African Roots in Perú


Ritmo, Color y Sabor

Today in our show, we will continue with our journey throughout South America. As we intent, this is a podcast about Blackness in the Americas. We will share a little bit of history, music, culture and more. 

Our guess for today is Afro-Peru. Let’s beginning.  

Today in our show, we will talk about Afro-Peruvians who are citizens of Peru.  Peru is a beautiful county located in South America. The official name is Republica del Peru. It shares borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile.

The first Africans arrived with the conquistadors in 1521, mostly as slaves. Between 1529 and 1537, when Francisco Pizarro was granted permits to import 363 slaves to colonial Peru, a large group of Africans were imported to do labor for public construction, building bridges and road systems. They also fought alongside the conquistadors as soldiers and worked as personal servants. 

Over the course of the slave trade, approximately 95,000 slaves were brought into Peru, with the last group arriving in 1850. 

Often slaves were initially transported to Cuba and Hispaniola, from where traders brought them to Panama and the Viceroyalty of Peru. Planters and others also purchased slaves in Cartagena, Colombia or Veracruz, Mexico, at trade fairs, and they returned to Peru with the new slaves imported by the slave ships. 

As a result of the “New laws” of 1548 and the influence of the denunciation of the abuses against Native Americans by Friar Bartolomé de las Casas, slaves gradually replaced natives at the encomiendas.

Today what’s the reflection of Afro-Peruvians? 

The following data is coming from the World Bank and it says:

Half of Afro-Peruvians have been insulted at least once on the streets whereas four of every 10 have felt discriminated against in their workplace or in shops or other public spaces.

These data is part of the Center for Afro Peruvians Studies and Promotion, a non-profit organization in Peru, which reports that despite some progress, Afro-Peruvians continue to be invisible to the government as well as much of society.

The country’s international image is tied mainly to its Inca heritage, to Machu Picchu and to the indigenous population. It is an image that ignores the diversity and complexity of the human geography of Peru, especially Afro-Peruvians.

If this population is mentioned at all, it is only in reference to music or sports figures. This is something which many Afro-Peruvians believe only reinforces stereotypes.

An afro-Peruvian women told in a Video “Proudly Afro Peruvians” that she doesn’t dance, doesn’t cook and doesn’t play any musical instrument, and people kept saying to her “how could you be black?” You are a fake!” 

Racism and exclusion isn’t new for afro-descendants but Afro-Peruvians are also statistics. They live mainly in urban areas, and according to a survey, 70% of Afro-Peruvians who became ill in the past year did not seek medical attention due to the lack of access and perceived discrimination. Of that group, 27.7 % suffered from chronic health problems,”

The last time a racial variable was included in the census to identify the number of Afro-Peruvians was in 1940. Currently, efforts are being made to include this group in national statistics.

This discrimination is not only a question of racism, but also of real consequences in the lives of many people who are excluded from society and who cannot exercise their most basic rights.

The Ombudsman’s Office reported that – compared with the rest of the population – Afro-Peruvians fall behind in areas such as health, education and employment opportunities. A clear example of this reality occurs in the City of Piura (1,000 kilometers north of Lima), where 26% of Afro-Peruvian children are not enrolled in schools.

Peru is making efforts to remedy this situation. In November of 2013, the Ministry of Culture and the Ombudsman’s Office conducted the first national survey specifically targeting Afro-Peruvian households.

It was hoped that this survey provided detailed information that could serve as a baseline for the 2017 National Census, which included questions to validate ethnic and racial information throughout the country.

Well people there you have it. Afro-Peruvians

For more information follow the links:


LUNDU Organization

World Bank Data

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