Afro-Bolivian are descendants of Africans who are Bolivians. They were recently recognize in the census at 26,000(2015). The first Africans arrived in Bolivia in 1535 with the expedition of Diego de Almagro. Black people are usually referred to as negros. The term Afro Bolivianos has appeared only in the past ten years with the birth of the Black Consciousness Movement. Some may even be called zambos, but rarely are they called mulattos

Timeline of Afro-Bolivian History

1630 Bozal slave was going for 800 pesos in Potosí
1810-1820 Black soldiers conspicuos in war of independence
1831 Article 156 , free womb law-was not enforced
1837 June Bolivia/Peru signs treaty with Britain barring its citizens from participating in the slave trade
1846 1,391 slaves still exist
1861 total abolition of slavery, zero slaves
1900 Black population@3,945, includes sambos(zambos), miscegenation begins to decline pop. ,national census after does not keep race stats, number of Afro-Bolivians unknown
1930 Black population@59,740, estimate, not a national census

Only certain communities are known as partially or mainly Afro-Bolivian.They are as follows: Nor Yungas, Mururata and Tocana in the Coroico sector, and Calacala, Dorado Chico, Coscoma and Chillamni in Coripata;in sud Yungas, Chicaloma, Villa Remedio, El Colpar, Naranjani and Thaco. 


Most slaves brought to Bolivia worked the silver mines and wheat plantation. Both endeavor made Bolivia prosperous. Importation of black slaves to Bolivia was discourage. The Spanish harbored the idea that the cold weather and thin air was not good for Africans. Slaves bought in Bolivia was the most expensive in the Spanish empire. In Potosí, around 1630 a bozal slave would fetch for 800 pesos. Having a black slave was a sign of great wealth in Bolivia. 

Modern Status

The hacienda of Mururata maintained a "black king"(rey negro). This king was reputed to be the descendant of an African Congolese prince named 
Uchicho , brought there as a slave in 1600. He performed a dance called zemba, reputed to be of African origin. The last "black king", Bonifacio Pinedo, died in the 1960s, but his grandson, Don Julio Penedo, who now lives in La Paz has recently been named as his successor. The king has been given status as a representative symbol of Afro-Bolivian existence.

The best known dances of African origins: saya, tundiqui, zemba, caporales.

Famous Afro Bolivians

Julio Pinedo
Jorge Medina- first black member of the Bolivian congress
Gustavo Pinedo zabala
Melina Avendano
Augusto Andaveris
Paola Menacho

Related Article:  Peru (viceroyalty), Spanish Creoles/Languages of Afro-descendants ,  Afro-Spanish ,

Works Cited

AFP. Bolivia's 'black king' defies slavery's legacy. Daily Mail. 20 December 2014, retrieved 8 Jan. 2016 <>

Minority Rights Group Publications (1995). No Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Americans Today.ISBN-10: 1873194854, ISBN-13: 978-1873194850

Landers, Jane G. Slaves, Subjects, and Subersives--Blacks in Colonial Latin America. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 2006, print. ISBN: 9780826323972

Davis, Darien j. Beyond Slavery-The Multilayered Legacy of Africans In Latin America and the Caribbean. Lanham, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2007, print. ISBN 9780742541313

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Subpages (1): Afro-Argentine