Afro-Latin America Video

Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire. Introduction.

Latin America was born in blood and fire, in conquest and slavery.

Latin American history is conquest and colonization. 

Megacities like Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City well beyond 10 million mark, yet countries like Panama, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, and El Salvador PUT TOGETHER could fit in one of these cities. 

Brazil occupies half the S Am continent (5th largest county in world).

Most Native Americans live south of the Rio Grande.
Argentina’s capital more European than Washington DC.

Before 1800 three times as many Africans as Euros crossed the Atlantic.

So do these 20 Latin American nations all fit into single story?  Yes and no.  No because they are all different, diverse, heterogeneous.  Yes because they all share  a history of similar processes of European conquest and colonization as well as African slavery and migration.  Most of these nations became independent around the same time.  All were shaped by two main forces in the 20th C:

Liberalism: a la 17C and 18C French and English ideology, Age of Revolution
-representative democracy over monarchy
-citizenship rights over inherited privilege
-universal over local values
-progress over tradition
-reason over faith

Nationalism: can be an antidote to white supremacy in Latin America, part of white supremacy in US

1930s environmental determinism
1940s-1970 modernization theory (this and above blame Lat Ams for Lat Am probs)
1960s dependency theory sees colonizing powers and globalization at fault for probs.


The Atlantic Slave Trade 1500-1850
10 million people
2 mil perished in Atlantic 
.5 mil to US, rest to Caribbean and Lat Am.
Brazil 3.5. 
Cuba (much smaller place) .5 like US. 
All of Span Am 1.5 mil. 

All of Span and Port Am received 5.7 million people from Africa, over 10 times as many who came to US (560,000). African American pop 1/3 the size of Afro-Latin Am pop (35 v 110 mil) half as large of a proportion 12% here almost a quarter on average in Lat Am.


Andrews, Afro-Latin America. Introduction.

2000 Census says Hispanics catch up with blacks, both 35 million but “Black” and “Hispanic” not separate categories

See maps.  Latin America may be “less black” proportionally and more “more black” in terms of absolute numbers.

Brazil, Cuba, PR in 1800 majority black and mulatto no longer so in 2000

Argentina, Mexico, Peru part of Afro Lat Am in 1800, now not so because black and mulattos pops under 5% yet still local areas of African diaspora eg Veracruz and Guerrero in Mex and Ica in Peru.


2 definitions of Afro-Latin America

1) those portions of Lat Am where the impact of the African diaspora and slavery is foundational to the culture, this Afro Latin America is multiracial, the inhabitants might be any combination of European, Amer-Indian, African, and sometimes Asian ancestry, but regardless of lineage their culture, politics, economic, social reality has been profoundly shaped by the African Diaspora and there is a strong self-identified population of black people in these nations.


2) a more narrow sense of simply people whose ancestors were from the African Diaspora, this is a more exclusive notion of Afro-Latin America

Examples of former include independence armies, Liberal parties of 1800s and early 1900s, labor unions, and populist parties of the mid 1900s.

Examples of latter include late 18th and early 19th century maroon communities, black militias, mutual aid societies, religious and social brotherhoods.  Late 1800s  and early 1900s middle class Afro Latins created rich array of racially defined social and athletic clubs, cultural and civic organizations, newspapers, and political parties.

Some began as latter but  ended up as former: especially music and religion, such as samba, capoeira, and Condomble in Brazil, rumba, son, and Santeria in Cuba, first seen as dangerous Africanisms, now seen as part of national identity.