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Gaspar Yanga’s Maroon Society, Veracruz, Mexico

Gaspar Yanga (also Nyanga) was the leader of a Maroon society that remains the only fully successful example of revolt and resistance known in the history of Africans in Mexico. The enslaved secured their freedom by revolt and later negotiated to have their freedom sanctioned and guaranteed by law. Theirs became the first free Black town in Mexico, making this one of the most remarkable accounts of resilience in Mexico’s history.

Although Yanga’s birth date is unknown, he was believed to be a member of the royal lineage of Gabon. He was taken captive and, like many Africans before him, forcibly transported to the Americas, where he was compelled to work in sugarcane fields. In 1570, Yanga led a bloody rebellion in the sugarcane ...

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