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Over Troubled Water

Strengthening the relationships between all African ancestored descendants

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1st Afromexican Queen in La Costa Chica  by AfroMexico

If you think we know too little about African ancestored people in the United States, you would probably agree that we a totally ignorant to the experience of Africans of the Diaspora in a place like Mexico.  Many people do not realize that Africans were also brought to Mexico by slave ships.  Over Troubled Water was created to strengthen relationships between all African ancestored people.  In order to do that, we must learn about the history and the culture of African people everywhere.

Colonial Mexico

"In fact, during the colonial era, there were more Africans than Europeans in Mexico, according to Aguirre Beltrán's pioneering 1946 book, "The Black Population in Mexico." And he said they didn't disappear, but in fact took part in forging the great racial mixture that is today Mexico.

"There were blacks in Mexico from the moment of the Conquest....In Mexico, Blacks were a minority group. representing between 0.1% and 2% of the colonial population; the total number introduced by the slave trade was not much more than 250,000, over a period of three centuries.  But there were fewer Spanish than Blacks in New Spain.  On the other hand, the products of racial mixture, with Blacks as well as Spanish, were numerous: at the end of foreign domination in Mexico they represented 40% of the population, of which 10% were considered clearly Afro-metizo. ...The first contacts among Blacks, Indians, and Spanish took place by means of the Islamic Blacks from the Congo cultural area,...followed by contact with a few Black groups from the gulf of Guinea at the beginning of the last colonial century,"  said Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran to sum up the African presence in Mexico.  See The Garland handbook of Latin American Music, Volume 1 (Included at the end of this article.)

"Because of race mixture, much of the African presence is no longer discernible except in a few places such as Veracruz and the Costa Chica in Guerrero and Oaxaca," wrote Aguirre Beltrán.

"In Mexico, many of the Africans that entered came to what are now the states of Yucatan, Michoacan, Tlaxcala, Mexico, Chiapas, Veracruz, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Contrary to popular thought, they did not remain in the south but migrated throughout the whole of Mexico, where they were employed in occupations such as mining, the textile industry, ranching, fishing and agriculture. Blacks in Mexico weren't simply slaves. Many were explorers and cofounders of settlements as far north as Los Angeles and other parts of what is today the Southwest United States." See African Roots Stretch Deep Into Mexico.

Image at Wikipedia

Gaspar Yanga, el libertador de Yanga, el Prime...Image via Wikipedia
Gaspar Yanga, from West Africa, worked on a sugarcane plantation in colonial Mexico in Veracruz, Mexico.  In 1570, he escaped to the mountains where he and those who followed him were able to elude his captors for four decades.  He was even able to defeat the Spanish militia in 1609.

Eventually, they were given their freedom and the community they had established became the first black free town established on the American continent in 1630. See Black Past.

The name of the town in Veracruz was originally called San Lorenzo de los Negros de Cerralvo but it was later changed to Yanga.

"The name comes from an African language that means "Príncipe" Yanga was an enslaved African son of the king of the tribe Yang-Bara.  Every mid August, the carnival to celebrate the formerly enslaved African Gaspar Yanga take place. The celebration is to commemorate the defeating of the Spanish, and creating what is advertised as the 1st free city in the Americas in 1609. The 400 year anniversary was in August 2009."  See Yanga, Veracruz.

                       The Garland handbook of Latin American Music, Volume 1

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Ms.Life Support said...

This was very interesting!

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