|Notable Afro Argentines:
Gabino Ezeiza • Higinio Cazón • Enrique Maciel • Fidel Nadal • Fernando Tissone
|Regions with significant populations|
|Salta, Tucumán, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, Misiones, Corrientes|
|Related ethnic groups|
The black population resulting from the slave trade during the centuries of Spanish domination of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata had a major role in Argentine history. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, it comprised up to fifty per cent of the population in some provinces and had a deep impact on national culture. In the 19th century, it declined sharply in number as a result of factors such the wars of Independence, high infant mortality rates, low number of married blacks, the Paraguayan War, cholera epidemics in 1861 and 1864, as well as a yellow fever epidemic in 1871. By the late 19th century, the Afro-Argentine population consisted mainly of women who mixed with the European immigrants that arrived. With thousands of immigrants of Europe arriving to Argentine soil, and most black women intermarrying with them, whose populations were already low, the Población negra en Argentina became largely indistinct from the general population.
Research supports the claim by the Center for Genetic Studies of the School of Arts and Sciences of the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) that an estimated 4.3 percent of the people living in suburban Buenos Aires have genetic markers of African descent. Today there is still a notable Afro-Argentine community in the Buenos Aires district of San Telmo. There are also quite a few black Afro-Argentines in Merlo and Ciudad Evita cities, in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area.
Introduction and Origin of Africans during Colonization 
As part of the process of conquest, the economic regimes of the European colonies in America developed various forms of forced labor exploitation of the American aboriginals. However, the relatively low population density of some of the South American territories, resistance from some Aboriginal groups to the acculturation and especially the high rate of mortality of the submission, the type of work and diseases introduced by Europeans resulted in the decline of the native population, led them to supplement the manpower that they provided with slaves from sub-Saharan Africa. Mexico and Peru alone lost nearly 90-percent of their indigenous population in the first 50 years after the Conquest.
Well into the 19th century, mining and agriculture accounted for the bulk of economic activity in America. Africans offered to the conquerors the advantage of having already been exposed by their geographical proximity to European diseases, and at the same time adjusted to the tropical climate of the colonies. In the case of Argentina, the influx of African slaves began in the colonies of the Rio de la Plata in 1588, although these early arrivals were largely the work of smuggling. Trafficking flourished through the port of Buenos Aires when the city granted the British the privilege of importing a share of slaves through it. To provide slaves to the East Indies, the Spanish crown granted contracts known as Asientos to various companies from other countries, mainly Portuguese, British, Dutch and French. In 1713 England, victorious in the War of Spanish Succession, had the monopoly on this trade. The last Asiento was drawn up with the Royal Society of the Philippines in 1787. Until the 1784 ban, blacks were measured and then branded.
Before the 16th century slaves had arrived in relatively small numbers from the Cape Verde islands. Thereafter the majority of Africans introduced to Argentina were from ethnic groups speaking Bantu languages, from the territories now comprising Angola, The Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Guinea and the Republic of the Congo. The immigration of Yoruba and Ewe was more limited in Argentina; larger numbers of these groups were taken to Brazil
It is estimated that 30 million Africans were shipped to the Americas, and the 6 million who survived the journey entered mainly through the ports of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Valparaiso and Rio de Janeiro.
The slaves were forced to work in agriculture, livestock, domestic work and to a lesser extent crafts. In urban areas, many slaves made handicrafts for sale, whose revenues went to their masters. The Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Telmo and Montserrat housed a large quantity of slaves, although most were to sent to the interior provinces. The 1778 census conducted by Juan José Salcedo of Vértiz showed very high concentration of Africans in provinces where agricultural production was greatest: 54% in Santiago del Estero Province, 52% in Catamarca Province, 46% in Salta province, 44% in Córdoba Province, 64% in the Tucuman Province, 24% in Mendoza Province, 20% in La Rioja Province, 16% in San Juan Province, 13% in Jujuy Province and 9% in San Luis Province. An important part of the African population also inhabited other provinces. Today one of the slums of the city of Corrientes is still known as Camba Cuá, from the Guarani kamba kua, meaning "cave of the Blacks".
