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Yes, There Were Black Slaves in Mexico and One of Them Changed History

Gaspar Yanga and Black slaves in Mexico

Gaspar Yanga, or Nyanga, was a Prince in the country of Gabon that was later captured and taken to work as a slave at a sugar and alcohol farm in Mexico. Because Mexico is located on the continent of North America and because he led a successful rebellion there against Spain, Yanga is considered to be one of America's first liberators.

During the Colonial Era, sugar plantations began to surface and as a result, hundreds of thousands of slaves were captured from various African countries and sold to the United States and nearly every country in Central and South America including Mexico. In 1570, after being enslaved for many years, Yanga fled and took refuge with a group of cimarrones (which means run-away slaves in Spanish) near the city of Cordoba in the state of Veracruz.

By 1609, this powerful group of cimarrones had surpassed 500 members and successfully led a rebellion against the Spanish government, which had colonized Mexico at the time. In 1631, the land they inhabited was officially recognized as the free town of San Lorenzo de Los Negros, now Yanga; the first independent settlement of New Spain.

Yanga's deal with the Spanish was that he and his descendants would rule the town and the inhabitants would be completely free. Meanwhile, they had to pay an annual tribute and accept the entrance of Franciscan priests to evangelize.

Three centuries later, on November 5, 1932, Gaspar Yanga was named as its liberator. To date, hundreds of thousands of people of African descent can still be found throughout Mexico - mostly in Veracruz and it's surrounding areas. There are often called Afro-Mexicans (or Afro Mexicanos in Spanish).