cubaplus Magazine

History reigns in La Demajagua National Park, a site in eastern Cuba that recalls momentous events in Cuba, when on October 10, 1868, patriots launched the war for independence. 

A sugar mill just over ten kilometers from the city of Manzanillo, in the current province of Granma, was the scene of these events: La Demajagua, owned by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, whose history recognizes him as the Homeland’s Father.

Known as Grito de Yara, due to the specific location of the farm in the lands of that town, the beginning of the Ten Years' War started with the liberation of the slaves of the farm, so that those who voluntarily accepted, were incorporated into the deed, an action revealing the emancipatory nature of the conflict that was beginning. 

The profusion of blue majagua trees, valuable wood for the manufacture of furniture, gave its name to the place, whose first reference, as a rustic farm, dates from June 1843. Throughout the years, the site has been a center of veneration for Cubans, through the association of veterans of the independence wars and the Masonic lodge of the region, among other entities. 

In 1968, the Demajagua National Park was inaugurated and 10 years later it was officially declared a National Monument of the Republic of Cuba. Patriotic symbols of great value are linked to the place, such as the flag that Céspedes presented in his call to the fight for independence, of Candelaria Acosta's own design and manufacture (Cambula), combining three fields, one red with a white star of five points, and another white in the upper half, and azure blue in the lower half, whose image presides, along with the national flag, the sessions of the Cuban Parliament. 

The bell that called at the beginning of the work and that rang for the last time when calling for war was rescued from the ruins of the mill, set on fire by the colonialist forces, and there it can be appreciated. A large cogwheel between which a Jagüey grows is one of the best-known images by which La Demajagua is identified, where ceramics, slave shackles and other objects of the time can also be seen.