Witnesses of the colonial days of Bonaire
Although it lacked many of the resources that made other Caribbean colonies prosperous, Bonaire did have one precious product in great abundance, salt. It was a necessary ingredient for preserving meat and fish before refrigeration.
During the 19th century four obelisks were constructed to mark the area where cargo ships had to dock to be loaded with the salt extracted from the evaporation salt ponds worked by the slave labor. The obelisks were painted in blue, red, white and orange, the colours of the Dutch flag.
Each time a ship came in, a flag would fly from the obelisk that was being worked.
Still now, the blue obelisk marks the site of the current salt pier, a great diving spot but also the place used to load vessels nowadays.
Near the blue obelisk and along the saltpans you can find the slave huts still standing as reminders of Bonaire’s past. These small buildings rising no higher than a meter up and built entirely of stone, were constructed in 1850 during the slavery time, and served as camping facilities for slaves working in the salt ponds to collect and ship the salt.
Learn more about the history of Bonaire join us, on the Bonaire Island tour with or without Beach escape we will tell you all about it!
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