Afro-Honduran

Afro-Honduran are Hondurans of African descent. They are estimated to be a population of 150,000, or 2% of the country. The percentage of the population might be higher. Some Afro-Honduran might be classed as mestizo.The National Assembly of  Afro-Honduran Organizations and Communities put the population at 10%. Afro-descendant in Honduras are of three ethno-origin. Those brought during colonial times and mixed with indians and Spanish, the Garifuna, and the Bay Island Creoles.

Colonial Origins


The first African slaves were brought into Honduras in 1540, to replace the dwindling indian labor population. They were mainly used in silver mines. By the 1600s, most had run-away and co-habitated, mixed with the native populaton, poor Spanish, and freed black population.


Garifuna


In 1797, 5,000 Garifuna from the island of St. Vincent was shiped by the British to the Honduran island of Roatan. Garifuna eventually migrated to the mainland, where they allied themselves with Spain. During the war of independence, Garifunas fought on the side of Spain. Come independence, they became marginalized.


Bay Island Creoles


During the 1840s, English speaking Afro-Caribbeans moved on Bay Island. In 1860, the island was transferred to Honduras. They remained isolated from mainland Honduras, speaking the English language. Their culture was more oriented to Belize and agriculture. Around the 1920s, the creoles started looking off island for work. Because they spoke English, they were able to secure good paying jobs on plantation and on ships. In the 1960s, attempt was made to hispanize the Bay Creoles, by prohibiting the use of English in Honduran society. This had limited success. By the 90s, large influx of mestizos entered Bay Island becoming 60% of the island population. This has spurred creoles to preserve their culture.


Modern Status


Garifunas have been able to secure their rights as a distinct ethnic group, but the Creoles have been lagging. Garifunas and Bay Island Creoles have often worked together to achieve rights for people of African descent. In the 1970s, they formed a coalition called La Organización Fraternal Negro Hondureño (OFRANEH) (Fraternal Black Honduran Organization), which still an active organization.

Works Cited

Joshua Project. Afro Honduran of Honduras retrieved 20-May-2011
Okeowo, Alexis. Afro-Hondurans and the Coup. retrieved 21-May-2011
National Assembly of  Afro-Honduran Organizations and Communities. Declaration retrieved 20-May-2011. 
Minority Rights Group International and Indigenous Peoples-Honduras: Afro-Hondurans.