This story was kindly donated by Antonio Len-Rios (email@example.com). This story has been copyrighted (1997), and please please please do not use any portion of this story without the express written permission of Antionio, whom you can contact at the above e-mail address, or through me at: Mail WolfSoul Enjoy the story!
Thus were they hunted like animals. That was indeed how their captors saw them. Extremely pale people with a strange, guttural language, and an appetite for evil. So, these peaceful people were put in chains and stored on ships like vessels of clay. Many were killed, many died of hunger, disease, infection, and of poor spirit. Many were said to be too proud to be enslaved (for that is what they became). Chattel to their captors, who had sailed far away from their homelands in Europe, to seek a fortune in flesh.
Yet, within them, the spirit of survival was as strong as their backs, and they were traded for the vices of the New World. Rum and tobacco mostly. Their plight was awful, and they were put to work in many strange lands, for harsh masters.
One such land, was that of Panama. At the time, Panama was but a colony of Spain, which owned a chunk of America from northern borders of Mexico to southernmost tip of Argentina. A span of more than thousand miles across this earth.
Of course, their main business was to the south, where they had enslaved the natives of the area to work their own mines, bringing tons and tons of gold and silver from the Andean mountains. And, to bring the treasure to Spain, they were brought to Panama, which was the shortest crossing point from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans.
And so the slaves worked. Many thousands of slaves passed through, or came and stayed, in Panama. For some reason, they were given the name Cimmaron, probably from the color of their skins under the hot tropical sun. But, the name stuck with them.
The slaves were very unhappy with their fate. Many escaped to the southern islands, called Las Perlas, or "the pearls." For they were a great source of pearl-bearing oysters. And there their descendants live to this day!
But rebellion was brewing, and in time, a group of slaves managed to escape to the wilderness of the Darien. Perhaps at the time it was said by the Spanish, "They shall get lost, and perish in those jungles." But, they did not, for they most probably had the help of the natives in the area, for, after all, were they not kin after a sort?
Also, many had lived in such jungles, and made do as they would have at home. And so a small colony of Cimmarrones came to thrive in the Darien of Panama. Back in the colonies, slaves were escaping, whether by twos or threes or tens. Eventually, many came to reside in the Darien.
Now, as the Cimmaron colony grew, it occurred to them to choose a leader. He must have been the wisest and strongest of will and strength among them. His name was Bayano (pronounced Bah-Yah-no). A doughty fellow indeed, he ruled his nation with a strong and gentle hand.
Eventually, news of this came to the Spanish, and they were most peeved. Never before had the Cimmarrones congregated in such numbers. The Bayano nation was a great insult and possible threat to the colony. Imagine! Spanish colonists in fear of their own slaves! The Spanish were furious!
Yet, they were also foolish, for they seemed to think that a small band could easily startle and capture the Cimmarrones of the Bayano Nation. But lo! To their surprise, the Cimmarrones of Bayano fought back, and fiercely! Two attacks did they survive, sending many Spaniards to their deaths! They even killed the leader of the troops, much to the dismay and shock of the Spanish.
They would not go unprepared a third time! They sent in a regiment of troops, and beset the Cimmaron nation, and attacked them. Many men, both Spaniards and Cimmarons fell, and no doubt many Cimmaron women died as well, defending their home. And in the end, they were defeated, rounded up, and the remaining Cimmarrones were taken back to civilization.
Yet Bayano did not die! The Spanish respected him, despite the great cost he caused. And the Spanish did not kill him, but sent him to Spain, where he lived out the rest of his days in exile. The Cimmaron people were eventually freed, when Panama got freedom from Spain, some three hundred years later. And that, my friends, is the tale of the Cimmaron. And the region and the great river of the area are yet named for Bayano, leader of the first truly free and independent nation of the New World.
Also, check out Antonio's page on Panama and Panamanian stock! From what Antonio has told me, there are some great opportunities in Panama!