In 1503, with the conquest and colonization of the island, the Spanish began to import large numbers of African slaves to replace the native labor, greatly reduced by wars, brutal working conditions and epidemics. About 80 or 90% of the native population died in the first century of the conquest. Meanwhile between 1492 and 1870 some 30,000 Africans were imported to the current Dominican territory to be devoted to sugar.
In 1503, arrived the first African slaves to the Española Island, mostly to the present Dominican Republic, since Spain had largely neglected the west of the island. This first slaves were Black “Ladinos”, i.e. born in Spain and Christianized and arrived as servants for the home of the island´s Spanish elite.
However, the number of slaves imported to the island was already sufficient for developed rebellions and escapes to the mountains by themselves. The rebels Africans lived with the indigenous in shelters away from urban centers. Even so, in 1510, were imported to the island others 250 Ladino slaves and in 1511, arrived others 5.000 African slaves to the shores of the island. In addition, with the establishment of the world’s first sugar mill on the Española island in 1516, the importation of African slaves greatly increased.
The slaves brought to Santo Domingo came from various parts of Africa and therefore belonged to different cultures. Although in the early days the slaves were Ladino, as traffic and intensified trade and colonial authorities demanded more slave labor for plantations and other housekeeping, were allowed introduction of black “bozales”, i.e. slaves imported directly from Africa. In 1522 took place on the island, the first major slave rebellion, rebellion led by 20 Muslims of Wolof origin, originating from Senegal, in an ingenio (sugar factory) of east of Santo Domingo island Many of the insurgents fled to the mountains and established what would become the first autonomous community African Maroon in America.
However, after the success of this revolt, slave revolts continued to emerge. So, emerged some leaders of African slaves, although already baptized by the Spanish, as is the case of Juan Vaquero, Diego de Guzmán and Diego del Campo. His rebellion led many slaves to flee their oppressors and establish many communities in the South West, North and East of the island, causing the first arrival of slaves, but free, in the current Haiti (remember that although this part of the island was also Spanish until 1697, when it was sold to France, had no Spanish people living in it).
This caused some concern among slaveholders and contributed to the Spanish emigration to other places. Thus, although sugarcane increased profitability in the island, the number of imported slaves who fled into it, continued to rise, mixing with Taíno indigenous of these regions. So, in 1530, Maroon bands already were considered dangerous to the Spanish colonists, so they had to carry large armed groups to travel outside the plantations and leaving the large part of the center and north of the island, very mountainous regions, where the Maroons lived (it was so, until 1654 with the conquest of Jamaica by Corsairs of British Admiral William Penn and general Robert Venables).
However, due to the discovery of precious metals in South America, the Spanish abandoned their migration to the island of Santo Domingo to emigrate to South America and Mexico in order to get rich, for they did not find much wealth in Santo Domingo. Thus, also abandoned the slave trade, that is, they stopped exporting slaves to the island. This led to the collapse of the colony in poverty. Anyway, during those years, slaves were forced to build a cathedral that in time became the most oldest in America. They build their monastery, first hospital and the Alcázar de Colón. In the 1540s, the Spanish authorities ordered the African slaves building a wall to defend the city from attacks by pirates who ravaged the islands. They also built the Puerta de las Lamentaciones (in Spanish: Gate of Mercy).
After 1700, with the arrival of new Spanish colonists, African slaves imported was renovated. In both plantations and isolated villages of runaways from east of the island, the population began to focus more on livestock and the importance of racial caste division was reduced, so that began to develop a mix between the Spanish colonists, African slaves and the natives of this part from Santo Domingo. This domain mixing together the social, cultural and economic European element will form the basis of national identity of Dominicans. It is estimated that the population of the colony in 1777 was 400,000, of which 100,000 were Europeans and Criollos, 60,000 African, 100.000 mestizo s, 60,000 Zambos and 100,000 mulatto.
At the end of the eighteenth century, arrived also to Spanish Santo Domingo, fugitive slaves from the French colony of the western part of the island, usually composed of black fugitives, escaped from the rigors of their masters, and that fed the Spanish colony since the time initial establishment of the French on the island. These slaves came directly from Africa, and in some cases they even form communities such as San Lorenzo de Los Mina, who is now district or sector of the city of Santo Domingo. Also, coming slaves from other parts of the West Indies, especially from the Lesser Antilles, dominated by French, English, Dutch, etc.
In 1801 Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture, who had occupied the east of Santo Domingo, abolished slavery in the place, as had happened in the west of the island, freeing about 40,000 slaves, and prompting most people who formed the elite of that part of the island flee to Cuba and Puerto Rico. However, when the Spanish recovered it, Spanish Santo Domingo re-established slavery in 1809. During those years, the French governor Ferrand imported a second group of Haitian slaves, brought by in order to use them in founding the Puerto Napoleon (Samana), French colonial enclave. There was no running for the defeat of the French.
