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Angerona: A Love Story of a German and a Slave

The remains of an old coffee plantation named Angerona are placed in Artemisa, a municipality in the southern part of Havana, inserted in the scenery of the Cuban countryside.

Its owner was a German emigrant originally from Bremen who made a fortune out of the aromatic grain, at the beginning of the 19th century.

Cornelio Sausse, known as Sochay, never imagined that the attraction by the dark skin, perfumed with French fragrances will take him to an unusual and unforgettable love.

Ursula Lambert, a worthy and elegant Haitian exiled after the slave rebellion in that country, motivated him to stay in Cuba. Their encounters in the streets of Havana made their attraction stronger than the rigid morality and racism prevailing at that time.

The top moment of that love was in 1813 when Sochay bought a farm for 1400 pesos. His beloved Ursula named the place Angerona and it became a marvellous Haitian-German coffee empire. It is said the 538 hectares farm produced up to 150 000 pounds of the precious grain, under the command of the couple. Around 450 slaves enjoyed of a preferential treatment, in comparison to the outrages committed with others brought from Africa. Sochay had a grandiose eclectic house built on the top of a hill. He had the Latin image of the goddess Angerona placed in a small pedestal, to welcome visitors.

The care of the crop under the perfect order of Sochay and the harmonious female touch of Ursula ensured the growing prosperity of the place. However, death appeared between the lovers.

Angerona: A Love StoryOn July 13th, 1837 the German who love coffee as well as the Cuban land, left for ever its "perfumed oak". She kept the pain of the lost during the following twenty-three years of her life. At that time the sugar cane production began to establish as a monoculture and began to win a space in the newly born Cuban economy, removing the coffee from its privileged position.

The implacable force of time and oblivion seized Angerona and the echoes and remembrances of the intense love between Sochay and Ursula faded. On June 6th, 1989 the National Commission of Patrimony declared this jewel a National Monument, due to its historical, architectural and cultural value.

The museum of Artemisa, locality where the remains of the 19th century plantation are placed, was in charged of its custody and restoration. Angerona the Roman goddess of delicate figure sculpted in Carrara white marble witnesses the old columns, walls and romances; and she watches as sacred temple, a legend of love with the coffee aroma.

The film Roble de olor (Perfumed Oak) was presented in 2005. It was based on that story and the actor Jorge Perugorría took the role of Sochay.