An hour and a half away from Cartagena, the village of Palenque is located. It’s a small place, where most of the traditions of the African brought to South America as slaves are still preserved.
Palenques or quilombos were organized communities founded by escapedslaves during the colonization of the Americas.
This small towns where formed with the first slaves that managed to scape from the city, and take shelter in the Woods, away from the Spaniards.
San Basilio de Palenque (Colombia) henceforth referred simply as Palenque, is themost popular palenque that has survived to this day.
It symbolizes the struggle of Afro-Colombian communities for the abolition of slavery, ethnic re-vindication, coexistence, and recognition of cultural diversity in Colombia.
In recognition ofits intangible cultural heritage and historic significance, this village was declared a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.
Palenque History and Culture
Located in the northern part of Colombia, approximately 38 miles from the popular city of Cartagena, in the state of Bolívar, Palenque (population 4,978) was supposedly founded by a group of slave rebels commanded by Benkos Bioho, an important leader of the slave resistance in Colombia.
After years of struggle, persecution, and failed agreements, the Spanish government granted offcial pardon, autonomy, and freedom rights to allescaped African slaves living in the area of Palenque; for this reason, this communityis considered as the first free territory of the Americas.
Its economy today, like in colonial and post-colonial times, isbased on small scale farming and ranching and the sale of traditional sweets andfruits by Palenquera women in the bigger cities of Cartagena and Barranquilla, in the North coast of Colombia. Centuries of isolation and marginalization helped Palenque retain andcontinue most of the rich social, cultural, and spiritual practices of their Cimarrón ancestors.
The Palenquero language, la lengua palenquera, is one of the centralaspects of Palenquero culture. It is the only Spanish-based Creole language which incorporates grammatical forms of African dialects, in particular those of the Bantufamily.
Drive from port to Palenque with guide.
Visit to Palenque (Short walking tour around village)
Cultural visit: to important people of the village
Return drive to port
Another important aspect of the Palenquero culture is its social structure, consisting of extended family networks, age groups (kuagros), and councils that help maintain community identity and solidarity.