The abolition of the slavery was made in 1822, during the Haitian occupation of the Dominican territory, started in February, 1822. Between 1824, began to arrived African American freed people to Santo Domingo, benefiting from the favorable pro-African immigration policy of Haitian president Jean Pierre Boyer since 1822. This settlers were established in Puerto Plata Province and the Samaná Peninsula —then under Haitian administration. They were called Samaná Americans. Later, in 1844, two Afro Dominicans, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella, freed the country alongside with Juan Pablo Duarte, of Haitian domain.
More late, between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, was developed a traffic black workers from the British West Indies in the first third of this century to work in the sugar plantations of the east of the island, and whose descendants are known today with the name of Cocolos.
After, many Haitian people began to settle in the Dominican Republic, a migration that has continued until today.
The Atlantic slave trade involved nearly all of Africa’s west coast inhabitants to be forcibly taken to the new world. Most Dominican slaves tended to come from mostly the Kongo people of West-Central Africa (present-day Angola, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), along with the Igbo (originating from west from Nigeria), Yoruba, Akan and Mandinka tribes.
Others African ethnic groups arrived to Spanish Santo Domingo during the slavery´s period were: Wolof (imported from Senegal), Aja (also called Ararás in Santo Domingo and imported from Dahomey, current Benin), Ambundu (from the Kingdom of Ndongo, in north Angola), Bran (originating from Brong-Ahafo Region, west from Ghana), Fulbe, Kalabari (originating from slave port from Calabar, in Nigeria), Terranova (slaves bought probably in Porto-Novo, Benin), Zape (originating from Sierra Leone), Bambara and Biafada (this latter was originating from Guinea-Bissau) people.
The Wolof were imported to Spanish Santo Domingo from Senegal in the first half of the sixteenth century, until the import of this ethnic group was prohibited after his rebellion in 1522. Many of the slaves were also Ajas, usually taken in Whydah, Benin. The Ajas arrived in Santo Domingo, were well known for having made religious brotherhoods, integrated exclusively for them, as the call San Cosme and San Damian.
H*28: Problematic Asian American Youtube Stars (feat. Lucy)
This week for H*28, Chuks and Kari are joined by ragstoreverie (Lucy) to discuss Asian-American Media. In the last few years, especially the rise of YouTube stars, Asian American media has boomed with Wong Fu Productions, Fung Brothers, KevJumba, JK Films/David So, Jabbawockeez, and many more. They play an important role in the community—needed representation and control of production, for example—but they are not without their problems. For asks this week, we answer an ask from Sarah about access to social justice movement, butchrobot about developed/developing nation terminology, and 2goldensnitches about fighting with family members over the Gaza-Israel conflict.
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" People ask ’ So, how are the roles now? You must be getting so many.’ And it’s like, I don’t know if you know, but I’m Asian still. It’s not a complaint, that’s just how it is now, and I have to forge my own path through it and see that through. I think that if I had not been Asian, I probably would have a whole plethora of roles, at least to audition for, but it’s just not what has been written.” - Steven Yeun
When all else fails, gotta roll up your sleeves and do it, to it.
STOLEN STATUES RETURN TO NIGERIA AFTER 117 YEARS
A British citizen has returned two statues taken from the Benin Kingdom 117 years ago during the invasion of Benin by British soldiers, prompting calls for other treasures to be repatriated. The House of Representatives, called on the British Parliament to intervene in Nigeria’s efforts to get stolen artifacts in various museums in the United Kingdom repatriated. The House in adopting a motion calling for the repatriation of the artifacts also took a decision to communicate it to the British parliament
Remembering Zoraida: Why we must build an anti-imperialist, multi-issue immigrants rights movement
August 28, 2014
Zoraida Reyes was a trans woman and immigrant rights movement builder, working to weave transgender struggle and queer liberation into immigrant rights spaces. Zoraida was murdered, her body dumped in a parking-lot at a fast-food restaurant on June 12, 2014. The police have called her death “suspicious,” but have yet to declare it murder. Zoraida was my friend. She taught me to have dignity in my queer and migrant identities. Losing her is a tragedy and I want my entire community to fully feel the impact of her death, her murder, her struggle, her legacy.
Her friends and family are calling for justice. This is the kind of of loss that should have us all uprising! So many transmigrants and Trans women of color have been hurt and murdered in the last few months, a trend that, over the years, has started to look like genocide. We need to build communities and movements where the lives of our undocumented trans sisters and trans sisters of color are no longer under threat and treated as disposable.
