Sunday, October 07, 2007

Black Mexico

What a find is this website!

A labor of love, written with insight, intelligence and as a result of much research... this is a website all about Mexicans of African descent.

Here in the Yucatan, we see a black Mexican about once a month... the black culture is not well represented in this part of the world. And the blacks we see are usually from Cuba. But on the other side of the country, in what is called the Costa Chica region, blacks have a definite presence, though still small. (The other area of Mexico with a significant black presence, according to the website, is the state of Veracruz)

The website is written by a cultural anthropologist named Bobby Vaughn, who boasts impressive degrees from places like Lafayette and Stanford. A former Fulbright scholar, he has researched the black population and its history within Mexico and shares the benefit of that research on this website.

For instance, did you know that there were six blacks who participated in the conquest of Mexico with the conquistadors? They were probably the personal slaves of their Spanish masters, brought over with them from Spain and that they were probably Spanish-speaking by the time they got here. Sometime after 1519, the New World started receiving slaves brought in directly from Africa, who were not christianized beforehand (not were they taught Spanish). According to the website, these slaves were called bozales. Probably the most fascinating fact is that black slaves from Africa outnumbered Spaniards from the Old Country from about 1553 until 1810 when the Spaniards started feeling more secure about their place here. Think about it!

I don't want to spoil the rest for you... check out the website yourself. There is a brief history, a little bit about the author, a photo gallery and a reading list. It seems that the website hasn't been updated for awhile, but the content is no less interesting for that.

As one who always loves to learn more about Mexico, I was happy to find this website. Hope you enjoy it too!

1 comment:

Grant said...

I remember seeing black Mexicans 20 years ago on a visit to Acapulco. The surprise to me was the feeling that after having travelled in a foreign country (other parts of Mexico) up to that point, seeing black people gave me a sensation of being somewhere familiar. I should note that I'm white and while I live and work around some black people, but none of that explains the strange sensation of familiarity I felt seeing them unexpectedly.