Welcome to African Heritage Month in Honduras 2020. Each year, Afro-descendants celebrate the month of April of each year as “African Heritage Month in Honduras,” and commemorate April 12th as the 223rdAnniversary of the Garifuna Settlement on the island of Roatan, Honduras on April 12, 1797. Furthermore, April 24th commemorates the 196th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on April 24, 1824.
People of African descent arrived to Honduras in four different waves:
- The first Africans arrived in 1540 to replace the rapidly declining enslaved indigenous labor pool, especially in the silver mines, which proved more promising than gold retrieval.
- The second important stream of Africans was brought by British colonists. They came to the Bay of Honduras in the 1600 and 1700s for plantation work and natural resource extraction. Many of these mixed with the Miskitos.
- The Black Caribs or Garifuna, are the descendants of African-Carib-Arawak populations from the Caribbean island of St Vincent who were forcibly transferred to the island of Roatan in the Honduran coast on April 12, 1797.
- English-speaking Afro-Caribbean Creoles, arrived during the colonial era. These were free persons who migrated to the Bay islands in the 1840s. They arrived to the city of La Ceiba in 1870.
Abolition of Slavery In Central America
On April 24, 1824, the National Constituent Assembly declared the manumission of all enslaved persons, a right that was enshrined in Article 13 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Central America: Every man is free in the Republic. It cannot be a slave who uses its laws, nor a citizen who traffics in slaves.
José Simeón Cañas, hero of the independence of El Salvador born in Zacatecoluca, is considered the liberator of slaves in Central America when he asked for the abolition of slavery to the National Constituent Assembly of the United Provinces of Central America.
WHEREAS: On April 12, 1797, Honduras welcomed a contingent of approximately 5,080 Garifuna from the Island of San Vicente, the Antilles archipelago.
WHEREAS: Next year of 1997, the Garifuna community will be celebrating two hundred (200) years of presence in Honduras.
WHEREAS: Such historical events gave a new cultural component to the peoples of the North Coast of Honduras; motive that justifies perpetuating their memory so that the Garifuna population feels fully integrated into the heart of the country that welcomed them as a homeland for their descendants.
ARTICLE 1.- Declare April 12 of each year, starting in 1997, “DAY OF THE BLACK HONDURAN ETHNICITY” in memory of the date of arrival in Honduras of the Garifuna community.
ARTICLE 2.- Declare the year 1997 “YEAR OF THE GARIFUNA BICENTENNIAL“, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Garifuna presence in the national territory.
ARTICLE 3.- This Decree shall enter into force from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette “La GACETA”.
Issued in the city of Tegucigalpa, Municipality of the Central District, in the Hall of Sessions of the National Congress, on the 30th day of May, nineteen ninety-six.
CARLOS ROBERTO FLORES FACUSSE
ROBERTO MICHELETTI BAIN
SALOMON SORTO DEL CID
To the Executive Branch
Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., June 17, 1996.
CARLOS ROBERTO REINA IDIAQUEZ
Constitutional President of the Republic
The Secretary of State in the Office of Culture.
RODOLFO PASTOR FASQUELLE.
On December 24, 2002, the official newspaper La Gaceta published Legislative Decree Number 330-2002, the text of which reads: “The National Congress,
WHEREAS: Decree No. 70-96 dated May 30, 1996, declared April 12 of each year as the “Black Ethnic Honduran Day”.
WHEREAS: The African presence and culture dates back to the first decades of the 16th century; however, their contributions to Honduran society and our culture have been recognized in a very limited way.
WHEREAS: It is necessary to undertake more systematic actions that contribute to disseminating and knowing the contributions of African heritage and culture to Honduran society and culture.
THEREFORE. This Decree declares the month of April of each year as “African Heritage Month in Honduras.”
ARTICLE 1. Declare the month of April of each year as “African Heritage Month in Honduras.”
ARTICLE 2. During African Heritage Month in Honduras, efforts will be made to hold cultural events of various kinds to publicize the riches of African culture, its contributions to the development of Honduran society and culture.