The Spanish settlers introduced into South America the black slaves kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea by the valley of the Magdalena River, which flows near Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), where the African slaves were disembarking. Some of these Africans were escaping and found in the nearby swamps of the Mountains of Mary a town of their own or palenque. These Africans were a constant threat to the ships loaded with Africans who came to Cartagena as slaves, as they assaulted them and freed as many Africans as they could. The Spanish Crown, pressed by the governors of Cartagena, signed a Royal Decree in 1691, which granted freedom to the African inhabitants of Palenque (of San Basilio). Thus the inhabitants of Palenque de San Basilio became the first free African community in America, long before those of Haiti or other places in America, and of Colombia achieving independence from Spain in 1810.1
San Basilio de Palenque, is a town of the region of Bolivar located 60 minutes from Cartagena. It was declared Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity for being the first slave town of America to be considered free. San Basilio de Palenque, was the refuge of many slaves who in the sixteenth century fled from the Spanish inhabitants of the city of Cartagena. And under the command of Benkos Biohó they achieved their freedom.
Palenques were palisades built by Africans to take refuge from those who persecuted them. This Colombian town, still keep many of the African cultural traditions, such as language, social organization, cultural rites, medical practices, dance and food, all due to the isolation in which the people live. In this town they have developed their own language, a mixture of African, Spanish and Portuguese languages called PALENQUERO.
San Basilio de Palenque was a town of little renown, until in the decade of the 70s it became known in the world by the fights of Antonio Cervantes (Kid Pambelé) a colombian boxing trainer and former two time world Jr. Welterweight champion.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PALENQUE?
Palenque is a hot town, therefore we advise you to go with fresh clothes and enough water to hydrate yourself, you could also wear a hat, and sunscreen. The streets of Palenque are not paved and according to the weather there may be mud, therefore it is advisable to wear closed shoes!
Duration: 5 hours aprox
Hour: 10 am
- A Palequero guide who will teach the real palenquera culture
- A local guide who will help you with your English if you need help
* This experience is for at least 3 people.
CLICK ON THE VIDEO AND KNOW PALENQUE!