Peruvian government establishes memorial site for African slavery

By Rachel Chase

The district of Zaña in Lambayeque will be a space for visitors to remember the tragedy of slavery and African contributions to Peruvian culture.

Peruvian government establishes memorial site for African slavery

Visitors at Peru's Congressional Afro-Peruvian Museum. (Photo: Flickr/Congreso de la República)

Peru, like most of the New World during the era of European colonization, was a destination for African slaves. Now, the Peruvian government has established the district of Zaña in Chiclayo to be a “Slavery and African Cultural Heritage Memorial Site in Peru.”

According to Andina news agency, the Regional Council of Lambayeque decided to designate Zaña as a memorial site because of its historical significance for the Afro-peruvian population. “Zaña was an important historical, geographical, and cultural complex that had an international port in Chérrepe, from which many products were exported, and slaves were also brought in through this port,” Director Luis Rocca of the Museo Afroperuano of Zaña told Andina.

Rocca pointed out that the special designation received by Zaña could also bring benefits in terms of tourism: “Furthermore, as there’s a lot more cultural tourism and memory tourism going on, it’ll be a very important space for all Afro-descendents, and for people who are against discrimination in the world.”

According to Andina, Zaña is one of the oldest cities in the region, having been officially founded in 1563.

Rocca also noted that the designation of Zaña as a memorial site is an important historical step towards recognizing the injustice of slavery. “You could say that this is a moral recognition, a revindication for the slaves, where we’re going to see and to value the importance of Zaña as a historical site,” Rocca said.

As many as 95,000 slaves may have been brought to Peru over the course of the slave trade.

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