In 1806-1807 the city of Buenos Aires had 15,708 Europeans, 347 indigenous and mestizos, and 6,650 Africans and mulattoes, while in 1810 there were 22,793 whites, 9,615 Africans and mulattoes, and only 150 indigenous. The area most densely populated by Africans was located in the neighborhood of Montserrat, also known as Barrio del Tambor (Drumtown), just a few blocks from the current Congress.
The Nations 
Slaves would group themselves in societies they called nations, some of which were Conga, Cabunda, African Argentine, Mozambique, etc.
The meeting places of the nations had in common their locations in artificially flattened and sanded opened spaces for dancing; others were closed in with interior free space. In some cases the rooms were carpeted and curtained thanks to the generosity of a master. The nation had its king and queen (who in reality were democratically elected and had no court) and centered around a throne that was erected in the best place of the flag along with its flag, which every nation had. There was also a platform or at least a dais, which among other things was used to receive great dignitaries such as Juan Manuel de Rosas, his wife, and his daughter, as portrayed in a painting by Martín Boneo. The headquarters was the site of social gatherings and dances.
Often the black societies centered around the barrios, such as the del Mondongo nation or the del Tambor society. The Mondongo nation was one of the most important in Buenos Aires and was composed of 16 blocks in the barrio of Monserrat. Its name derived from the large quantity of tripe (mondongo) consumed its members. The name Tambor was quite common in many towns, as the drum was the favored African instrument for dances and songs.
Sometimes slaves were purchased individually from abroad through an agent. For example, a letter sent from Rio de Janeiro says:
|“||My dear sir: on behalf of the schooner Ávila I send you the negro girl that you charged me with purchasing here. She is thirteen or fourteen years old, was born in the Congo, and is called María. I will put on record that I have received the five hundred peso price. Greetings to you.||”|
Africans in the Formation of Argentina 
Despite widespread slavery, testimonies of the time argued that in Buenos Aires and in Montevideo slaves were treated with less cruelty than elsewhere. José Antonio Wilde, in Buenos Aires during Argentina's early independence period (1810–1880) said that:
|“||the slaves had been treated with genuine affection for their masters, having no point of comparison with the treatment given to other colonies.||”|
This was not prevented from acknowledging however that:
|“||the tormented love more or less at this hapless fraction of the human genus (and that) between us were usually very badly dressed.||”|
The testimony on the relatively good treatment of African slaves in Argentina is most likely that of foreigners. For example, Alexander Gillespie, skipper of the British army during the British invasion of 1806, wrote in his memoirs that he was surprised how well black people were treated in contrast with those enslaved by British planters in the Caribbean and in Guyana, and continued:
|“||"When these unhappy exiles from their country are bought in Buenos Aires, the first care was to instruct the master's lead slave in the native language of the place, and the same in the general principles and beliefs of their faith" "The masters, as I have observed, were equally attentive to their morals. Every morning before they were to leave to Mass, they congregated in a black circle on the floor, young and old, giving them work of needle and fabric, each according to their abilities. Everyone seemed jovial and I have no doubt that the reprimand also entered the circle. Before and after lunch and dinner in one of the latter was presented to ask for blessings and give thanks, what we were taught to regard as prominent duties and always complied with solemnity.||”|
—Alexander Gillespie, Captain of the British Army, 1998
In 1801 the first black militias were organized and regulated in the Company of the Grenadier Brown and Brown as a military corps segregated from the rest.
The British Invasion of 1806 originated with an uprising of black slaves in Buenos Aires encouraged by the rise of abolitionism of slavery in England. Afro-Argentines believed that the British expedition came mainly to give them their independence. But the British General William Carr Beresford, had no sympathy with this movement. The spokesman for the Creoles in Buenos Aires, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón argued that the country's economic base would be ruined if slavery were quickly eliminated. He demanded action on behalf of their estates, and thus General Beresford issued a directive in which he ordered that it be announced to make the slaves understand that the British were not there to change the current situation. "It is the shortcut to time," wrote Pueyrredón in July 1806, in a letter to his stepfather in Cadiz. This measure would contribute to the defeat of the British occupation, because it drove the slaves to fight against them.
