The first Africans arrived to Perú as slaves, sailors and soldiers amongst the conquistadors and were amongst troops that toppled the Inca Empire in 1533. As many white settlers from Spain arrived to Perú, the demand for slave labor increased substantially. In 1548, so called “New laws” were passed, in which the Native Indians were replaced by African slaves to do heavy labor on sugarcane and rice plantations and vineyards and cotton fields. By 1635, blacks were the majority and inevitably, slave rebellions were frequent. Slaves who escaped captivity were called cimarones and they built fortresses called palenques to guard themselves against slave hunters. Perú achieved independence in 1821 and in 1854, slavery was abolished. However, although slaves were allowed to purchase their freedom, many of them chose to remain working on their plantations. In 1879, as Perú entered the War of the Pacific, one of the famous revolts in the country’s history occurred in El Carmen, Perú at the Hacienda San José, a sugar plantation erected in 1868. Over 300 of the plantation’s slaves revolted, murdering the owner, the plantation’s last surviving heir and fortifying the plantation.

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