Slavery in Latin America

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Slavery in Latin America is about the history of the Atlantic slave trade in Latin America (which includes French, Portuguese, and Spanish colonies) and how it has affected modern-day Latin America and the Casta system used by Spain.

Slavery in Latin America[edit]

The African presence in Latin America had an affect 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]

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]


According to the television series, Black in Latin America,[2] Mexico and Peru, combined, imported more African slaves than the United States. Between 1502 and 1866, of the 11.2 million Africans, only 450,000 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]


  1. ^ a b c d "Slavery In America". slavery2003 JOURNAL. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  2. ^ "Black in Latin America". 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. ^ Gates, Jr., Henry Louis (2011). Bllack in Latin America. NYU. ISBN 9780814732984. 

External links[edit]

Slavery in the Americas