Slavery in Latin America

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Slavery in Latin America was practiced in precolonial times.

During the Atlantic slave trade, Latin America was the main destination of millions of African people transported from Africa to French, Portuguese, and Spanish colonies. Slavery was a cornerstone of the Spanish Casta system, and its legacy is the presence of large Afro-Latino populations.

After the gradual emancipation of most black slaves, slavery continued along the Pacific coast of South America throughout the 19th century, as Peruvian slave traders kidnapped Polynesians, primarily from the Marquesas Islands and Easter Island and forced them to perform physical labour in mines and in the guano industry of Peru and Chile.

Enslaved Africans in Latin America

Punishing slaves in Brazil, by Johann Moritz Rugendas

The African presence in Latin America had an effect on the culture across Latin America. Black slaves arrived in the Americas during the early stages of exploration and settlement. By the first decades of the sixteenth century they were commonly participating in Spain's military expeditions.[1]

Marriage was allowed in some areas and some slaves were taught to read and write. Colonial Brazil had the highest recorded number of legal marriages among slaves in Latin America.[1]

While most slaves were baptized upon arrival to the New World, the Catholic Church did come to the defense of slaves. Some brotherhoods raised money to purchase the freedom of some of their slave members. Although the church owned slaves themselves, they never embraced the racist justifications for slavery so common among Protestant denominations in the United States.[1]

The impact of slavery in culture is greatly apparent in Latin America. The mixing of cultures and races provides a rich history to be studied. [1]

New Spain

According to the television series, Black in Latin America,[2] The territories that later constituted Mexico and Peru combined as part of the New Spain, imported more African slaves than the United States. Between 1502 and 1866, of the 11.2 million Africans, only 388,000 arrived in the United States, while the rest arrived in Latin America and the Caribbean[3] These slaves were brought as early as the 16th and 17th centuries.[4] The evidence of the African population is not readily apparent due to the mixing of the indigenous population, Africans, and European peoples and the early inception of African slaves into the Mexican society.[4] According to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s film on the slave trade in Mexico, the integration of African peoples was so pervasive that every Mexican has an "African grandma hiding in their closet." The slaves would be forced to work in mines and plantations. Today, the most African communities live in coastal towns, "Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific".[5]

Slavery in the Countryside

Over 70 percent of slaves in Latin American worked on sugar cane plantations due to the importance of this crop to economies there at the time. Slaves also worked in the production of tobacco, rice, cotton, fruit, corn and other commodities. The majority of slaves brought to the Americas from Africa were men due to the fact plantation owners needed brute strength for the physical labor that was done in the fields. However women were brought to the Caribbean islands to provide labor as well. Female slaves were often responsible for cutting cane, fertilized plants, fed can stalks in mill grinders, tended garden vegetables, and looked after children. Men cut cane and worked in mills. They also worked s carpenters, blacksmiths, drivers, etc. In some cases they were even part of the plantations militia.[6]


Atlantic Slave Trade- Brazil, French Caribbean, and Spanish America

During the nearly four centuries in which slavery existed in the Americas, Brazil was responsible for importing 35 percent of the slaves from Africa (4 million) while Spanish America imported about 20 percent (2.5 million) all during the Atlantic Slave Trade. These numbers are significantly higher than the imported slaves of the United States (less than 5 percent). High death rates, an enormous number of runaway slaves, and greater levels of manumission(granting a slave freedom) meant that Latin America and Caribbean societies had fewer slaves than the United States at any given time. However they made up a higher percentage of the population throughout the colonial period. This being said, the upper class of these societies constantly feared for uprising among not only slaves but indians and the poor of all racial ethnic groups.[7]