Following the defeat of the British, the Cabildo de Buenos Aires declared its main objective to "see how to banish slavery from our soil." In 1812, Bernardo de Monteagudo was prevented from assuming membership of the First Triumvirate, due to his "questionable mother," referring to his African ancestors. Paradoxically, Bernardino Rivadavia was one of the objectors. He was also a descendant of Africans. The Assembly of the Year XIII, the first constituent body of Argentina, ordered the release of slave children, but did not recognize the existing right to the emancipation of the slaves. Many blacks were part of militias and irregular troops that eventually would shape the Argentine Army, but always in segregated squadrons. Blacks could however, if they were not complying with their masters, ask to be sold and even find themselves a buyer.
Until the abolition of slavery in 1853, the Rescue Law forced slave owners to cede 40-percent of their slaves to military service. Those who had completed five years of service would obtain manumission, but that was rarely the case. The Northern Army commanded by José de San Martín and Manuel Belgrano, freed blacks made up to 65-percent of the troops. San Martin came to the conclusion that there were 400,000 Afro-Argentines who could be recruited into the homeland armies. The armies of Independence recruited large numbers of slaves who lived in conquered territories, offering them freedom in exchange. Many of them included the Battalion Number Eight, which was part of the front line at the Battle of Chacabuco that recorded large numbers of casualties.
During the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas the black population of Buenos Aires rose to 30-percent. This period saw the introduction of the Argentine Carnival (similar to that of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the development of rhythms such as Candomblé and milonga that would become an integral part of Argentinian folklore. Rosas was known for his great appreciation of the black population, and his frequent attendance at the Candomblés. Many of the gauchos who developed tasks in the field at the time were Afro-Argentinians. In 1837, Roses passed a law expressly prohibiting the purchase and sale of slaves in Argentina, and in 1840 issued a decree for the total abolition of the slave trade in Rio de la Plata in all forms. The National Constitution of 1853 abolished slavery, but legally only with the reform of the Constitution of 1860 was complete freedom granted to all slaves brought by their foreign masters to Argentine territory.
Domingo F. Sarmiento's term as President of Argentina from 1868 to 1874 happens to be one of the two factors that traditional history assigns to have attributed to the cause of the mass death of Afro-Argentinians: the Paraguayan War (1865–1870) and the yellow fever epidemic in Buenos Aires of 1871. Sarmiento expressed strong racist ideas and a clear position on the need to eliminate Afro-Argentine component of the population. One of the key passages of Martín Fierro, written in 1872 and considered the national book of Argentina, consists of two encounters of the protagonist with black gauchos: the first is murdered with apparent disdain in the first part of the book, and with the other (who happens to be son of the former, several years later) argues a famous payada.
After the abolition of slavery Afro-Argentines lived in miserable conditions and faced widespread discrimination. The proof is that of the fourteen schools in Buenos Aires in 1857, only two black children were admitted, despite the fact that 15-percent of students that year were of color. Similarly, in 1829, in Cordoba only those Afro-Argentines entering secondary school could be there for two years instead of the four years for white Argentines. Universities did not allow Blacks into their alumni until 1853.
Afro-Argentines began to publish newspapers and to organize for the common defense. One of the newspapers, "The Unionist", published in 1877 a statement of equal rights and justice for all people regardless of skin color was published. In one of its statements read:
|“||The Constitution is a dead letter and the Counts and Marquises abound, which, following the old and odious colonial regime intended to treat their subordinates as slaves, without understanding that among the men who humiliate there are many who hide under their clothes a coarse intelligence superior to that of the same outrage.||”|
Other newspapers were "The African Race", the "Black Democrat" and "The Proletarian", all published in 1858. By the 1880s there were about twenty such Afro-Argentine-published newspapers in Buenos Aires; and some researchers consider these social movements integral to the introduction of socialism and the idea of social justice in Argentine culture.
Some Afro-Argentines entered politics. For example, José María Morales, an active colonel in the militias, became a deputy provincial constituent and then provincial senator in 1880, while Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Sosa became deputy twice and a constituent in 1853.
