Like many Caribbean islands, Bonaire’s history bears the stain of repression. Dating back to the 1600’s, African slaves were brought to Bonaire by the Dutch West India Company to aid in the cultivation and harvesting of Bonaire’s most important natural resource – salt.
Around 1850, two clusters of slave huts were constructed around the salt lake to serve as shelter for the unfortunate laborers.
Some of these tiny dwellings, in which a man sadly can not stand upright, served as shade and sleeping quarters for up to six people.
Today, these historical sites also serve as markers for two of the island’s popular dive sites – Red Slave and White Slave. Perched on the shimmering Caribbean Sea, the setting couldn’t be more idyllic. And yet, let’s hope that the juxtaposition isn’t lost on those of us who come here as willing underwater explorers.