Further reading

  • Aguirre Beltrán, Gonzalo. La población negra de México, 1519-1810. Mexico City: Fuente Cultural 1946.
  • Aimes, Hubert H.S. A History of Slavery in Cuba, 1511-1868. New York: Octagon Books 1967.
  • Bennett, Herman Lee. Africans in Colonial Mexico. Bloomington: Indiana University Press 2005.
  • Blanchard, Peter, Under the flags of freedom : slave soldiers and the wars of independence in Spanish South America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, c2008.
  • Bowser, Frederick. The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524-1650. Stanford: Stanford University Press 1974.
  • Carroll, Patrick J. Blacks in Colonial Veracruz: Race, Ethnicity, and Regional Development. Austin: University of Texas Press 1991.
  • Conrad, Robert Edgar. World of Sorrow: The African Slave Trade to Brazil. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press 1986.
  • Curtin, Philip. The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 1969.
  • Foner, Laura and Eugene D. Genovese, eds. Slavery in the New World: A Reader in Comparative History. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall 1969.
  • Flusche, Della and Eugene H. Korth. Forgotten Females: Women of African and Indian Descent in Colonial Chile, 1535-1800. Detroit: B.Ethridge 1983.
  • Freyre, Gilberto. The Masters and the Slaves: A Study of the Development of Brazilian Civilization. 2nd ed. Trans. Samuel Putnam. New York: Knopf 1966.
  • Fuente, Alejandro de la. "From Slaves to Citizens? Tannenbaum and the Debates on Slavery, Emancipation, and Race Relations in Latin America," International Labor and Working-Class History 77 no. 1 (2010) 154-73.
  • Fuente, Alejandro de la. "Slaves and the Creation of Legal Rights in Cuba: Coartación and Papel," Hispanic American Historical Review 87, no. 4 (2007): 659-92.
  • Geggus, David Patrick. "Slave Resistance in the Spanish Caribbean in the Mid-1790s," in A Turbulent Time: The French Revolutionn and the Greater Caribbean, David Barry Gaspar and David Patrick Geggus. Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1997, pp. 130-55.
  • Gibbings, Julie. “In the Shadow of Slavery: Historical Time, Labor, and Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century Alta Verapaz, Guatemala,” Hispnaic American Historical Review 96.1, (February 2016): 73-107.
  • Helg, Aline, Liberty and Equality in Caribbean Colombia, 1770-1835. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2004.
  • Heuman, Gad and Trevor Graeme Burnard, eds. The Routledge History of Slavery. New York: Taylor and Francis 2011.
  • Hünefeldt, Christine. Paying the Price of Freedom: Family and Labor among Lima's Slaves, 1800-1854. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1994.
  • Johnson, Lyman L. "A Lack of Legitimate Obedience and Respect: Slaves and Their Masters in the Courts of Late Colonial Buenos Aires," Hispanic American Historical Review 87, no. 4 (2007) 631-57.
  • Klein, Herbert S. The Middle Passage: Comparative Studies in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1978.
  • Landers, Jane. Black Society in Spanish Florida. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1999.
  • Landers, Jane and Barry Robinson, eds. Slaves, Subjects, and Subversives: Blacks in Colonial Latin America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2006.
  • Love, Edgar F. "Negro Resistance to Spanish Rule in Colonial Mexico," Journal of Negro History 52, no. 2 (April 1967) 89-103.
  • Martínez, María Elena. "The Black Blood of New Spain: Limpieza de Sangre, Racial Violence, and Gendered Power in Early Colonial Mexico," William and Mary Quarterly 61, no. 3 (July 2004), 479-520.
  • Restall, Matthew, and Jane Landers, "The African Experience in Early Spanish America," The Americas 57, no. 2 (2000) 167-70.
  • Mattoso, Katia M. De Queiros. To be a Slave in Brazil, 1550-1888. Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press 1979.
  • Miller, Joseph C. Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 1988.
  • Palmer, Colin. Slaves of the White God. Blacks in Mexico 1570-1650. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1976.
  • Palmer, Colin. Human Cargoes: The British Slave Trade to Spanish America, 1700-1739. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1981.
  • Rout, Leslie B. The African Experience in Spanish America, 1502 to the Present Day. New York: Cambridge University Press 1976.
  • Russell-Wood, A. J. R. The Black Man in Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil. New York: St Martin's Press 1982.
  • Schwartz, Stuart B. Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia 1550-1835. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1985.
  • Sharp, William Frederick. Slavery on the Spanish Frontier: The Colombian Chocó, 1680-1810. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 1976.
  • Solow, Barard I. ed., Slavery and the Rise of the Atlantic System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1991.
  • Tannenbaum, Frank. Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas. New York Vintage Books 1947.
  • Toplin, Robert Brent. Slavery and Race Relations in Latin America. Westport CT: Greenwood Press 1974.
  • Vinson, Ben, III and Matthew Restall, eds. Black Mexico: Race and Society from Colonial to Modern Times. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2009.
  • Walker, Tamara J. "He Outfitted His Family in Notable Decency: Slavery, Honour, and Dress in Eighteenth-Century Lima, Peru," Slavery & Abolition 30, no. 3 (2009) 383-402.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Slavery In America". slavery2003 JOURNAL. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  2. ^ "Black in Latin America". imdb.com. IMDB.com. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Eltis, David; Richardson, David. "Search the Voyages Website". Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. Emory University. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Gates, Jr., Henry Louis (2011). Black in Latin America. NYU. ISBN 9780814732984. 
  5. ^ Meade, Teresa A. History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present. Wiley Blackwell, 2016.
  6. ^ Meade, Teresa A. History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present. Wiley Blackwell, 2016.
  7. ^ Meade, Teresa A. History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present. Wiley Blackwell, 2016.

External links

Slavery in the Americas

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