Theories on the Decline of the Afro-Argentine Population 
Traditionally it has been argued that the black population in Argentina declined since the early 19th century to insignificance. However, the pilot census conducted in two neighborhoods of Argentina in 2006 on knowledge of their ancestors from Sub-Saharan Africa verified that 5-percent of the population were aware of their African ancestry, and another 20-percent thought that was possible but not sure. Given that European immigration accounted for more than half the growth of the Argentine population in 1960, some researchers argue that rather than decrease what they had was a process of "invisibility" of the population Afro-Argentine and their cultural roots.
Other researchers argued that there was a deliberate policy of genocide against the Afro-Argentine, which was openly expressed by many Euro-Argentines as Domingo F. Sarmiento and was probably implemented by using repressive policies during epidemics and wars as a tool of mass destruction. These theories argue that genocide may have been used to explain the decline in the population. Experts were pursuing similar arguments, but differ on the attribution of intent that was first attributed to the ruling classes.
Causes of Reduction 
Among the reasons expressed are:
- Heavy casualties caused by constant civil wars and foreign wars: Blacks formed a disproportionate part of the Argentine army in the long and bloody War of Paraguay (1865–1870), in which the loss of lives on both sides were high. The official historiography maintains that this resulted in the disappearance of the black population, while the genocide claims contend that the disproportionate recruitment was intentional.
- Epidemics, especially of yellow fever in 1871: the traditional history holds that the epidemics had greater impact in areas where the poorest people lived, whereas the vision that sustains the existence of a genocide underlines the repressive mechanisms that enabled upper-class groups to leave the affected areas at the same time, forcing Afro-Argentines to stay locked-up thus aggravating health conditions.
- Emigration (meaning movement of a population out of one country to another, as opposed to immigration: movement of people into a country from another). Large numbers of Afro-Argentines emigrated particularly to Uruguay and Brazil, where black populations had historically been larger and had a more favorable political climate;
- Massive immigration from Europe between 1880 and 1950, boosted by the Constitution of 1853, that quickly multiplied the country's population. Like Australia in the 1950s to 1980s, European immigrants were encouraged while non-Europeans were virtually excluded.
- There are a growing number of historians in academia which look to the acts of racial genocide on the part of the Argentine government. Former Argentine President Domingo Sarmiento advocated forced population reductions of the black population in Argentina. While direct evidence of any such action is very limited, research into the unseemingly swift population reduction for blacks over a very short amount of time, lack of actualized census evidence of intermarriage between blacks and whites in Argentina, and investigations finding evidence of later commissions of genocide toward native populations, as well as executions by the Argentine government toward the nations small Native American population gives slight credence to the possibility of the subject.
Domingo F. Sarmiento 
Domingo F. Sarmiento, was president during the great yellow fever epidemic and the War of Paraguay, events to which is assigned the extermination of the Afro-Argentine. He had a strong racist position and argued the need to eliminate the black population. In 1848 he wrote all this in his diary during his trip to the United States.
|“||Slavery in the United States today is without question a possible solution; 4 million are black, and within 20 years will be 8. Rescue, who pays 1,000 million pesos worth? Libertos - or Freedmen, what is done with such blacks hated by the white race? Slavery is a parasite that the vegetation of English colonization has left attached to leafy tree of freedom. Did it not dare to uproot the tree when it could, while leaving the dead, and the parasite has grown and threatens the whole tree gleaned?||”|
Years later the same Sarmiento wrote:
|“||I come to this happy Chamber of Deputies in Buenos Aires, where there are no gauchos, or black, or poor.||”|
—Cited by Ruchansky
The opinions of Sarmiento are examples of the attitudes taken by the Argentine State after slavery was abolished by amending the census classifications so there is no record of their presence, eliminating the categories of people "black" or "brown", to merge it with other groups under the banner of "Trigueña."
Some of the few researchers in the situation of Afro-Argentines the end of the 19th century, have argued that his alleged posting by the European immigrants is not compatible with the fact the high rate of masculinity of the latter.
Non-European immigrants settled in large numbers in the northern provinces, where the population was predominantly black.
In 1887, the percentage of black population was officially calculated at 1.8-percent of the total. From that moment, blacks would not be registered in the census. The State's position was again made explicit at the time of the National Census of 1895 when its leaders said:
|“||Will soon be completely unified population forming a new and beautiful whites.||”|
Since then, and for nearly a century, in Argentina virtually no studies were conducted on the nature Afro-Argentines.
