African ancestry of the population of Buenos Aires

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2013-06-21 03:29Z by Steven

African ancestry of the population of Buenos Aires

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 128, Issue 1
pages 164‚Äď170, September 2005
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20083

Laura Fejerman
Institute of Biological Anthropology
University of Oxford

Francisco R. Carnese
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Alicia S. Goicoechea
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Sergio A. Avena
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Cristina B. Dejean
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Ryk H. Ward (1943-2003)
Institute of Biological Anthropology
University of Oxford

The population of Argentina today does not have a ‚Äúvisible‚ÄĚ black African component. However, censuses conducted during most of the 19th century registered up to 30% of individuals of African origin living in Buenos Aires city. What has happened to this African influence? Have all individuals of African origin died, as lay people believe? Or is it possible that admixture with the European immigrants made the African influence ‚Äúinvisible?‚ÄĚ We investigated the African contribution to the genetic pool of the population of Buenos Aires, Argentina, typing 12 unlinked autosomal DNA markers in a sample of 90 individuals. The results of this analysis suggest that 2.2% (SEM = 0.9%) of the genetic ancestry of the Buenos Aires population is derived from Africa. Our analysis of individual admixture shows that those alleles that have a high frequency in populations of African origin tend to concentrate among 8 individuals in our sample. Therefore, although the admixture estimate is relatively low, the actual proportion of individuals with at least some African influence is approximately 10%. The evidence we are presenting of African ancestry is consistent with the known historical events that led to the drastic reduction of the Afro-Argentine population during the second half of the 19th century. However, as our results suggest, this reduction did not mean a total disappearance of African genes from the genetic pool of the Buenos Aires population.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-06-17 01:21Z by Steven

In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots

The Washington Post
2005-05-05

Monte Reel

BUENOS AIRES — Their disappearance is one of Argentina’s most enduring mysteries. In 1810, black residents accounted for about 30 percent of the population of Buenos Aires. By 1887, however, their numbers had plummeted to 1.8 percent.

So where did they go? The answer, it turns out, is nowhere.

Popular myth has offered two historical hypotheses: a yellow fever epidemic in 1871 that devastated black urban neighborhoods, and a brutal war with Paraguay in the 1860s that put many black Argentines on the front lines.

But two new studies are challenging those old notions, using distinct methods: a door-to-door census to determine how many Argentines consider themselves black, and an analysis of DNA samples to detect traces of African ancestry in those who consider themselves white.

The results are only partially compiled, but they suggest that many of the black Argentines did not vanish; they just faded into the mixed-race populace and became lost to demography. According to some researchers, as many as 10 percent of Buenos Aires residents are partly descended from black Argentines but have no idea.

“People for years have accepted the idea that there are no black people in Argentina,” said Miriam Gomes, a professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires who is part black and considers herself Afro-Argentine. “Even the schoolbooks here accepted this as a fact. But where did that leave me?”…

…”Argentina was interested in presenting itself as a white country,” said George Reid Andrews, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh who has specialized in black history in Latin America. “Its ideologues and writers put a great emphasis on the yellow fever epidemic and the war, and it was feasible to pretend that the black population had simply disappeared as immigration exploded.” …

… But personal definitions do not count when analyzing DNA, which is what a group of scientists from the University of Buenos Aires and Oxford University in England did earlier this year. After collecting blood samples at a local hospital, they searched for genetic markers that indicate African ancestry. The results, to be published this year in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggested that 10 percent of those who identified themselves as white were, in part, descendants of black Argentines.

“A lot of people were very surprised by this,” said Francisco R. Carnese, a geneticist at the University of Buenos Aires and co-author of the study. “When you walk around Buenos Aires, you don’t see signs of African ancestry. But you see it in the genes.” ..

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,