Main facts Population 43 million (the third largest country in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico) 4 million living abroad (US, Spain & Venezuela) No. 79 in the Global Index of Human Development Perhaps the most isolated nation in LA after Independence: la “hispanidad”
Racial composition: 3 races 58%: “mestizo” 20% white (not a distinctive ethnic group, mainly from Spanish origins) 10%-18% Afro-Colombian & mulatto (the third largest community after US and Brazil) 4%: Amerindian People from diverse origins (Arabs, Jew)
In Antioquia: the whitest Confirms the fact: few Spanish women came to Colombia, conquistadores consorted with Indian females DNA testing reveals: male lineage 94% white; 60% female lineage Amerindian The scantest European & Asian immigration in LA in the post-Independence period
Brought as slaves from Africa (to the gold mines & sugar plantations) Department of Choco (Pacific Coast) Archipelago of San Andres & Old Providence (Caribbean) Valle del Cauca (Buenaventura, Pacific Coast) Department of Bolivar (Caribbean): San Basilio de Palenque
Palenque de San Basilio The foremost palenque of free black Americans during the Colonial period Recognized by the Spanish Crown as the first free town of America (1713) Largely unchanged until 1970 Declared part of the World Heritage by UNESCO
1867-1907 First African lawyer in Latin America and the first who could walk in Quibdó First Street Officer in the Army & judge at the criminal bench Committed the “usual crime” Framed & accused of arson & sentenced to execution by shooting at a kangaroo court (the last man executed in Colombia) Rehabilitated by Law 1042 of 2006.
Afro Colombians today Complete emancipation in 1851 (1820 free at birth) The highest fertility rate in the country: 2.7% Forced internal migration: major victims of the Colombian conflict and drug trafficking 10% of displaced people (on the whole 1.5 million-3.5 million)
“We were gods and they transformed us into slaves” A colonial genocide? 90% eliminated The New Laws (Leyes Nuevas) of 1542 1.4 million people in Colombia: 90 ethnic community 30% of Colombian territory in reservations (“resguardos”) Under permanent threat (murder % displacement) from many quarters (Indian leaders target of violence)
AMNISTY INTERNATIONAL “….. indígenas colombianos corren riesgo de desaparecer” El Tiempo, 22 Feb 2010 -
Social classes: tougher than race Constitution of 1991: major boost to equality in all fronts, but … The criollo elite: political & economic power Mestizo: assimilating by education and wealth Amerindians Afro Colombian: an open question … the Obama factor: ministers and generals
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