Who Were the Afro-Mexican Revolutionaries? Top 5

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Afro-Mexican revolutionaries played a vital part in Mexico’s independence. However, their contributions have gone unnoticed. After independence, the black population hoped for a change in their lives and for recognition and acceptance from the wider community. But, it wasn’t until 2015, after the national census, that the government acknowledged Afro-Mexicans. In this post, we’ll list those who fought in the revolution.

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Vicente Guerrero

Who Were the Afro-Mexican Revolutionaries? Top 5
Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-PD-Mark

Vicente Guerrero is perhaps the most prominent Afro-Mexican to have fought in the Mexican Revolution.  He joined the revolution in 1810 and joined the side that fought off the Spanish. 

He was a lieutenant and although he wasn’t successful in his initial battles, he didn’t relent persisted and, at some point, was the only rebel leader left. Guerrero conquered several territories, after which he began his march to the presidency. 

He became the first Afro-descendant to hold the seat. As expected, he abolished slavery. However, his conservative vice-president Anastasio Bustamante and others in this camp supported his ouster and execution.

People loved Guerrero, and they considered these conservatives as having betrayed the country and permanently tarnished their reputation.The state of Guerrero carries his name in his honor.

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José María Morelos

A Biography of Jose Maria Morelos. Video Credit: Clío

José María Morelos was a student of Miguel Hidalgo and went on to become one of the notable Afro-Mexican independent fighters. He worked as a priest at the Carácuaro where he met Hidalgo and joined the fight. 

Morelos manned territories in the South and the Central areas which he led against Spanish leadership. He outlined his intentions for the country and installed the Congress of Anáhuac and Chilpancingo

Later, Maria Morelos declared Mexico’s independence. However, the royalists later captured him and executed him. He died a hero and the state of Morellos and Morellas City carries his name in his honor. 

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Hermenegildo Galeana 

Another Afro-Mexican you ought to know about is Hermenegildo. It is believed that Hermenegildo was the right-hand man of Morelos and Guerrero, and under their leadership, he conquered numerous territories like…

  • Taxco
  • Tenancingo
  • Orizaba
  • Acapulco. 

However, the battle to take over Puruarán was lost by him, he fled to the South but the royalists captured him and executed him. 

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Miguel Hidalgo

Who Were the Afro-Mexican Revolutionaries? Top 5
Miguel Hidalgo. Source: Wikimedia licensed by Public domain

Miguel Hidalgo was a priest who took over the parish after his elder brother died. His political views pitted him against the Spanish authorities. He was in favor of the economic empowerment of his people and opposed political oppression. 

When the French invaded Spain, Hidalgo sided with the pro-independence camp. As a result, several members were arrested but he decided to face them by marshalling his parishioners and announcing a revolution against the Spanish people. 

He provided a powerful speech, titled, Grito de Dolores or the Cry of Dolores. The Afro-Mexican population joined his rally through which he captured areas like Guanajuato. However, when faced with his only chance of capturing Mexico City, the capital, he hesitated. 

This allowed the royalists to quash the movement. Hidalgo tried to escape to the North but was captured, expelled from the parish and executed. 

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Gaspar Yanga

Gaspar Yanga and the slave revolution. Source: Wikimedia licensed by The Demouchets REACT

Yanga is believed to have been part of Gabon’s royal family before he was enslaved in Mexico. The country had a huge slave population. Once he freed himself, he led the enslaved to freedom.

Historians believe he escaped his master and ran to a town near Cordoba. There, a maroon colony grew which attacked the white population and challenged authorities as they tried to establish themselves in the area.

To quell the violence, the Spanish authorities sent its troops to Cordoba. But before the battles began, Yanga sent a truce deal with several demands, including the release of slaves. The Spaniards didn’t agree to his terms and went to war. 

Both sides suffered massive losses and eventually, a deal was reached. Yanga’s family was allowed to rule. 

After Mexico achieved its independence, Gaspar Yanga received recognition as the “national hero of Mexico” and El Primer Libertador de las Americas.

Afro-Mexicans are now a legal ethnic group in Mexico. However, it has been an arduous journey and these aforementioned individuals played a big role in the black movement to achieve the freedom they enjoy. Although their attempts didn’t last long, and they lost their lives, it started an awakening and gave the Afro-Mexicans and Afro-Latinos the belief that they’ll one day enjoy their rights as any other population.

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