The Past Can Kill

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Carlota was an enslaved woman who, along with three others, lead the 1843 slave revolt at the Triumvirato sugar mill in Matanzas province, Cuba, which spread to the Arcana mill near by. 

Matanzas was the site of many uprisings during the year of 1843. Carlota and other members of the revolts went from one sugar plantation to another in the province to liberate other enslaved Africans from July to August. By November of 1843, full scale rebellion broke out. 

The enslaved Africans revolting used “talking” drums to spread news of rebellion, relay messages, and to recruit more members for their liberation efforts. Two enslaved Africans at the Arcana mill - a man named Evaristo, and a woman named Fermina - worked to spread Carlota’s rebellion efforts to their enslaved companions. Fermina and Evaristo were eventually arrested and chained. 

On November 3rd, 1843 Carlota traveled to Arcana to liberate Fermina and Evaristo along with the other slaves at the mill. 

Carlota’s careful planning and guerilla tactics inspired other rebellion movements by Africans in the Matanzas region. Carlota participated in revolts in the areas of Sabanilla del Encomendador, Guanábana, Santa Ana and also at the San Miguel, Concepción, San Lorenzo and San Rafael sugar plantations. Enslaved Africans working coffee plantations and cattle estates were also assisted by Carlota in their liberation attempts. 

1844 became known as the “Year of the Lashes” as repression efforts from the Governor of Cuba Leopoldo O’Donnell ended in the execution of black revolters including Fermina, and Carlota. Fermina was shot in March of 1844 along with other enslaved Africans. Carlota was drawn and quartered; she was tied to horses that were sent in opposite directions to completely dismember her body. 

A monument to Carlota and the rebellion she lead was erected on the spot of the Triumvirato sugar mill in Matanzas.

Picture 1: Triumvirato Matanzas - Carlota, leader of a slave rebellion by Richard Baker

Picture 2: Carlota la rebelde, featured on afrocubaweb

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