Sunday, June 10, 2012

History of Curacao

Due to reader demand (as promised) here is more info on our fun visit to Curacao. Not only did we enjoy the pools, markets, food and dancing in Curacao but we also did quite a bit of cultural exploring. On Dan's afternoon off we took a tour with our good friend Christer and twenty other conference attendees around the island learning the history of the 1795 slave rebellion led by Tula. First we went to the statue that was built for the tricentennial of the slave rebellion. This statue was larger than life size and very powerful - right on the beautiful waterfront. This location was important because it was where Tula was publicly tortured to death on October 3, 1795.
Breaking the Chains


 After visiting the monuments we were taken through the island to the Tula Museo which is housed in the Knip Plantation, a sugar plantation where Tula was enslaved. We were treated to Creole-Caribbean food made by local women upon arrival. We learned about African / Curacaoan heritage and our guide taught us Bandabou songs about washing clothes and preparing food - we even got to participate on the chorus!
Tula statue and painting in Tula Museo

Cuffs for enslaved people

Mary and Christer overlooking grounds of old sugar plantation
On the ride back to the hotel from the Tula Museo we had a musician with us who showed us Curacaoan instruments and demonstrated some different funeral and wedding ritual songs that would be played with the various instruments. We learned some harmonies on some songs and got to participate. It was a very lively van ride back to the hotel!

After this great day of history and learning I was inspired to do some more learning so on the following day I met up with a couple new conference friends who were skipping out and we went to Curacao's Slavery museum.

Chains

Sample of inside of ship where enslaved people would sleep on voyage across the Atlantic

Instructions on how to utilize the space on the ship for the human cargo
After the museum we toured around a bit more in colorful Willemstad and enjoyed all the vivid architecture on the island.

Beautiful church in downtown Willemstad
On our day of departure Dan and I hailed a cab and went to a beach that was nearby. The water was so crystal clear that we could see schools of multicolored fish swimming around our feet - we didn't even need snorkeling gear! We caught a glimpse of Curacao's Mermaid of the Year who Dan thought bared a resemblance to me - I guess I see it a little bit! What a wonderful trip - we're hoping to go to the conference again next year which will be in Belize :-)

Beach where Dan and I went "snorkeling"

Curacao's Mermaid of the Year bearing a shocking resemblance to Mary

5 comments:

  1. Ditto that - certainly the best Mermaid I have seen this year. So, just curious - is 'enslaved people' the PC term for what we insensitively called 'slaves'? i bet it is, and actually, I can see how it actually does make a person think about it differently. Hey can i go to Belize when you do? It is on my bucket list.

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    Replies
    1. "Enslaved people" is indeed the more PC term for "slaves" - I pick these things up from Dan ;-)

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  2. Also like the symmetry of exploring Willemstaad and Williamsbug. I dunno much about history, but there must have been a lot of important Williams around in them days.

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