Cachaça is to Brazil as tequila is to Mexico. Cachaça (pronounced Ka- sha-sa) was first produced in the early 1500s by Enslaved Africans working in sugar mills who created the cocktail by adding fruits such as lime to cachaça (a Brazilian rum made up of raw sugar cane) during their festivities shortly after the Portuguese had introduced cane, the crop that was central to the early development of their new colony.

Cartagena is a must-go city for international tourists in South America. With a rich history, culture, gastronomy and astonishing landscapes, this city can give offer the visitor a plentiful of joy and happiness making it one of the favorite destinations in the region. Besides its unique tourist attractions, Cartagena also holds historic figures that represent the Afro-Colombian people as a most. They are the Palenqueras and carry a very amazing trajectory. Their brightly coloured dresses earned them one of the most photographed icons of Cartagena.

Black people in Argentina have been treated as an invisible minority for a very long time even though they have had a huge influence on Argentina’s history. They played an integral role in shaping Argentina’s culture through their contributions in the field of dance, literature, and religion.

Portrayed as the whitest country in Latin America, the saying “Aqui no hay negros”—There are no Blacks here—has been very popular among Argentine citizens. Ironically, the key person in the fight for independence of Argentina in the 19th century was María Remedios del Valle, a Black Argentine woman

She was known as ‘La Madre de la Patria’— The Mother of the Homeland.

María Remedios del Valle was born in 1766— 90 years before the abolishment of slavery in Argentina— in the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Although she was Black, she was born free. During her teens, she worked as a cook, but at the beginning of the wars, she found out that she could work as a nurse to help those who defended the city of Buenos Aires during the second English invasion in 1807.

She was enlisted in different battles and soon del Valle achieved the rank of captain of the liberation army due to her discipline, intelligence, courage and loyalty.

Del Valle lost her husband and two sons in combat and she sustained countless bullet and saber wounds on her body. In 1813 she was taken prisoner by the Spanish, who flogged her for nine days for helping patriot officers escape from the prison camp. Those scars lasted for the rest of her life.

She was able to escape and join the forces of Martín Miguel de Güemes and Juan Antonio Álvarez de Arenales, to once again fulfill a double role— soldier and nurse.

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Once the war of independence ended in 1817, the Black Argentine woman returned to the city of Buenos Aires where she found himself destitute. As the Argentine writer and historian Carlos Ibarguren reports, after the end of the war, María Remedios del Valle was a “forgotten heroine,” like many other soldiers. She was on the streets begging for money and eating leftover food in churches because she was not awarded the pension for her military career in the army and the loss of her husband and sons.

In 1827, after being recognized by one of the generals of the army who saw her begging for coins in the streets of the Buenos Aires, Argentina, he requested the Board of Representatives of the Province of Buenos Aires grant her a pension for services rendered to the country.

María Remedios del Valle returned to Buenos Aires. She died on November 8, 1847, without having received in life recognition for her collaboration in the Wars for Independence. Almost 200 years later, Law No. 26,852 was passed in her memory, which commemorates the National Day of Afro-Argentineans and Afro-Culture. A historic milestone in the path of visibility of the contributions of the Afro community in the construction of Argentina.

For almost 150 years, historians had not given her the place she deserved alongside those committed, brave heroes and heroines who put their entire lives at the service of the country.

Source: Travel Noire

Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States’and is home to restaurants that have fueled the Civil Rights Movement and gone on to win James Beard Awards. In Tremé, you’ll find delicious New Orleans cuisine, landmarks with fascinating pasts and museums that help tell Tremé’s history.

Tremé was a plantation in the late 1700s. Hat maker and real estate developer Claude Tremé owned and subdivided this land, and in 1810 he sold it to the city of New Orleans. This new subdivision became home to several free persons of color and residents of European descent. This historic community is where many Enslaved obtained, bought, or bargained for their freedom were able to own property.

In the 1800s, the city designated a portion of land for free persons and black slaves to congregate, play music, and sell goods. This gathering place later became known as Congo Square.

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Tremé is also home to one of the oldest African-American Catholic parishes.

St. Augustine Church is located on the corner of Governor Nicholls and Henriette Delille streets and was created by free Blacks in 1841.

