Meet the Only Afro-Colombian Community Still Standing Strong 400 Years Later

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Let’s take some time to marvel in beauty of culture! Approximately 400 years ago runaway slaves formed the first free black town of the Americas. What’s so amazing about the free black town of the Americas located in San Basilio De Palenque, Colombia is the African culture is still rich amongst the people. Could you imagine speaking your native tongue? A privilege some take for granted. During slavery our traditions, religion, and language were stripped from us, luckily some were able to hold on to it.

There are approximately 4000 residents preserving the Palenque culture. The leader of the founders Brooks Bioho is honored in the main square and his language Palenquero is still taught in school.  It’s the only Spanish-based Creole language in Latin America.

The Palenque people are so in tune with ancestral roots they believe that although they have been in Colombia for centuries their souls will go home to Africa.  Several Palenques communities were founded by escaped slaves but San Basilio is the only one that survived. They are keeping the culture alive and thriving. This Afro-Colombian community loves, respects and takes great pride in their African heritage and will not let their legacy die!

PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.

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