AREA: 1,285,220 km2
ESTIMATED AFROPERUVIAN POPULATION: 2 million
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Spanish and Quechua
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY: 3 de Dicimebre de 1854
GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION FOR EQUALITY: Instituto Nacional de Pueblos Andinos, Amazonicos y Afro Peruanos (INDEPA)
AREAS OF AFRO PRESENCE: Piura, Lambayeque, Ancash, Lima, Huaral, Aucallama,Ica, Arequipa, Tacna,Trujillo, Callao, Nazca, Cañete, Tumbes, Chulucanas, Yapatera, Chapica del Carmelo, La Matanza, Pabur
AFRICAN DESCENDENTS: Senegal,Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Angola, Mozambique
YEARS OF REBELLION: 1545 - 1538 - 1550 - 1631 - 1711 - 1768 - 1779 - 1850 - 1835 - 1848 - 1879 - 1881- 1934 -1948
FAMOUS AFRO-PERUVIANS IN HISTORY: Idelfonso-Manuel Gil
DATES FIRST SLAVES ARRIVED: 1534
Galería de Imágenes
Links de interés
Problemas de racismo
En Peru, puedes comunicarte con esta entidad para reportar casos de discriminación, racismo o desigualdad
Peru was one of the most challenging stops on this journey as the black presence and Afro-Latino communities were extremely difficult to find. When many think about what a Peruvian looks like, the image that is conjured is one of the indigenous people of this land, identifying and connecting Peruvians directly to the history of the Andean population, the Incas or the European presence that existed. This reality posed quite a challenge, forcing the team to dig deeper to find these communities and tell their stories. And thus we saw first hand how invisible these afro communities truly are; so invisible you will not even find them unless you take it upon yourself to search. The team witnessed this when they drove towards Chincha, which was like driving through a desert, and only three hours outside of Lima, we saw that they are pushed out, displaced, and totally ignored. Peru pushed the producers to dig through the sand to uncover the story of its Afro-Latino people.
Enslaved Africans in Peru have a different history than most of the countries we visited. Before the first African slaves arrived to Peru in the 1520's, the indigenous peoples were the slaves. The Spanish used African slave as supervisors of the indigenous. We learn about the different levels of slavery (a hierarchy so to speak). When you think of slaves you see a black man in chains being mistreated and humiliated, but that was not the case in Lima; the majority of the slaves in Lima had certain liberties. There were actually black slaves who supervised the work of the indigenous slaves. They were called free slaves with certain liberties, “un esclavo sin cadenas, un esclavo libre” (a slave without chains, a free slave). They were granted permission to go out at night and visit family members in town on the weekends.
Something we never hear mentioned is the role that women played in history during this time. Sexual assault of female slaves was quite common. Maribel Arrelucea Barrantes, historian and expert on the subject of slavery and the study of Afro-Peruvians, introduced the term “servicios espirituales” (spiritual services) as the label for the forced labor being provided by women. What were these services? The enslaved woman would serve the amos (master) in maintaining the house, and where often violated and raped by their master. Women were forced to submit for they were seen as inferior and weak. If an enslaved woman was impregnated by the amos, then that child became a slave at birth.
Much is missing from the history books, including the contributions of Francisco Congo, one of the first escaped slaves to resist the Spanish rule. He formed a Palenque (the area slaves escaped to). He was known as a great leader for resistance against the Spanish. Little is taught about indigenous leader Túpac Amaru II, who offered freedom to a group of African slaves living in Cuzco if they supported the efforts to revolt against colonialism.
Common throughout Latin America was the enslaved African’s need to escape, hold onto their culture, and never forget where they came from. They struggle for ways of connecting to their motherland. This connection can be heard in their music and dance. When slaves in Peru were chained, they tried to create music and some kind of entertainment to escape the reality they were faced with. They sat on top of fruit baskets and used them as drums called the “Cajon”. Ironically, the Spaniards took the "Cajon" and adapted it to Flamenco. The Spaniards also took the Zapateo, a form of dance that is a native of Afro-Peruvians. Though danced somewhat differently, Flamenco has its root in the African culture of Peru. The Cajon (or Box) in Spanish Flamenco is Afro-Peruvian, not European.
Music was not the only form of connecting and conveying a message during this painful period. Faith and religion is heavily observed as well, for they had a strong belief in miracles. This faith and belief system is very visible in their culture. Someone who is revered as a miracle worker and healer in Peru is San Martin de Porres. San Martin accepted his faith, his poverty, and his gifts of healing. Child of a Spanish father (who never acknowledged him) and an Afro-Panamanian mother, San Martin was born in Lima. He worked on behalf of the poor and was believed to work miracles; to this day he is honored.
In many ways there is still a slave mentality. There is a racism that dates back in time and is being repeated today. The Afro-Peruvian contributions are not acknowledged, and in these communities you can still see the poverty, see the exclusion. The Afro communities are the poorest, most excluded communities in the country. They lack basic needs such as: food, water, and shelter. Living under the poorest conditions, they are still left to deal with racism and their vital needs are being ignored; things common to other societies such as proper health care and modern technology is lacking in the education today. What was found in Peru was an exploitation of communities, of children, of men and women, the faces of exploitation were very visible; we could see the sadness in their eyes. The sadness of their exploitation, of being raped of your land, culture, and language, of having outsiders come in and saying “this is ours!,” then having a modern day government stealing from the very people they claim to love. Who can you trust when you are not even valued or seen? When you are completely worthless, invisible? These Afro-Peruvian communities have no voice; a common problem throughout Latin America. A large part of the Afro-Latino project is to give voice to a community that is invisible, and the indigenous are right there side by side. It is important that we write “la historia de la gente sin historia,” the history of those who have been without history.
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