If you have ever wondered how black people came to live in Peru, you shouldn’t be surprised if you discovered that the route was the same transatlantic slave trade. This dark history is often not discussed but it’s part and parcel of every south and north American country. Peru is no exception. Afro-Caribbeans are descendants of Africans were brought as slaves to Peru, after the arrival of the conquistadors.
A brief history of Black people in Peru
They started to arrive in 1521, and built the infrastructure that the Spanish colonists needed to settle in Peru. They were responsible for building road systems, bridges, and public buildings. They were also forced to work as soldiers and personal servants of conquistadors. When Cusco was attacked by the Spaniards, their African slaves were part of the conquest.
Black people who were directly shipped from Africa were known as “untamed blacks” where as, Black people who spoke Spanish and were familiar with Spanish culture were called “hispanicised blacks”. These derogatory terms were applied for many centuries, and formed the backbone of the Spanish caste system that later came to be.
The offsprings of Black people and Spanish colonists were below Mestizos, who were the progeny of Spanish colonists and indigenous people. Indigenous and Black people were at the bottom the caste hierarchy imposed by the colonists. Slavery was abolished only in 1854, and their integration into the larger Peruvian society took quite a lot of time. In addition, though many Black people from emancipated form slavery, it continued throughout the 19th century.
What is the status of Black Peruvians today?
Today, Black Peruvians, also known as Afro-Peruvians, are found across Peru, and are an integral part of the society. Despite social inequalities, they continue to thrive and making valuable contributions in practically every field. To learn more about various ethnicities of Peru, keep reading our blog. We will continue to bring you glimpses of the Peruvian society in the months to come.