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Enslaved Yoruba from southwestern Nigeria, brought to Cuba in great numbers between 1790 and 1865, carried with them numerous powerful divinities called orisha. In Cuba the Yoruba were called the Lucumi, and their worship of the orichas (Spanish spelling) came to be known as La Regia Lucumi, La Regla de Ocha, or Santeria. Santeria appeared in Cuba not as a static survival or retention of African practices but as a dynamic Afro-Caribbean religion shaped by the needs of creole communities that emerged and changed in slavery and freedom.

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