There is another deep Mexico, which is not the old Mexico, the one of the highlands and corn, nor the harsh and violent one of more recent times. It is the one of the Caribbean coast, the one of sugar cane and coffee, oil and danzón, and it has its epicenter in Veracruz, a city whose name alone evokes a sea of stories. Crossroads of global trade in colonial times, it was the entry point for the Spanish conquistadors and the port of arrival for thousands of slaves stolen from Africa. They arrived chained in the bilges of slave ships to work in sugar mills, farms, and mines. Due to their captive condition, they occupied a social position inferior to that of the Indian and became the invisible ancestors of the Mexican nation.
Founded in 1608 by a group of runaway slaves, San Francisco Mata Clara was "the first free town in America" led by the legendary Nyanga who, after several years of fighting for freedom, succeeded in having the viceroy, the Marquis of Cerralvo, the settlement was definitively legitimized Starting in the last decades of the 16th century, the maroons became a threat to merchandise traffic between Veracruz and central Mexico, and several punitive expeditions were launched against them. Nyanga and his followers entered sparsely populated territory, and after years of skirmishing, negotiation came. Thus, the first town of free blacks in America would be born with the commitment to hand over to the authorities the escaped slaves who sought protection among them, something that they never fulfilled.
By the middle of the 17th century, the majority of blacks and mulattoes would be free and, a century later, when slavery was collapsing as it was no longer profitable, the most common denominations were pardo —descendant of an Indian and black— and moreno for refer to any mixture between Spanish and black.
Other migrations of Africans, but especially those of African descent, followed one another in the 19th century. Some came to Mexico from the United States, fleeing from slavery, and others from Central America, seeking better living conditions. For example, in addition to the Africans who arrived in Veracruz throughout the colonial period, they arrived at the port in the 19th century.
workers of African descent brought in by English and French construction companies and, in the 20th century, Afro-descendant workers for US oil companies. This, among other things, explains why this region maintains, even today, traits of African heritage in various cultural expressions such as festivals, music, dances and food (preparation of stews with plantains, cassava, rice or fish), in addition to the nicknames of various towns such as Mandinga, Matosa or Mozomboa.
Distributed in scattered and small isolated communities in various regions of the country, especially in the State of Veracruz and the Costa Chica de Guerrero, forgotten by official history, their mere current presence is a vindication of a cultural and social past that some anthropologists They have baptized as the third root, together with the Spanish and the Indian, of modern Mexico.
Africa is the "third root" of Mexico. This was recognized by the Mexican government in 1992 when commemorating the 500th anniversary of the meeting with Spain.