During my last adventures, I got to meet wonderful people from different states from the USA. Asia and Addi from Cali, Patricia with her lovely family from ATL and Will from Alabama.
What all these amazing people had in common are their Afro-American roots. This led me to a new journey, digging into the Afro-Panamanian and Afro-Caribbean culture. And analyzing how they got to be 20% of the current Panamanian population.
And even I did not get to go into an adventure with them at the same time I did realize that Asia, Addi as well as Patricia are 100% what I have come to understand as the proper definition of #BlackGirlMagic. They are all super charismatic and outgoing, simply beautiful people you enjoy to have around.
So after my quite long introduction, this are some facts I have learned from the Afro-Panamanian and Afro-Caribbean cultures in Panama.
Afro-Panamanian is the term used for descendants of Africans who arrived in Panama during colonization in the XV century. On the other side, Afrocaribean refers to the population descended from the Antilleans who arrived in the XX century for the construction of the canal.
20% of the Panamanian population is Antillean and most of the Afro-Panamanians established themselves around Colón, Bocas, and Darien.
The first migration of Afro-Antilles happens during the California Gold Rush in the XIX century. Panama is the narrowest area of the continent so it was the ideal place to transport gold to the east coast.
However, Panama did not have enough population for this job, and in the Caribbean, there was overpopulation and lack of work so this migration was beneficial for both parties.
After 1880 with the expansion of The United Fruit Company and Chiriqui Land company, Panama again needed Afro-Antillean labor so one more time our Afro-Antillean pals came to the rescue.
Nowadays you will see that Afro-Panamanians and Afro-Caribbeans are a big part of Panama’s culture and they have a great input into the Panamanian cuisine.
Did you know all of this about the Afro-Panamanian and Afro-Caribbean culture in Panama? What else do you know!?