Beginning in the 1930s, large internal migration began to Buenos Aires and other urban centers to be integrated as factory workers in the industrialization process of the time. Beginning in the 1940s, this presence was growing and was disparagingly referred to by large sections of middle and upper class as "black heads."
Only in recent decades has there begun to appear research both historical and sociological aimed at the black population, with results that have been received with surprise and in some cases rejected by large segments.
Afro-Argentine studies have multiplied in recent years, as have related and activities and organizations. The overall result indicates a presence both physically and culturally far greater than that posed formally.
Afro-Argentine Women 
Arguably biggest reason for the small Afro-Argentine presence in Argentina, despite there once being a fairly sizable population at one time, is warfare. Afro-Argentine men were heavily involved in the country’s wars against Great Britain, Spain, Brazil, and even against the indigenous peoples of Argentina. Another reason in addition to warfare is that they were systematically being mixed out by mingling with European immigrants and the white Argentines as well. Also, Afro-Argentines that were free, were forced into very poor living conditions.
Slavery was officially abolished in Argentina in 1813, but many blacks were still held as slaves, and were granted their freedom only by fighting in Argentina's wars. For this reason, black men served very disproportionately in the war against Spain for Argentina's independence. A huge number of black men were killed in the war compared to the white Argentines. Black men were being used as a "cannon fodder", and were deliberately being placed on the front-lines. The Argentine government purposely sent as many blacks as possible to battle in dangerous military service. Not to mention their mission of "killing two birds with one stone" by sending Afro-Argentines to war against the Amerindians (Indians), who the white Argentines despised as well.
While the Afro-Argentine men were getting killed in warfare, Afro-Argentine women were without mates. So these black women began to produce mixed children with the European immigrants. This mixing created another problem for the Afro-Argentines: having African heritage was not considered proper and was even seen as a burden to many mulattoes. It is for this reason that many light-skinned mulattoes passed for white or trigueño (a dark skin white person) and were even careful not to associate themselves with the Afro-Argentine community. With the obsession of the Argentines to become a white nation, "passing" became popular for the mulattoes in Argentina. In fact, it was very rare to find a mulatto who had the chance to pass not to use this advantage.
Ironically, for the Afro-Argentines, a free black in Argentina had less chance to survive than an enslaved black Argentine did. An enslaved black was seen as an investment so was taken good care of. On the other hand, free blacks were left with menial jobs for low pay or became beggars in the streets. For this reason, poverty in the Afro-Argentine community was terrible. In fact, many blacks died from disease because they could not afford proper medical care. Many Afro-Argentines were decimated by frequent plagues like yellow fever.
Today in Argentina, the Afro-Argentine community is beginning to emerge from the shadows. There have been black organizations such as "Grupo Cultural Afro," "SOS Racismo," and perhaps the most important group "Africa Vive" that help to rekindle interest into the African heritage of Argentina. There are also Afro-Uruguayan and Afro-Brazilian migrants who have helped to expand the African culture. Afro-Uruguayan migrants have brought candomble to Argentina, while Afro-Brazilians teach capoeira, orisha, and other African derived secular dances.
Also, as Anthropologist Alejandro Frigerio noted, "The term 'negro' is used loosely on anyone with slightly darker skin, but they can be descendants of the indigenous Indians or Middle Eastern immigrants." Also, it has been well over a century since Argentina has reflected the African racial ancestry in its census count. Therefore, calculating the exact number of Afro-descendents is very difficult; however, Africa Vive calculates that there are about 1,000,000 Afro-descendents in Argentina. The last census, carried on October 27, 2010, introduced the African ancestry survey.
African influence in Argentine culture 
Perhaps the most lasting effect of black influence in Argentina was the Tango, which charges some of the characteristics of the festivities and ceremonies that slaves developed in the so-called tango, meeting houses in which they are grouped with permission from their masters. Although not yet clearly demonstrated, it is considered that even the milonga (and dance) and chacarera draw on its influence, and the minstrel song, besides the fictitious dark Martín Fierro, the minstrels were famous Gabino Ezeiza and Higinio D. Cazón. The pianist and composer Rosendo Mendizabal, author of "El Entrerriano", was black, and Carlos Posadas, Enrique Maciel (author of the music of the waltz "La Pulpera de Santa Lucía"), Cayetano Silva, born in San Carlos (Uruguay) and author of the San Lorenzo march music, and Zenón Rolón, who wrote numerous academic music, funeral march as the Great in 1880 was run in honor of the Liberator José de San Martín to be repatriated the remains.
