BlackFacts Details


Afro-Caribbeans are Caribbean people who trace at least some of their ancestry to West Africa in the period since Christopher Columbuss arrival in the region in 1492. Other names for this ethnicity include African-Caribbean (especially preferred among the United Kingdom branch of the diaspora), Afro-Antillean, or Afro-West Indian. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, European-led triangular trade brought enslaved West African people to work on Caribbean islands, primarily on various sugar plantations and in domestic households. Many Afro-Caribbeans also have non-African ancestry, such as European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Native American, as there has been extensive intermarriage and unions among the peoples over the centuries.

Although most Afro-Caribbean people today live in French, English, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean nations, there are also significant diaspora populations throughout the Western world – especially in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands. Both the home and diaspora populations have produced a number of individuals who have had a notable influence on modern Western, Caribbean, and African societies; they include political activists such as Marcus Garvey and C.L.R. James; writers and theorists such as Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon; US military leader and statesman Colin Powell, whose parents were immigrants; and Jamaican musician Bob Marley.

During the post-Columbian era, the archipelagos and islands of the Caribbean were the first sites of African diaspora dispersal in the western Atlantic. Specifically, in 1492, Pedro Alonso Niño, an African-Spanish seafarer, was recorded as piloting one of Columbuss ships. He returned in 1499, but did not settle. In the early 16th century, more Africans began to enter the population of the Spanish Caribbean colonies, sometimes arriving as free men of mixed ancestry or as indentured servants, but increasingly as enslaved workers and servants. This increasing demand for African labour in the Caribbean was in part the