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Perspective for A New Vision

Africans In Mexico: The Hidden History Of Mexico

Mexico celebrates its 200th year of independence on September 16, 2010:  

“2010 is the year of the Bicentennial Celebrations in Mexico. This wonderful country is commemorating   200 years of Independence  from Spanish rule and 100 years of  its  Revolution that began in 1910 and toppled dictator Porfirio Diaz.”

The prominent role that Africans played in its history is often ignored and underappreciated. It has only been slightly acknowledged in recent years.

The African culture represents “la tercera raiz” or “the third root“of Mexican culture, with the Spanish and indigenous peoples. Some basic facts about the African presence in Mexico:

  1. Africans in Mexico made up less than two per cent of colonial Mexico’s (1521-1810) population and significantly enriched Mexican culture through their art, music, language, cuisine, and dance.
  2. In January 1609, Yanga, a runaway slave elder, led the cimarrones to successful resistance against a special army sent by the Spanish Crown to crush their actions. After several cimarrón victories the Spanish acquiesced to the slaves’ demand for land and freedom. Yanga founded the first free African township in the Americas, San Lorenzo de los Negros, near Veracruz. It was renamed in his honor in the 1930s.
  3. Slavery in Mexico was abolished in 1810 by Jose María Morelos y Pavón, leader of the Mexican War of Independence. As a mulatto (Spanish and African), Morelos was directly affected by Mexico’s prejudices.
  4. Emiliano Zapata Salazar (August 8, 1879 – April 10, 1919) is considered to be “Afro-Mexican“,was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution. Followers of Zapata were known as Zapatistas.

The aforementioned facts represent only the rudimentary aspects of the African presence in Mexico. Many scholars have unearthed evidence to shed light on the true role of Africans in this region. Ivan Van Sertima has done groundbreaking work in uncovering the history of Africans in Mexico, with his book “They Came Before Columbus”:

“Van Sertima’s central argument was that the Nubian rulers of ancient Egypt organized expeditions for the gathering of natural resources. One of these expeditions crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed on the Caribbean coast. The Olmecs, predecessors to the Maya and the other great cultures of Central America, created their large ceremonial heads in depiction and in honor of these African invaders. Van Sertima supported his thesis with other claims of African influence on New World cultures, involving the presence of certain cultivated crops, including cotton, and of Egyptian practices such as pyramid-building and mummification of the dead.

They Came Before Columbus, which was published in 1977 on the heels of Alex Haley’s massive best-seller Roots, was hugely successful, not only among African American readers, but with the American public in general. The Book-of-the-Month Club made it a featured selection, and van Sertima became a widely sought-after lecturer. Van Sertima, quoted in the volume Caribbean Writers, pointed to some of the reasons for the book’s resonance: “Many people feel a certain kind of happiness when they read my book. A certain kind of shadow lifts. The psyche of blacks is raised. No man who believes his history began with slavery can be a healthy man. If you lift that shadow, you help repair that damage.” Van Sertima’s work began to be featured in university African Studies courses, as well as African-centered curricula that were beginning to emerge in urban elementary and high schools.”

The suggested reading list is from Paul Barton’s February 3, 2002 article on the Olmecs in Race and History:

Recommended Reading:

¨ Echoes of the Old Darkland -Charles S Finch
¨ Ancient Egypt the Light of the World – [2 vols.] Gerald Massey
¨ Gerald Massey’s Lectures – Gerald Massey
¨ African origins of the Major “Western” Religions – Yosef ben-Jochannan
¨ Black Man of the Nile and His Family – Yosef ben-Jochannan
¨ African Origins of the Major World’s Religions- Amon Sakaana [Ed]
¨ Civilisation or Barbarism- Cheikh Anta Diop
¨ African Origins of Civilisation: Myth or Reality? – Cheikh Anta Diop
¨ Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth – John Jackson
¨ Man, God & Civilisation – John Jackson
¨ Pagan and Christian Creeds – Edward Carpenter
¨ World’s 16 Crucified Saviours – Kersey Greaves
¨ The Passover Plot – Hugh Schonfield
¨ African Presence in Early Europe – Ivan Van Sertima
¨ African Presence in Early Asia – Runuko Rashidi, Ivan Van Sertima
¨ Egypt Revisited – Ivan Van Sertima
¨ Rituals of Power and Rebellion – Hollis Liverpool
¨ Who is this King of Glory? – Alvin Boyd Kuhn
¨ Forgery in Christianity – Joseph Wheless
¨ The Dark Side of Christian History – Helen Ellerbie
¨ Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets – Barbara G Walker
¨ Sex and Race [vol. 1] – J A Rogers
¨ When God was a Woman – Merlin Stone
¨ Gods of the Egyptians – Sir E A Wallis-Budge
¨ From Fetish to God in Ancient Egypt – E A Wallis-Budge
¨ Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Ani – E A Wallis-Budge
¨ The Golden Bough [13 vols.] – James Frazer
¨ Black Athena [vol. 1] – Martin Bernal

©VisionThought 2010. All Rights Reserved.



7 Responses to “Africans In Mexico: The Hidden History Of Mexico”

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