The colloquial speech of Spanish in Argentina argues many black African terms, for example mine (synonymous with woman), maid, tripe, brothel, Marot, catinga, tamango, Mandingo and milonga, using many of them in the slang. In religion, in addition to the festivities of Carnival, the veneration of St. Benedict and St. Balthasar, the wise person black, still popularly revered in much of Corrientes, Chaco and north east of Santa Fe.
However, racism is still important. The terms black, bold, dark-haired and black head-directed towards people of another social class, but with a strong semantic content linked to race-are still used, though their victims are often people of Amerindian origin, and even of European origin.
Poems by Afro-Argentinians 
- In the midst of my people I am isolated,
- because where my cradle was rocked
- roughly over on its side,
- a breed of outcasts has remained
- and it is to that race which I belong.
- And we have no homeland, if it exists,
- It knew how to draft us from its breast;
- the charges that serve for a saddened man.
- And if we have but one right granted,
- It is surely the right to die.
- (1869) Horacio Mendizabal.
- Oh damned, damned, a thousand times
- you faithless white, your cruel remembrance
- is eternal hurt from your history
- (1878) Casilda Thompson.
- There are no more Negro bottlemen,
- nor porters
- or fruit-selling blacks,
- much less a fisherman;
- because those Neapolitans
- have even become pastry chefs
- and now want to rob us of
- the laundryman's trade.
- There are no more servants of my colour
- Because every one of them is a wop;
- Before long, by Jesus Christ!
- They'll be dancing the Zemba [note 1] with a drum.
- Anonymous poet, probably from the late 19th century.
Colonial racial categories 
During the colony, the Spanish authorities described as different "varieties" from "crossing" include those resulting from the union of Black African people with people of other ethnic origins. The names used were:
- Mulatto: Black and White parents.
- Morisco: Mulatto and White parents.
- Albino: Morisco and White parents.
- Quadroon: one-quarter Black ancestry/three-quarter White ancestry.
- Octoroon: one-eighth Black ancestry/seven-eighth White ancestry.
- Tercerón: White/Mulatto mixed, an octoroon.
- Quinterón: fifth-generation Black ancestry/one parent who is an octoroon and one White parent.
- Hexadecaroon: sixth-generation Black ancestry.
- Zambo: Black/Amerindian mixed.
- Zambo Prieto: Black/Amerindian mixed with predominant Black.
Socially, possess a "crossing" in the family tree was a macula. These classifications, and other common in the colonial culture, as "mestizo" or cholo, were used to stigmatize people and prevent their social advancement. In some cases, well-known historical personalities were found in this situation, as Bernardo de Monteagudo and Bernardino Rivadavia, were described as "mulatto".
Immigration after the nineteenth century 
Immigrants from Cape Verde 
Between 12,000 and 15,000 descendants of immigrants from Cape Verde living in Argentina, of whom about 300 are native to the African country.
This immigration began in the late 19th century and became important from the 1920s. The busiest periods were between 1927 and 1933 and the third, after 1946. These migrations were mainly due to droughts in the African country that originated famine and death.
They were expert sailors and fishermen, which is why most places settled in ports such as Rosario, Buenos Aires, San Nicolás, Bahía Blanca, Ensenada and Dock Sud. 95% of them got jobs in the Military Navy, in the Merchant Navy in the Fluvial Fleet of Argentina and in YPF dockyards or the ELMA.
Expelled from Africa 
In Buenos Aires 
In the popularly-called Barrio del Once there are Africans who have come to escape the conditions of their countries, particularly Senegal. According to the Agency for Refugees in Buenos Aires, they came by seeking asylum or getting a visa to travel to Brazil and then Argentina, sometimes traveling as stowaways on ships. When denied a residence permit, the African refugees remain in the country without status and become lawful targets of human trafficking network. On Sunday some of the Senegalese community comes together to eat traditional dishes of their country. Some places already have African food recipes.
