Salt Lake

Slavehuts near Salt LakeSolar salt is a natural product of seawater, sunshine and wind. In the early years, the Dutch used slaves for the production of salt. Slaves had to carry salt to ships. This salt was carried to one of the four obelisks, after which it was passed over to the ships of the Dutch West India Company (WIC). These ships brought the salt to Europe. At two places around salt lake, you still can see slave huts. During the week  the slaves slept inside these small huts. Their families lived in Rincón where they stayed during the weekends. It took 7 hours to walk from the salt pans to Rincon. There was a small shop called Mangazina di Rei ('warehouse of the king') in Rincon for food.


There are a few places on Bonaire where you can see natural salt lakes (saliñas). Wind blows seawater on land and remains here. Water evaporates because of sunshine and salt is left behind. Before the sun evaporates this seawater, another amount of seawater flows by wave and tidal into the salt lake. Just before this water reaches full saturation, they pump brine into the crystallizers, which are flooded periodically to maintain a constant level of brine.

Salt Lake


They harvest the salt in each crystallizer once a year, loaded into trucks and transported to a wash plant. They wash the salt with brine and remove it from impurities. After washing, it dries for at least several months before transportation to the Eastern United States and the Caribbean. A large conveyor transports the salt to a large salt pier to transfer it into greater vessels.


Salt pierThe Dutch used slaves to do this work until the abolition of slavery. Years after the abolition, Akzo Nobel took over this salt lake. In august 1996, Akzo Nobel announced to sell salt lake to Cargill. The original salt pans are now reservation areas for pink flamingos. Around Salt Lake, you can have a nice view at this huge salt lake.


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