I met Zoraida in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where we were involved in some of the same student organizations. We quickly built a friendship around our undocumented, queer experiences. During that time, she began her transition and hormone therapy and needed a social support system for transitioning that didn’t exist at white, heteronormative, affluent UCSB.
Zoraida joined an undocumented student group I was in that focused on campaigning for the DREAM Act and institutional support for undocumented students. We thought the organization was a safer space, so I asked that it also provide opportunities for those of us who were queer to have emotional support. The president of the group responded that if we wanted a support group that talked about “gay issues,” we needed something separate because most people could not relate to our experience. But it was important to me that we had an intersectional space, where the material and social needs of Undocu-queer and trans folks were a critical part of our fight.
Weeks later, at the same space, a very harsh, transphobic comment was made. Zoraida and I stormed out the room, never to return. Back then, I felt self-righteous for walking away with her from a space that was just being built and already reproducing homophobia and transphobia. But, I wished I stayed to challenge that reproduction of oppression, which targeted me as a cis queer woman and her as Trans, and fought for a place of leadership for queer and transmigrants. Today, we are still building spaces that address queer and trans issues in the immigrant rights movement.
On May 27, 2014, queer and trans undocumented and documented migrants carried out a civil disobedience in front of the Orange County immigration detention center. Transmigrants with and without papers put their bodies on the line despite the threat of state brutality. Zoraida was there. I had lost touch with her after college, but I recognized her on the live-stream sitting locked-arm with other migrants and barricading the street in civil disobedience. They made a bad ass intervention by highlighting, like never before, the atrocities trans women experience in detention centers. These atrocities have resulted in torture and death. At a rally earlier this year, she was recorded saying, “As Trans women, our bodies are political.” Her body and her visibility in the movement was highly political, highly counter-hegemonic.
I attended Zoraida’s wake in Santa Ana and over 100 people were there, especially from the local latino, queer and trans latino community—which truly speaks to her very unique legacy. We mourned and held each other with the terrible understanding that a lot of people in that space could be the next victim of this atrocious racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic empire that continues to take lives, especially the lives of trans women. We had a moment to love and be gentle with each other, a moment in which many of us promised her that we would not rest until these horrendous murders stop. More than simply finding the party responsible for her death, this means addressing the deep poverty and lack of resources transmigrants face today.
On June 20th, at a presentation by Guatemalan lesbian feminist organizer, Sandra Moran, a member of the San Francisco Transgender, Gender-variant, Intersex Justice Project spoke about the conditions at the county jail for Trans folks of color and how they are addressing them. One of our members at Causa Justa shared that he felt honored to be hearing about this campaign from a trans leader, that, as a migrant cisgendered man who identified as heterosexual, it was important to hear and understand where he was needed and how to stand in solidarity. Since then, he has asked for dialogue that integrates responding to the conditions queer and trans folks experience around criminalization and deportation in our campaign work and demands.
In order to focus our demands in a way that centers the needs of our sisters most disenfranchised by this patriarchal, capitalist, cissexist empire; we need to reject assimilationist, meritocracy propaganda that was used back then, and still today, in the undocumented student circles that support DREAM Act legislations. It would mean getting sharper on our analysis and resistance of capitalism, imperialism, and all the ways those systems criminalize our survival and profit from the hyper exploitation of our communities.
It is our duty to build an immigrant rights movement that is intersectional. We must build so that the livelihood, leadership and power of transmigrants are at the center of our demands for dignity, liberation, and social and economic equality. We need to fight, not just for the murders of our friends to be resolved. We need to fight for all of us to have real access to a job without discrimination, to medical attention, to a community free of trans and homophobic violence. We do not live in a safe haven for transmigrants; we live inside the belly of a beast that promotes capitalist-heteropatriarchy all over the world. We must focus our attention to the voices of transmigrants to understand their conditions, to include their struggle in solidarity and to fight with them in unity. We must build a movement with a program of demands that rejects meritocracy and all the ways capitalism profits from our suffering, a program that centers all of us migrants surviving and thriving. ¡Zoraida Reyes vive, La lucha sigue!
H* 32: Code Switching & Talking to White People (ft. Lucy)
What is code switching and what’s it like navigating white spaces in America as a black man and Asian American woman from very different backgrounds? What are the types of bodies which have more or less ability to move through white spaces and how do we codeswitch without constantly centering whiteness and an implicit desire to comfort white people? Chuks along with special return guest Lucy (ragstoreverie) - Kari is out for the week- address these questions and more on this week’s episode of Hyphenated on “Code Switching & Talking to White People”
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This week’s podcast is now out!