Black ladino

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Black Ladinos (Spanish: negros ladinos) were Hispanicized black Ladinos, exiled to Spanish America after having spent time[1] in Castile.

They were referred to as negros ladinos ("cultivated" or "latinized Blacks"), as opposed to negros bozales ("muzzled[citation needed] Blacks", i.e. those captured in Africa and tied up to prevent them from escaping). The Ladinos' skills granted them a higher price than those of bozales.[2]

Black Ladinos born in the Americas were negros criollos ("Creole Blacks", cf. Creoles of color).


Prior to the arrival of Columbus to the Americas, there were Black people or Moorish Moors (there has been a long history of Moors/Africans in Europe) in the Iberian Peninsula, who either lived as free men from time immemorial, were brought through the Arab slave trade, the Castilian or Portuguese colonization of Africa. After some time in the Spanish society, those Africans became Christianized and learnt Spanish. There were 50,000 Black Ladinos in Spain in the 15th century. [3]

After the initial stages of the Spanish colonization of the Americas showed that Amerindians were not suitable for the labour that the conquerors required (mainly due to the Eurasian illnesses unknown in the Americas), Nicolás de Ovando decided to bring slaves from Spain.[4] Between 1502 and 1518, Castile exiled hundreds of black slaves, primarily to work as miners. Opponents of their enslavement cited their Christian faith and their repeated attempts of escape to the mountains or to join the Native Americans in revolt. Proponents declared that the rapid diminution of the Native American population required a consistent supply of reliable low-cost workers. Free Spaniards were reluctant to do manual labor or to remain settled (especially after the discovery of gold on the mainland), and only slave labor assured the economic viability of the colonies.


  • Estevanico (c. 1500–1539), a Berber captured by the Portuguese and sold to a Spanish Conquistador.
  • The slaves in the schooner La Amistad were Mendes captured in Africa but were described as Ladinos[5] by their Cuban buyers to avoid the ban on international slave trade.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ esclavo ladino in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española: "Slave who spent over a year in slavery".
  2. ^ Génesis y desarrollo de la esclavitud en Colombia: siglos XVI y XVII, page 132, María Cristina Navarrete, Universidad del Valle, 2005
  3. ^ Nicomedes Santa Cruz. Obras Completas II. Investigación (1958-1991), page 306, Nicomedes Santa Cruz, LibrosEnRed, 2004
  4. ^ Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean, Volume 2: Social Dynamics and Cultural Transformations: Eastern South America and the Caribbean, Norman E. Whitten, Jr., Arlene Torres, page 45.
  5. ^ The Amistad Case Archived November 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]