New Research Story: Race and Place in Mexico

Until the early 18th century, Mexico and Peru had the highest number of African and African descent people in the Americas. Today, the coastal belt of Mexico’s southern Pacific Coast  – the “Costa Chica” or “the small coast” — contains many historically black communities. Residents descend in part from slaves and free persons Spaniards brought to the area in the late 16th century to work in what would become one of the most important cattle regions in Mexico. Because the Spanish Crown and the colonial state put in place limited protective measures to shield indigenous peoples from slavery and many forms of labour, and because colonial authorities banned them from riding horses without a permit, African descent people worked in both free and unfree capacities for Spaniards, in the process becoming expert cattle herders. As a result, the Costa Chica developed a ‘cowboy’ culture that survives today.  Read more…

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Category: Research stories