By Henry Akubuiro
Lionel Messi is probably the most famous Argentinean on earth. In Brazil, the honour goes to Pele, a black with roots in West Africa. The question is: where are Argentinean blacks?
According to Transatlantic Slave Trade database, over 600,000 blacks were shipped to Argentina via Brazil from mostly West Africa and Angola between late 16th Century and 19th, Century, while about 3 million black slaves landed Brazil within the same period from mostly same regions.
However, while the blacks were integrated into the Brazilian society after the slave trade, majority of those in Argentina disappeared from the face of the earth.
According to historical accounts, by early 19th Century, black Africans constituted up to 50 percent of the population in many provinces in Argentina. But, during the deadly war with Paraguay, between 1865-1870, which Argentina knew it would lose, the Argentine Army sent thousands of blacks to the warfront as canon folders, and they were massacred.
Thus, female blacks had no alternative than to mate with white Argentinians to produce mulattos and, subsequently, a whitened population.
Undone with the anti-black agenda, President Domingo Faustino, between 1868 and 1874, forced blacks, in a wicked policy, to remain in neighbourhoods, separate from whites, with little or no health facilities, where cholera wiped out many of them. By 1895, there were few black survivors left in Argentina that the government did not bother to include them in the national census.
Today, Argentina has 98 percent white population, making it the only country in South America with the “whitest” population.