Manzanillo in Cuba is a city known as the Pearl of the Guacanayabo, in the Cuban province of Granma. It has a surface area of 498.4 km². It is located on the margins of the Guacanayabo Gulf, which has facilitated the economic, social and cultural development of the province.
History of Manzanillo
Manzanillo was the third port created by the Spanish in the Pacific and in the development of its history there are very important facts and characters. On October 30, 1533, Hernando de Grijalva sailed from the port of Santiago in the brigantines “San Lorenzo”, and discovered the Archipelago of Revillagigedo; the pilot was Martin de Acosta, who had separated in the brigantine “La Concepcion”, which was captained by Diego Becerra de Mendoza.
A primordial fact for the development of the whole state is what happened in 1569, when Alvaro Mendaña, on his return from his trip to the Solomon Islands, arrived in Santiago, resupplied himself and gave the inhabitants the coconut palm, who began to exploit its potential, increasing its productivity with the arrival of Chinese slaves who brought new knowledge to the Colimenses, even though their arrival was as slaves.
There is a lot to tell about the history of Manzanillo Cuba; it is known that an important activity for the pre-Hispanic groups settled in Manzanillo was working with ceramics, the elaboration of figures and the shell and snail workshops for the manufacture of necklaces; this allows us to suppose that there were divers who collected pearls for this activity, mainly in the old port of Salagua, where an indigenous group was established in the pre-Hispanic era in a town called Tzalahua.
- Museo Histórico La Demajagua
- Parque Céspedes in Manzanillo Cuba
- Celia Sánchez Monument
- Celia Sánchez Museum
- City Bank of NY Building
- Criadero de Cocodrilos
- Museo Histórico Municipal
- Museo Histórico La Demajagua
Ten kilometers south of Manzanillo Cuba is the moving sight of the sugar estate of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, whose outcry, known as Grito de Yara, and the subsequent freeing of his slaves on October 10, 1868, marked the opening of Cuba’s independence wars. Renovated in 2018 on the 150th anniversary of independence, the small museum has well-organized interpretive displays. Outside, find the Demajagua bell that Céspedes tolled to announce Cuba’s (then unofficial) independence, plus remnants of the sugar mill machinery.
In 1947 an as-yet-unknown Fidel Castro ‘kidnapped’ the bell and took it to Havana in a publicity stunt to protest against the corrupt Cuban government.
Also at La Demajagua are the remains of Céspedes’ original ingenio (sugar mill) and a poignant monument (with a quote from Castro). To get here, travel south 10km from the Cupet-Cimex gas station in Manzanillo Cuba, in the direction of Media Luna, and then another 2.5km off the main road, towards the sea.
Manzanillo’s Cuba central square is notable for its priceless glorieta (gazebo), an imitation of the Patio de los Leones in Spain’s Alhambra, where Moorish mosaics, a scalloped cupola and arabesque columns set off a theme that’s replicated elsewhere. Nearby, a permanent statue of Carlos Puebla, Manzanillo’s famous homegrown troubadour, sits contemplatively on a bench. Cruise by on Sunday evenings around 8pm, when traditional live music provides the soundtrack for roller-skating kids and dancing oldsters alike.
Celia Sánchez Monument
Seven blocks southwest of the park lies Manzanillo’s Cuba most evocative sight. Built in 1990, this terracotta-tiled staircase embellished with colorful ceramic murals runs up Calle Caridad between Marti and Luz Caballero. The birds and flowers on the reliefs represent Sánchez, lynchpin of the M-26-7 (July 26 Movement) and longtime aid to Castro, whose visage appears on the central mural near the top of the stairs. It’s a moving memorial with excellent views out over the city and bay.