||City of Ilé-Ife is
||The Yoruba migrate to
the western coast of Africa, to an area
which will eventually be known as southern
||The Yoruba people
begin to establish kingdoms, one in the
savannah (northern Nigeria) and one in
forest (southern Nigeria). The Yoruba
sacred culture begins to develop at Ife,
which serves as the seat of the Yoruba
kingdom through the 1600s. Also, the
city of Benin is established in the rain
forest area of southern Nigeria.
||The Oyo kingdom is established by
Oranmiyan who, according to tradition, was a
son of Oddudúa [brother of Obatalá, an
important orisha]. By the 1400 Oyo
establishes a hegemony over the other Yoruba
kingdoms which lasts through the 1800s.
||The Catholic Church provides its
blessings to the Portuguese who begin to
import slaves from African west coast,
bringing the first African slaves to Europe
and introducing Christianity to the region.
By 1472, Portuguese traders Ruy Seqira and
Fernando Gomez visit the Bight of Benin,
trading their goods for slaves.
Eventually, a slave-trade alliance with the
kingdom of Benin is made, which continues to
gain prominence with the introduction of
||Ilé-Ife begins to
lose political power to the Oyo kingdom,
although it retains its supremacy as a
||The first African slaves are brought to
Cuba from the island of Hispaniola
(present-day Haiti and Dominican Republic)
to replace the decimated native population.
These first African slaves brought the
orishas with them to the island.
||The first African cabildo, formed by
members of the Zap nation, is established in
|~ 1650 - 1700
||As the Benin kingdom wanes, the Oyo
kingdom becomes a powerful military state
thanks to its cavalry, funded with money
from the slave trade.
||The Spanish Crown decrees the free trade
of slaves in Cuba.
||State interference with the restriction
of the cabildos' affairs in Cuba begins.
||The Atlantic slave trade becomes
centered on the expanding sugar and coffee
plantations of Cuba and Brazil.
|1817 - 1835
||Oyo erupts in civil war as rivals
contend for the throne.
||The Owu and Egba civil wars begin ,
lasting throughout most of the century,
Slave raiding flourished as a means to raise
funds for the acquisition of firearms for
the war effort. One of the tactics
employed in this war was the total
destruction of a vanquished town and the
enslavement of the town's population en
masse. This practice would end the
worship of a particular orisha in Africa,
while installing a large following of the
orisha in Cuba. This was the case with
Ochosi, divine hunter identified with all of
the forest's wildlife.
||Last official slave ship docked in Cuba,
although the practice unofficially continued
until the mid-1880s when slavery was finally
||Spain adopts the Moret law, which
commits to the gradual abolition of slavery
||The Spanish colonial government beings
to suppress cabildos, fearing the could
become a source for insurrection. By
1884, the Good Government Law will forbid
all cabildos from meeting or organizing
|1880 - 1886
||Slavery in Cuba is gradually abolished
through a tutelage program serving as an
eight-year transition period; however, two
years ahead od schedule, Spain totally
||Cabildos in Cuba are required to obtain
a license, which is renewable on an annual
||Cuba passes a law prohibiting the
formation of "old style" cabildos.
||Black Cubans who fought for independence
create El Partido Independiente de Color
(The Independent Party of Color) to force
the government to consider seriously its
rhetoric of racial equality and provide
equal opportunity in power, employment, and
||Cuban blacks' protest against structural
racism is label a race war. Thousands
of black Cubans, mostly unarmed, are
deliberately butchered by white Cubans,
mostly for "resisting arrest." Yet no
trace of the rumored uprising has ever been
found: no cache of arms was ever
discovered, no demonstration occurred
outside the province of Oriente, no white
woman was ever raped or cannibalized
(contrary to newspaper accounts), and no
destruction of valuable property occurred.
Even so, thousands of white Cuban volunteers
were given arms and paid by the government
to rove across the nation putting down the
revolt in any way possible.
||A brujo (witch doctor) craze sweeps Cuba
as mass lynchings occur, fueled by rumors of
santeros and santeras kidnapping white
children in order to use their blood and
entrails in religious practices. These
reports begin to circulate after a white
girl is found dead, presumably cannibalized
||The term Santeria begins to be used as a
pejorative term by the Catholic clerics to
describe the religious practices of the
Yoruba in La Habana, Matanzas, and the
||Persecution of Santeria in Cuba wanes.
||Francisco (Pancho) Mora (who changes his
name to Ifa Morote) migrates to the United
States. He is believed to be the first
U.S. santero to establish an ilé
and practice Ifa divination in New York
City. The center of orisha activies
develops in the Upper West Side with
Rendezvous Bar on Lenox Avenue and the
Illuminada beauty parlor being popular
meeting places for believers.
||More initiates the first santera in
||Walter King (who changes his name to Oba
Osejiman Adefummi I) travels to Matanzas,
Cuba to be intiated into Santeria, becoming
the first African American to be fully
ordained. Upon returning to New York
he establishes the Chango Temple,
incorporating it as the African Theological
Archministry. By 1960 he moves the
temple to Harlem, renaming it the Yoruba
Temple. Also in 1959, Oba Serigman and
Christopher Oliana, two African Americans,
travel to Haiti for ordination.
||Fidel Castro succeeds in his revolution
against dictator Fulgencia Batista.
|1959 - 1973
||Approximately 451,266 Cuban refugees,
who could be considered "political exiles,"
cross the Florida Straits for Miami.
Although mostly from the upper and middle
economic class of the pre-Castro Cuba and
predominantly white and educated, some were
followers of the orishas. With them,
the orishas are reintroduced to the United
States - reintroduced because when the
orishas first came with the African slaves,
they were effectively eradicated by the
||Merecedes Noble (who changes her name to
Oban Yoko) is credited with ordaining the
first Cuban santera in the United States,
Julia Franco. Until now, Cubans
wishing to be ordained had traveled to Cuba
for the rites. Yoko went on to
establish a casa de santo (house of
saints) in New York City to serve as a
permanent home for the ordination of
||Persecution of Santeria in Cuba resumes.
||Mora is credited with holding the first
public Santeria bembe in the United States,
attracting over three thousand people.
||The final declaration of the first
National Congress on Education and Culture
in Cuba states that juvenile delinquency is
partially caused by "religious sects,
especially of African origin."
||Mariel Boatlift brings over 120,000
Cubans to the United States, who unlike the
predomintantly whiter refugees of previous
years, are mostly of a darker skin
pigmentation and of the lower economic
social levels. Forty percent of these
refugees are biracial. A large portion
of them are followers of Santeria.
|1980 - 1985
||An increased interest in Santeria
develops in Cuba due to the number of black
Cuban soldiers returning from Angola.
Persecution of Santeria wanes.
||Ernesto Pichardo opens the church La
Iglesia Lukumi Babalú Ayé
in Hialeah, Florida, the first Cuban-based
||The United States Supreme Court rules
that the practitioners of Santeria have a
constitutional right to sacrifice animals in
connection with their rituals.