Hanging with Afro-Mexicans in Costa Chica

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The story that has been passed down among increasingly smaller generations of Afro-Mexicans in Costa Chica is that their ancestors arrived on a boat that sank off the Pacific coast. But it was only recently that the community realized the mythical boat may have been from Africa, as opposed to the Caribbean. Mexico’s independence drove Afro-Mexicans into exile and invisibility, as the African part of Mexican history was buried.

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So I had to go find them. I had seen a few Afro-Mexicans in Mexico City, but was curious about these whole populations of slave descendants living isolated and neglected on both coasts of the country.

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What I discover is an incredibly warm town on the island of Chacahua and I also soon find out that one story is nowhere near enough to delve into the stories of these people.

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For more information about Afro-Mexicans, check out the website of anthropologist Bobby Vaughn, one of the few people studying their history in English.

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Comments 15

  1. preventioneducation July 16, 2009

    Very interesting!!! Africans are truly everywhere!!! African culture has touched every continent whether their influence is celebrated or not!

    • Berenice January 27, 2011

      Latin American blacks are different than U.S. American blacks. The typical stereotype that some Americans have of some African Americans does not apply to AfroLatinos. Our culture is different.

  2. Lanette August 8, 2009

    There is a number of researchers looking at this dynamic, especially in California! We should share more so that we can dissipate the black and brown conflict.

  3. Jas March 16, 2010

    My family is from Pinotepa Nal. Oax. I live in California. When I first traveled to the Costa Chica it was a culture shock for me especially when I visited some Afro.Mex. towns. I love the diversity that exists in the region of Mexico where my family is from.

  4. verse October 29, 2010

    im a afro mexican and my parents are from those areas, not everyone like afro mexz because most mexican history is full of ignorance and greed. but i am proud to be mixed and would die to prove it

  5. Berenice January 27, 2011

    I was born in Acapulco, Guerrero and my parents are also from the Costa Chica so I am very aware of the African descendants in these regions. A lot of my family members still have very obvious African features and I always wondered why as a little girl. Anyway your post is great. Thank you for it.

  6. koke September 12, 2012

    Thank you, Alexis Okeowo, for the great post and the pleasant scenery of “La Casta Chica”. I’m from Guanajuato, Mexico and I found out that the majority of Mexicans from the central and northern regions of Mexico are unaware of the presence of “Afro-Mex”. I think some Mexicans are just unaware of the rich diversity of Mexico, simply because this history of Mexico was never really exposed to them. I thank you greatly and ask you in addition to others who want to help me endorse proudly the presence of Afro-Mex.

    Todo por Mexico hombres. como Mexico jamas habra otro.

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