Photo Credit: Photo by Zen
Meet The Palenqueras, The Black Women Who Represent The Afro-Colombian Culture
Cartagena is a must-go city for international tourists in South America. With a rich history, culture, gastronomy and astonishing landscapes, this city can give offer the visitor a plentiful of joy and happiness making it one of the favorite destinations in the region. Besides its unique tourist attractions, Cartagena also holds historic figures that represent the Afro-Colombian people as a most. They are the Palenqueras and carry a very amazing trajectory.
These beautiful Black women, who roam the extensive strips of land of the Colombian Caribbean, greet the tourists with their huge smiles, dressing in rainbows and carrying a menu of the most exotic fruits characteristic of our land.
The story of these Black Colombian women began centuries ago when Colombia was still a Spanish colony and slavery was a legal practice as well as it was across the Americas.
During these times, the enslaved Blacks who managed to escape settled in groups in some regions called maroons. One of them is the village of San Basilio de Palenque, which is about an hour from Cartagena and it is still home to most of these women.
In this first free Black people settlement in the Americas, they could maintain many African traditions. That is precisely why Palenquero emerged, a language based on Spanish and on languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
These former enslaved Africans ran to mountainous places, remote and difficult to access. Protected by geography and their thirst for freedom, these men and women created the “Palenques”. “Fortresses where they were able to maintain their customs, traditions and above all: be free.” They come from the first slave-free town in America: “San Basilio de Palenque”.