In Rosario 
In recent years, Africans who were exploited in their home countries have arrived as stowaways to Argentina, particularly the port of Rosario, province of Santa Fe. Although figures are inadequate the numbers increase every year: in 2008 landed 70 people seeking refuge, against some 40 of the previous year, but only 10 remained, the rest were repatriated. Many are children.
They usually get on the ships without knowing where they go, or believing they are going to a developed country in the northern hemisphere. They come from Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.
The first Africans who started this new immigration arrived in the city of Rosario in 2004. They were adopted by a family, but most are not. Children have been housed in temporary homes and many adults live in rented rooms and earn money as street vendors. Some family formed and settled. Others became offenders.
In the early 90s until the 2001 economic crisis as a result of a policy of peso-dollar conversion, there was an influx of poor countries who came to the country to work to earn high wages measured in dollars and return to their home with money earned. Then they began to get Dominican women of African descent into prostitution either voluntarily or have fallen into a network of trafficking.
A second wave of immigrants of this class started in 2008: Dominican requests to settle in the country rose from 663 in 2007 to 1,168 in 2008 according to statistics from the Directorate of Immigration. It imposed controls in order to detect "fake tourists" and fight the gangs that brought them. So in April 2009 some 166 Dominicans were rejected and returned to their country.
In Argentina, as in other countries of America, racism-related skin tone or the people of African origin dates back to the days of colonial rule. In the caste system imposed by Spain, the descendants of people from black Africa occupied a place still lower than the descendants of persons belonging to aboriginal peoples.
The racist colonial went some way to the Argentine culture, as shown by some racist comments of the president Domingo F. Sarmiento. During the mid-19th century, were common to the death duels between gauchos and mestizos afroargentinos. In Argentine literature, these disputes are represented with a racist tinge in a famous passage from the book by José Hernández, Martín Fierro (The way), published in 1870, in which the main character is a bat with a gaucho black mourning after insulting his girlfriend and insult to the following verse:
- For the whites did God,
- mulattos to San Pedro,
- Blacks made to the devil
- for blight of hell.
Several years later, in 1878 Hernandez publishes the second part of his famous book, which holds a famous Fierro payada in that debate philosophical topics (such as life, creation, existence, etc.). With another who is black gaucho be the son of former literate and unique character of the famous book. Showing the evolution of the character and probably of Argentine society in the process of receiving millions of European immigrants, this time Martín Fierro avoids the duel when it seemed inevitable.
The invisibility of deliberate Afro Argentinians and culture, is another striking manifestation of racism in Argentina, related to the tone of the skin or African origins.
In 2006 the president of the National Institute to Combat Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) recognized the invisibility of Afro Argentine with the following words:
|“||The afros in Argentina have been "invisible" and today unseen continue. This is the result of a process of diaspora caused by slavery and its transformation into servitude. The current social stratification places them in poverty.||”|
A special type of discrimination has been widespread since the mid-20th century, using derogatory terms such as "black head", "black", "bold", "black" and that are related primarily to workers in lower classes. In many cases, have been "racialised social relations," and simply uses the term "black", to name a derogatory to the worker, unrelated to the color of their skin. In labor relations is commonly used among people who hold positions of importance in companies in personnel management, workers refer to as "blacks". Also in the political life it is customary to refer to supporters of Peronism as "black".
In this particular manifestation of racism in Argentina, has been unified under the term "black" or "black", discrimination against persons belonging to the indigenous peoples, as well as that of Latin American migrants and their descendants, and directed against Afro Argentinians .
One manifestation of this racism is present in the songs employed by the swollen football, where discrimination on ethnicity or nationality is conspicuous; in one particularly famous example, was "accused" by the fans of Boca Juniors to be "dirty blacks from Bolivia and Paraguay".
On the other hand, "black" is very frequently used as a friendly term or a (non-offensive) nickname, which does not cause offence.
