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Uruguay, a small country located in South America, had their first slaves, ladinos, arrive in Uruguay in 1534. Most Uruguayan slaves came from Angola. Afro-Uruguayan culture is what has helped sustain the Afro-Uruguayans presence in Uruguay.

Afro-Uruguayan culture can really be seen in music. The Candombe, which is associated with Uruguay, is an African rhythm that has been a key part of Uruguayan culture for over two hundred years. Candombe traveled to Uruguay from Africa, and is still going strong throughout the streets, celebrations, and festivals of this country.

When slavery in Uruguay ended, Barrio Sur, a community in their capital of Montevideo became a predominantly black community where African customs were revived. Canddombe was a part of this revival. On January 6, a special celebration was held called “Llamad de Los Reyes”, giving honor to the elders in the community. 

Afro-Uruguayans music, dance, art and writing have been a key factor in the evolution of Uruguayan culture. African folklore can especially be seen during the Carnival celebrations in Montevideo, and many words of African origin have been incorporated into the country’s popular speech.


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