Resting next to one of the walls of the St. Augustine Church sits a metal cross made of thick chains, and smaller crosses are planted on the ground. This is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Slave ­– a landmark that commemorates the lives of slaves of African descent who died in New Orleans and were buried in unmarked graves.

Like many Black neighborhoods around the country, Tremé was ruined by the highway building boom in the 1950s and 1960s.  This was a time when city officials ruined neighborhoods they considered to be “slum areas” to make space for highways.

With the federal government backing a majority of these projects at the time, these “urban renewal” projects displaced more than 1 million Americans, many of whom were reportedlylow-income minorities, including in New Orleans.

When Interstate 10 was built in New Orleans, the elevated expressway project wiped off many businesses in the Tremé neighborhood. Despite that, Tremé is still one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city that holds some of the best Creole architecture in the city.

There are two cultural museums, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which guides guests on a journey of Black contributions made to the City of New Orleans, as well as the Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum.

Tremé was also one of the first 26 sites designated on the state’s Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

The Afro-Guatemalan population is not a large one today. Although specific numbers are difficult to determine, it is reported that Afro-Guatemalans comprise just 1-2% of the nation’s people.

However, according to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “Chronic under counting of Latin America’s Afro-descended population” as well as “biases inherent in self-reported ethnic identification, especially in a Latin American context where such categories are less diversified than in many parts of the world” allow one to deduce that actual numbers are likely higher than reported.

Buried and forgotten for almost 200 years, a cemetery of enslaved Africans who arrived in Rio de Janeiro in the 18th and 19th centuries has been turned into a museum.

Discovered in the 1990s during a renovation process of an abandoned house in Rio de Janeiro, the Museum of Pretos Novos Cemetery(Newly Arrived Blacks Cemetery Museum) now lies in Rio’s downtown area, and it is one of the most painful sites from the slavery era in Brazil.

Pretos Novos was the name given to the enslaved Africans who had recently arrived from the continent and disembarked in Rio de Janeiro. The so-called Cemitério dos Pretos Novos operated between 1769 and 1870, a few blocks from the old slave market, located in Valongo, a stretch of the Rio’s port area.

The enslaved African cemetery was built by the Brazilian government for burying enslaved Africans who arrived in Rio extremely ill from the terrible conditions on slave ships, and died in the first days after arrival in Brazil. It is said that roughly 30,000 newly arrived men and women were buried there, which makes Pretos Novos Cemetery the largest enslaved Africans cemetery in the Americas.

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Merced Guimarães dos Anjos, bought the house in the mid-90s where the bones were discovered, and said that she and her husband decided to open the place for visitors, when they found out that it was a former cemetery.

“We had never heard of a cemetery in the area where we bought the house. When we found the bones, we contacted local authorities. It was doomed to be forgotten for eternity if we had done nothing to preserve the place,” she said in a documentary about the museum that was released on YouTube.

The examined teeth of people buried in the Pretos Novos Cemetery reflects this diversity of Africans who were brought to Brazil as slaves.

“Enslaved Africans came from all over the continent to Brazil. It also indicates the huge dimensions of the slave trade carried out by the port of Rio,” said Ricardo Ventura Santos, researcher in the sector of Biological Anthropology at the Brazilain National Museum. He coordinated the excavation group.

The research work showed that the bodies were thrown in ditches and burned, and the place also functioned as a waste dump, indicating the treatment reserved to enslaved Africans. Besides human bones, some belongings of the “pretos novos” were also found, like food scraps and everyday objects discarded by the city’s inhabitants.

The analysis of the site showed that the majority of the remains belonged to children and teenagers. However, the first bone found in the archeological site was from a woman, in 2017. Archaeologists estimate that she died at about 20 years old.

One of the aspects that caught the attention of the researchers was finding teeth with signs of polishing, which is the result of a form of oral hygiene practiced by many African peoples.

By analyzing polish marks it may be possible to identify which species were used, where they existed, and thus where the person using them came from. The work continues, and they are still revealing more remains and seek to reconstruct other personal dramas that are part of one of the most painful moments in Brazilian history.

The Pretos Novos Museum is open for visitors, but only for scheduled groups to ensure safety during the continued pandemic.

To schedule a visit, you can visit here.

Source: Travel Noire