I'm in the Turks & Caicos Islands this week where I just spent four days at Parrot Cay Resort. #heavenmustbelikethis I'm off to Providenciales today and while doing a little surfing (no, not in the sea), I came across Bambarra Rum, the official rum of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) named after Bambarra Beach on Middle Caicos. I also came across some cultural facts I found interesting and thought you might find them interesting too.
If you know anything about TCI, you know that the locals are referred to as Belongers. I've always been curious about the indigenous peoples of TCI because I have not experienced or felt the same type of connection to local culture here as I have on other Caribbean islands (which is not to suggest that there isn't one, for the record). I've met Belongers who were born here but whose heritage is from other islands, so when I read what Bambarra Rum had to say about local TCI history, it all started to make sense.
From the Bambarra Rum site:
There are very few Turks and Caicos Islanders who know about their ancestral beginnings, with many of us believing that we are descendants of escaped slaves from neighbouring islands. However, the true story of our past is one of heroism and the triumph of good over evil (A Wreck That Led to Liberty, C.J. Williams 2004).
In 1841, a Spanish vessel set sail from Sao Tome, a Portuguese colony off the coast of Africa, transporting slaves bound for the Western Hemisphere. This ship was called the Trouvadore. Aboard the Trouvadore would have been some 300 African slaves, illegally captured, destined to be put to work in the lucrative sugar cane industry in Cuba. The illegality of this act was not just a moral issue, but as slavery had been abolished in Spain and Britain some years before it was also a bona fide legal issue.
The illegally captured slaves were taken from a Mandé tribe in West Africa consisting of Natives who spoke the Bambarra language. Upon entering the waters of the Turks and Caicos, the Trouvadore may have come upon a coral reef formation which caused it to sink. The details of the sinking is still a matter of speculation, however, given the treacherous and unforgiving nature of these coral reefs, it is a safe assumption that they played a role.
You can read the rest here.
Interesting, eh? I plan to get myself some Bambarra Rum while I'm here. All in the name of cultural immersion, of course. ;-)
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