The second President of Mexico, Vicente Ramon Guerrero Saldaña, was born in 1783 in Tixtla, in the state of Guerrero. His father was African-Mexican, and his mother, Indigenous. The modern Mexican state of Guerrero is named in honor of this towering figure in Latin American history. The State of Guerrero, especially the Costa Chica region, is home to a large AfroMexican community. Today we explore this important history and people...and we'll stop and get some of the delicious African-influenced local beverage, chilate!
I offer special acknowledgement of student research work done by Jimena Duran Castellanos, a native of Hidalgo, Mexico, and a student at Prairie View A & M University. She is the author of the article, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico's 'Greatest Man of Color,' cited below.
America's First Black President - This is a 3-minute video profile of Vicente Ramon Guerrero Saldaña. For more details about the life and contributions of this legendary liberator, see Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s 'Greatest Man of Color' and, also, Research Reveals the African-Indigenous Heritage of Mexican President Vicente Guerrero.
The Untold History of Afro-Mexicans, Mexico's Forgotten Ethnic Group - Contrary to what many people realize, Mexico was a slave-trading country in the 16th century. It had a slave population of around 200,000, which outnumbered the Spanish colonialists for decades, and was, for some time, the largest in the Americas.
Black Mexicans: AfroMexicanos de la Costa Chica - This 5-minute video montage offers an introduction to the people and culture of the AfroMexicans of Costa Chica.
Faces of AfroMexicans - This collection of photographs of AfroMexicans covers different parts of Mexico. If you would like to see more beautiful AfroMexican faces, photographer Heriberto Rodriguez has a portfolio of photos he has taken.
Costa Chica, Guerrero - Costa Chica (literally, "small coast") is a region of Guerrero, home to both the Amuzgo Indigenous People, and a large AfroMexican community.
Cuajinicuilapa - This city in the Costa Chica region has Guerrero's largest AfroMexican community.
Masks on display at the Museo de las Culturas Afromestizas in Cuajinicuilapa.
“We are not used to people thinking we are beautiful” - Until 2015, the Mexican government failed to officially acknowledge the 1.38 million citizens of African descent living in the country. Despite their eventual recognition, AfroMexican people have suffered racism, often being considered 'too black to be Mexican.'
Chilate: Mexico's Amazing Ice-cold Chocolate Drink - Originating in Guerrero, the African influence in this drink is evident in the use of rice. Rice cultivation was brought to Mexico from West Africa in the 16th century, and the inclusion of rice in chilate highlights the African roots of the drink. You can learn more about this delicious beverage and find a recipe to make it yourself, here.