ASUNCION – Paraguay is examining the practice of slavery in its territory with a pair of expositions at the National Archive and Independence Hall, respectively.
The slave trade was legal in the country until 1870, although the granting of freedom to slaves was a gradual process, which started in 1842 when the then-dictator Carlos Antonio Lopez enacted a decree conferring citizenship on all children of slaves born as of Jan. 1, 1843.
Some of the relevant documents may be seen in the exhibit titled “The Invisibles: Slavery in Paraguay,” on display at the National Archive in Asuncion.
“One of the oldest pieces of documentation we found was an inventory of goods belonging to Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, among which is a slave named Juan Blanco,” National Archive director Vicente Arrua told EFE.
These old documents also show that a large number of these slaves came from Angola and arrived in Paraguay through Montevideo or Buenos Aires, where slave sales were held.
The exhibit at Asuncion’s Independence Hall features a collection of artifacts dating from the slavery era.