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Afro-Mexicans: One of the world’s most forgotten Black communities

Posted by Walter Gido on

Afro-Mexicans: One of the world’s most forgotten Black communities

Also known as Black Mexicans are Mexicans who have heritage from Sub-Saharan Africa and identify as such. As a single population, Afro-Mexicans include individuals descended from both free and enslaved black Africans who arrived to Mexico during the colonial era as well as post-independence migrants. The latter include Afro-descended people from neighboring English, French and Spanish speaking countries of the Caribbean and Central America, descendants of enslaved Africans who escaped to Mexico from the Deep South during Slavery in the USA , and to a lesser extent recent migrants directly from Africa.


A 2015 survey from Mexico’s statistics institute estimated the Afro-Mexican population at 1.3 million. Observers expect the census to put the current total at around 2 million – mostly in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz states.“ It’s extremely important that they count us as Afro-Mexicans,” said García, an engineer in the community of Cuajinicuilapa.“We’re of African descent – but we’re Mexicans because we were born here and we built this country.” From the very start of conquest of what is now Mexico, Africans arrived alongside the Spanish, both voluntarily and as slaves.

Many intermarried with indigenous people and some Afro-Mexicans have played prominent roles in the country’s history – including the independence hero José María Morelos and early president Vicente Guerrero. More recently, however, their history has been one of marginalisation and neglect in underdeveloped regions such as the Costa Chica, a dry, tropical zone to the south-east of Acapulco. When President Andrés Manuel López Obrador visited the region recently, a local politician complained of inadequate roads, a lack of hospitals and schools and recurring blackouts.Locals say the struggle for recognition started to gain momentum ahead of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas.

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