Africa Vive 
Recently, there has been a growing interest into Argentina’s African heritage, as well as their African descended community. A group of Afro-Argentines called “Africa Vive” (Africa lives), led by Maria Lamadrid, have emerged on a mission to fight discrimination, as well as raise awareness of the plight of the Afro-Argentine community and their place in Argentina’s history. Maria Lamadrid, who founded Africa Vive in the late 90’s, has helped to bring the racism and discrimination in Argentina to the forefront. She struggled in her youth to receive an education since she was both black and poor. For this reason, she ended up cleaning other people’s houses to make a living, like other poor women in Argentina do. Maria has seen the racism up close and personal there every day. In fact, a few years ago when Maria wanted to travel to Panama, she went to the immigration counter with her new Argentine passport, when the immigration officer saw the passport, the officer began to scream that “it is a fake”, and then this officer detained her. The only reason they could give for detaining her is that “there aren’t any blacks in Argentina.”
Although Maria encounters racism as well as discrimination on a daily basis in her country, it has done nothing but inspire her, as well as her Africa Vive foundation to push forward towards equality. In fact, in 1999, Africa Vive organized a very well publicized conference against discrimination at the University of Buenos Aires. Africa Vive also was invited to attend the Durban UN Conference on Racism. At this conference, they made a presentation about the socio-economic situation of the Afro-Argentines, such as the high amount of unemployment in the Afro Argentine community, as well as the problem with naturalization that blacks receive because of racist immigration policies.
Argentina has been a country that not only denies having an Afro-descended community, but has done everything to erase Africa from its past. The Afro-Argentine community currently faces issues of high unemployment, racist immigration policies, as well as denial about their existence; however, there is hope for this country’ black people. In 2001, Afro-descended groups like “Grupo Cultural Afro”, "SOS Racismo", and of course "Africa Vive" came together to convince a national deputy to organize a ceremony in memory of the black soldiers who died fighting (as a “cannon fodder” in many cases) for Argentina’s independence. In this ceremony, the national deputy spoke in honor of the great fallen soldiers, in addition to awarding degrees to the heads of several black organizations. For Argentina to have an event that not only acknowledges the African contributions to the country, but also puts the Afro-Argentines in the spotlight, is truly a very remarkable thing. This event was certainly a huge step for Afro-Argentines toward reaching their goal for equality, however, they still have many more miles to walk, but there is certainly more hope for the Afro-Argentine Community to reach this goal than there has been in a very long time.
On October 9, 2006, created the Forum of African descent and Africans in Argentina, with the aim of promoting social and cultural pluralism and the fight against discrimination of a population in the country to reach the two million inhabitants.
The National Institute to Combat Discrimination (INADI) is the public body responsible for combating discrimination and racism.
Notable Afro Argentines 
- Gabino Ezeiza - singer and poet
- Enrique Maciel - guitarist, bandoneonist and composer
- Fidel Nadal - reggae artist
- Cayetano Alberto Silva - composer
- Fernando Tissone - footballer
- Higinio Cazón - musician
- Ramón Carrillo - neuroscientist
- Rosendo Mendizabal - musician and composer
- Zenón Rolón - musician
- Tomas Platero IV - writer, poet
- Santiago Lovell- boxer
- Guillermo Lovell - boxer
- Pedro Lovell - boxer
- Antonio Ruiz - soldier
- Arturo Rodriguez - boxer
- Celestino Barcala - major
- Lorenzo Barcala - lieutenant colonel
- Horacio Salgán - pianist, composer, orchestra leader
- José María Morales - military
- Jimmy Santos- musician
- Carlos Posadas - musician
- Manuel G. Posadas - musician
- Manuel Posadas - musician
- Domingo Sosa - military
- Juan Bautista Cabral - soldier
- Wilson Severino - footballer
See also 
- Milonga (music)
- Afro-Latin American
- Argentine people
- African immigration to Latin America
- Zemba or Charanda: Afro-Argentine dance rhythm preserved in parts of North East of Argentina, played in the veneration of San Baltazar. Years ago it was also played in other parts of Argentina, as in Buenos Aires. It has not to be confused with the Zamba rhythm, another folk rhythm of Argentina, with African influence.
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- Afro Argentine woman
- Afro-Argentina & Bolivia
- Los negros invisibles
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- Afros All Over
- ARGENTINA: Drumming Up Black Awareness
- Blacks in Argentina: Disappearing Acts
- In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots
- Blacks in Argentina -- officially a few, but maybe a million