Slavery behind the wall: An archaeology of a Cuban coffee plantation

Theresa A. Singleton, Paul A. Singleton

Research output: Book/Report/EssayBook

38 Scopus citations


Cuba had the largest slave society of the Spanish colonial empire and thus the most plantations. The lack of archaeological data for interpreting these sites is a glaring void in slavery and plantation studies. Theresa Singleton helps to fill this gap with the presentation of the first archaeological investigation of a Cuban plantation written by an English speaker.At Santa Ana de Biajacas, where the plantation owner sequestered slaves behind a massive masonry wall, Singleton explores how elite Cuban planters used the built environment to impose a hierarchical social order upon slave laborers. Behind the wall, slaves reclaimed the space as their own, forming communities, building their own houses, celebrating, gambling, and even harboring slave runaways. What emerged there is not just an identity distinct from other North American and Caribbean plantations, but a unique slave culture that thrived despite a spartan lifestyle.Singleton's study provides insight into the larger historical context of the African diaspora, global patterns of enslavement, and the development of Cuba as an integral member of the larger Atlantic World.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity Press of Florida
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9780813055305
ISBN (Print)9780813060729
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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