First Blacks in The Americas

The African Presence in The Dominican Republic

Content and purpose

First Blacks in the Americas is a fully bilingual (English and Spanish) digital educational platform devoted to disseminating sound historical information about the early presence of people of Black African ancestry in the first colonial society of the Americas of modern times, the society of the colony named La Española (‘The Spanish One’) by the Spanish colonizers when they arrived in 1492 and throughout the sixteenth-century. This is the same society that, over a process of roughly three hundred and fifty years of settlement and creolization, would evolve into the Dominican ethnicity and Dominican nation, and which we know today as the Dominican people and the Dominican Republic, respectively.

In a way, therefore, this site is about the story of the local beginnings of people of Black African complexion and culture in the Dominican Republic, and of all the racial shades and cultural combinations that were generated by a centuries-long creolization process in which Black Africans and their offspring mixed with Europeans and Amerindians in a locally shaped shared history.

In short, this website is about the local history, five centuries back, of the earliest Black African ancestors of today’s Dominicans. And its title alludes to the fact that La Española was the first instance of Black African presence in the Americas for which a historical record has survived.