African Diaspora in Peru

Afro-Peruvian History

Slavery in Peru


Slaves have a long history in Peru after they were taken from Africa. Africans arrived in Peru and became slaves. Slaves were brought from West and Central Africa. Africans helped the Spanish settle on indigenous peoples land. Then they became the servants for the Spanish. 1527, the arrival of the first black soldiers under Francisco Pizarro’s command. They helped him conquer the indigenous people then the Spanish turned the black soldiers into his slaves. (Ali) This is the slaves first came from the Transatlantic slave trade and also they helped the Spanish conquer Peru. Which was already bad enough but then they got forced into slavery.  Slaves worked on plantations and mines. There were auctions for slaves and sometimes slaves could buy their freedom. (Ali) So slavery was sort of brutal but there was at least a way for them to get freedom, unlike other countries at that time like Brazil.


Afro-Peruvian Diaspora


The culture of the slaves are passed down and celebrated today. During slavery they had special groups at night where they would practice their culture and religion. That would be passed down through generations. They would sometimes be punished if slave owners saw them practicing their religion. The diablada ​was a dance passed down generations and has mixed in religions from indigenous people and christianity. They also used instruments like jawbones that slaves could use. Which shows that the dances practiced by slaves are passed down and practiced today. It also shows how religions can mix through time and make a new dance or religion. Also the music slaves had were also passed down and some of the instruments are the same. There are songs like the marinera and festejo that have been passed down and involve ritual traditions. Every christmas, dancers tap dance and sing house to house and through songs they reference agricultural labor and slavery.(Hough)  That's how they have been preserving music and culture for a long time and they still practice it and show others their culture.

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Resistance to Slavery


Slaves rebelled after they were enslaved. They worked in mines and plantations and usually, there would be whole families working on a field at a time. Children would work. There would be lots of death from exhaustion and dehydration. There were also diseases spreading at that time. Slaves would exercise passive resistance and work unwillingly, break things. Then they would go on riots and show their rebellion. Some escaped. (Valdez)  some slaves showed rebellion and some slaves didn’t. Also, the fact that they have to resist means that they were treated very poorly and brutally. The slaves were called Cimarronaje. There was one slave named Benkos and he organized a revolt and fled with a bunch of slaves.(Valdez) This resulted in slaves acting the same hundreds of years ago and during the 1800s. With all the revolts and fleeing slaves to new places and trying to find sanctuary.



Peru Culture:PromPeru. “Folkloric Dances of Peru.” Peruvian Talent News - Peru Info, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, 2017,

“Afro-Peruvian Music and Dance.” Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Institution, 2015,

Slave Rebellion: valdez, daniel garcia. “Cimarrones De Palenque, Guerreros De La Libertad.” La Soga | Revista Cultural, La Soga, 10 Aug. 2018,​

Slave Life: “Afro-Peruvians.” Minority Rights Group, Minority Rights Group, 2018,

Ali, Omar. “Afro-Peru.” ReVista, Harvard, 2014,


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