Valley de los Ingenios
Trinidad Travel Blog› entry 10 of 14 › view all entries
To day we are bicykling to Valley de los Ingenios, to visit the Iznaga sugar mills. This is a
Weather is nice, I`m comfortable with my bicycle, and the landscape is beautiful.
Aftre the visit to the Sugar Mills our guides arranged a lunch picnik for us.
Valley de los Ingenios or Valley of the Sugar Mills is a series of three interconnected valleys about
The three valleys, San Luis,
Sugar production was an important industry for
The country became the world's foremost producer of sugar during the late 18th and 19th centuries with production of sugar forming the main industry of the island. The climate and soil were perfect for the cultivation of sugar cane, and the good ports and rail and road network allowed for easy transport and exportation of the refined sugar.
To prevent the sugar from spoiling rapid transport was necessary and to this end a special railway line was laid down through the valley in the late 1880s, connecting the Valle de los Ingenios with Trinidad and the port at Casilda,
Due to the virtual extinction of the native Cubans through contact with diseases brought by the European settlers and attrition though their poor treatment as slaves, it was necessary for the Spanish plantation owners to import slaves from Africa to work in the sugar cane fields and in the mills.
The abolition of slavery by the Spanish in 1820 made the practice of importing slaves more difficult, but it was not until the Wars of Independence in the 19th century that the dominance of the area was brought to an end and many of the sugar mills were abandoned or run down.
In 1988, Valle de los Ingenios, together with neighbouring
Most of the sugar mills are now in ruins but some sites have buildings which remain intact including Guachinango where the plantation house remains and the estate at Manaca Ignaza at which the owner's house, a tower and some barracones, the original slave quarters, are still standing. Although the barracones are now used as housing and are in poor state of repair, the house (which has been converted into a restaurant) and the tower are well maintained.