African Roots in Venezuela

The Solders from the Llanos

Intro: Hello everyone, I’m Alex Gutierrez, from Sacramento California, welcome to AFROSAYA the Afro-Latino Podcast. 

AfroVenezuela, Afrosaya, Afro

Today in our show, we will continue with our journey through 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 Venezuela  . Let’s do it

Content – History Background:

Today, we are talking about Venezuela, and Venezuela is a beautiful country, located in South America. The official name is Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela.

Venezuela shares borders with the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, Colombia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The country has extremely high biodiversity and ranks seventh in the world’s list of nations, with the most number of species.

The geography of Venezuela is so diverse that range from the Andes Mountains in the West to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the South. 

The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. 

In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, which was not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia.

It is not known how many people lived in Venezuela before the Spanish conquest; it has been estimated at around one million. In addition to indigenous peoples known today, the population included historically groups such as the Kalina (Caribs), Auaké, Caquetio, Mariche, and Timoto–Cuicas

The Timoto–Cuica culture was the most complex society in Pre-Columbian Venezuela, with pre-planned permanent villages, and their houses were made with stones and wood. They were peaceful and depended on growing crops. Regional crops included potatoes and ullucos.

They left behind works of art, particularly ceramics, but no major monuments. They are credited with having invented the arepa, a staple in Venezuelan cuisine…

Content: Afro-Latinidad

Let’s talk about Afro-Venezuelans

Afro-Venezuelans are citizens of Venezuela.They are mostly descendants of enslaved Africans brought to the Western Hemisphere during the Atlantic slave trade. 

Afro-Venezuela is a term that also refers to the combining of African and other cultural elements found in Venezuelan society such as arts, music, religion, race, language and culture.

Between 1576 and 1810, about half a million African slaves were transported to Venezuela via Portuguese, Catalan, French, English, Belgium and Dutch slave ships. 

These slaves belonged to various ethnicities from present-day Angola, Senegal, Gambia, Benin, Nigeria and the Congo, such as: Kalabari, Yoruba, Kongo, Wolof, and more.

Slaves were treated as units of commerce, referred to as pieza de india. 

Throughout the sixteenth century, slaves were brought to toil in the gold mines in Coro and Buría (Yaracuy) and to Isla Margarita and Cumaná for fishing and pearl diving. Small-scale agricultural plantations were also initiated in Venezuela, especially among the regions surrounding Caracas. 

In the 18th century, immense shipments of slaves were transported to Barlovento to aid the burgeoning cacao industry, indigo plantations in the Venezuelan Llanos and the sugar plantations in Lara, Aragua and Zulia. 

The history of slave revolts in Venezuela, both in the form of runaway communities and mutiny, began quite early. 

The first documented insurrection was in Coro in 1532. However, the most momentous revolt of the time took place on the Buría mines in 1552. 

The rebellion was led by El Negro Miguel (also known as Rey Miguel), who founded a cimarrón, settlement and had himself proclaimed king. 

He developed an army of 1,500 slaves, Blacks, Mulattos, Zambos and Indigenous peoples to attack colonial establishments. 

Numbers of runaway-slave communities continued to increase throughout the seventeenth century, and by 1720 there were between 20,000 and 30,000 cimarrones in Venezuela, as opposed to the 60,000 slaves still working on the plantations…

If you want to get more of our transcript email us here

Well people there you have it. Afro-Venezuelans

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