Friday, September 30, 2011

Maria Chiquiquirá of Ecuador

 The Museum of Nahim Isaias in Guayaquil, Ecuador features the portraitof Ecuador's first freed slave.

Maria Chiquiquirá Díaz was an Afro-Ecuadorian woman enslaved in Guayaquil, Ecuador in the 1700’s and was the first slave in Ecuador to win her freedom. She was enslaved by Presbyter Afonso Cepeda de Arizcum Elizondo. Maria Chiquinquira entered a legal battle for her and her daughter’s freedom in May 1794 and changed the course of her history and for thousands of black women in Ecuador.

Although she was a slave, she was aware of some of her rights and fought for her freedom based on that information. Maria (along with other female slaves in Latin America) won her freedom by accusing their masters of dishonorable acts including, siring children with slave women, requiring work on Sundays, withholding time for mass, and failing to provide instruction in the faith.

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