African American Heritage & Ethnography African Nation Founders: Africans in Spanish America—Self Assessment

Learning from the Past: Assess Your Knowledge

This review will help determine your knowledge of the information contained in this section. Answer the questions below to the best of your ability. After you have completed all of the questions please click the Check the Quiz button at the bottom of the page. You can hit the Reset button at the bottom of the page to retake the quiz.

  1. People of African descent were not present on the Iberian Peninsula until the 15th century.

    1. True


    2. False

      Correct. Forms of slavery had been in existence on the Iberian Peninsula since the 8th century and those enslaved included African Muslims, Slavs, Egyptians, Asians, etc. During the 15th century an increase in the number of darker skinned slaves began to occur on the peninsula.

  2. Black conquistadors were found in which of the following areas in the Americas:

    1. were spared the brunt of hard work in the fields, especially during the summer months.


    2. worked only when there were not enough men to perform a given task.


    3. were hired out as surplus labor, worked as hard as the men, and served as personal servants, companions, nursemaids, etc for owners family.


    4. lived separately in slaves “quarters” apart from the men.


    5. none of the above.

      Correct. Black conquistadors were found in every area where the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in the New World, many as auxiliaries to exploration. Many conquistadors of African descent used military service as an avenue to emancipation.

  3. Select the Best answer to complete the sentence:

    The lives of people of African descent in Spanish America:

    1. was easier for Africans and their descendants than life in other colonial systems.


    2. is well documented through religious records, court proceedings, local laws, material evidence and archives.

      Correct. There are a variety of documents that can help to visualize how people of African descent lived in Spanish America. The accounts of Isabel de Olvera, Estaban, Juana de Sanchez and Juana de los Reyes as well as religious records and material remains from places like Mose are just a few examples of how African and African American cultures have been documented and preserved in Spanish records.

    3. cannot be documented due to limited historical records of the time period.


    4. can only be seen through the rich oral tradition which tells the story of slavery and freedom.


  4. Which of the statements below is FALSE:

    1. Resistance to enslavement by people of African descent began almost immediately upon arrival in Spanish America.


    2. There were other alternatives besides the importation of Africans to supply labor for Spanish colonial development.


    3. Cimarrones, while a problem in the settlement of colonial New Spain, did not cause enough of a threat to warrant concern from the Spanish Crown.

      Correct. The threat of maroonage in the eyes of the Spanish Crown was so real that as early as 1503 there was a temporary halt on the importation of African people for enslavement. It was feared that an increase in cimarrones would lead to the instability of the region, increase piracy, and increase the establishment of palenques.

    4. Resistance to enslavement took on many forms, including running away, suicide, armed revolt, work slow downs, emancipation, and infanticide.