Black history in Puerto Rico  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Black history in Puerto Rico begins with the African freeman who arrived with the Spanish Conquistadors. The Spaniards enslaved the Tainos, who were the native inhabitants of the island, and many of them died as a result of the treatment that they had received. This presented a problem for the Spanish Crown, since they depended on slavery as a means of manpower for the mines and construction of forts. Their solution was to import slaves from Africa and, as a consequence, the vast majority of the Africans who immigrated to Puerto Rico did so as a result of the slave trade from many different areas of the African continent.

When the gold mines in Puerto Rico were declared depleted, the Spanish Crown no longer held Puerto Rico as a high colonial priority, and the island became a garrison for naval vessels. Africans from British and French possessions in the Caribbean were encouraged to emigrate to Puerto Rico, thereby providing a population base to support the Puerto Rican garrison. The Spanish decree of 1789 allowed the slaves to earn or buy their freedom, however this did little to help their situation. Many slaves eventually rebelled, most notably in an event known as the "Grito de Lares", and on March 22, 1873, slavery was abolished in Puerto Rico. Their contributions to music, art, language, and heritage has become the foundation of Puerto Rican culture.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Black history in Puerto Rico" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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