The Castillo de San Severino (Saint Severinus’ Castle), located in the city of Matanzas, is today the only building still standing since the foundation of the village in 1693. Built with the aim of protecting the bay and the city of Matanzas from naval harassment, it was totally erected by slave labor, and that is the reason why it holds today the Museum of Slavery.
In the main exhibition hall there are chains, shackles, rings and further instruments of torture with which the black slaves coexisted daily.
Another hall is devoted to the deities of the Yoruba religion (also known as Santeria), practiced by the African slaves and which is currently one of the most practiced religions in Cuba. The representative garments of the saints can also be seen here, as well as the drums used in the ceremonies dedicated to them, such as the iyassa, yuka and bembé.
Given the great historical and architectural value of Saint Severinus’ Castle, after being opened as a museum it became a venue for the project Slave Road which, sponsored by UNESCO, organizes activities to promote knowledge about the slavery in the Americas every year.
Claudia Edith G. Posada
Translation: Beatriz Rodríguez