Shackles

Enslaved Africans forced to the Spanish Americas

Print Page

By 1625, about 475,000 enslaved Africans had been brought over to the Spanish Americas and Brazil. Enslaved men, women, and children were bound in painful, heavy shackles that chaffed and cut their wrists and ankles. Tightly packed together in dark horrible smelling ships, their journey across the ocean could take three months. Thousands died during the trip.

Living in the Texas settlements in the 1790s were 1214 Spaniards, 579 Indians, 590 Mestizos (descendants of Spaniards and American Indians), 786 Mulattos (descendants of Spaniards and Africans), and 41 enslaved people. 

Enslaved people in the Spanish Empire had some limited legal rights, like the right to marry, seek redress for abuses and crimes committed against them, and to gain their freedom. Manuals were published to define those rights as well as the rights and responsibilities of owners. For example, if two enslaved people from distant estates married, it was the responsibility of one of the owners to purchase the other enslaved person. 

Share Your Story

Make your mark on Texas History

Share Your Story
or
Browse All Stories

Read stories from people across Texas

Browse All Stories