And in Mexico?

P1180582 copy

2.3Juan Guzmán. Chamulas carrying travelers in the mountains, ca. 1955. Digital Print. Juan Guzmán Archive, Televisa Foundation Collection.

Iker Larrauri  Mujer en andasIker Larrauri Mujer en andas, s.f. Lithograph. Carlos Monsivais Collection.
David Alfaro Siqueiros  Niños esclavos, 1930 Óleo sobre tela David Alfaro Siqueiros, Child Slaves, 1930. Oil on Canvas, INBA/MUNAL Archives.

Libro Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e HistoriaDesiré Charnay, Les anciennes villes de nouveau monde: vogages d'explorations ay Mexique et dans L'Amerique Centrale, 1885, Book, National Anthropology and History Library.


Slavery in Mexico

Just as occurred in the United States, slaves from across Africa were brought to Mexico. Little is known about them: to this day, there is a debate about their numbers. The slave ships left the coast of West Africa with their human cargo, transported like animals, and set sail for the American continent. A very high percentage of them died along the way, with many others arriving in poor health, making the slave markets into a depressing scene.

IMG 2371_copyToledo, Untitled, Undated (From the series Slavery). Francisco Toledo Collection.

IMG 2372_copyFrancisco Toledo, Self-Portrait (Death with Bottleneck). Undated, Etching, Drypoint and X-Ray Transfer. INBA/IAGO Archives


The conditions experienced by slaves were quite varied. Punishments for attempted escapes were extremely cruel, and those who preferred to die by refusing food were forced to eat using equally crude instruments. Even still, there were many slaves who managed to escape, taking refuge in indigenous communities, giving rise to a cultural mix.

IMG 2373_copyFrancisco Toledo, Skulls Without Rhythm, Undated, Sugar and Aquatint, IBA/IAGO Archives.

2.12Francisco Toledo, Skulls Without Rhythm, Undated, Sugar and Aquatint, IBA/IAGO Archives.

2.14Francisco Toledo, Slaves, 20??, Etching and Color Aquatint, INBA/IAGO Archives.

IMG 2377_copyToledo, Slaves, 2010. Etching and Color Aquatint. INBA/IAGO Archives.

David Alfaro Siqueiros El esclavo, ca.1930 Grabado, madera e hilo Colección Andrés Blaisten, Fondo Francisco Díaz de León David Alfaro Siqueiros. The Slave. Ca. 1930, Engraving, Wood and Wire. Andrés Blaisten Archive, Francisco Díaz de León Collection.

There were dozens of rebellions, few of them well-known but all brutally repressed. The so-called Massacre of the 33 Negroes, perpetrated in 1612 in the Plaza Mayor of downtown Mexico City, was ordered by the government in order to provide a warning to the slave population in the face of a wave of rebellions across the country.

2.15Hesiquio Iriarte. The Thirty-Three Negroes, ca. 1905 in The Red Book. Digital Print, César Carrillo Trueba (Facultad de Ciencias de la UNAM) Collection.