New genetic data bear witness to transatlantic ties severed by slavery and triangular trade. Scientists from the Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse (CNRS/Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier/Paris Descartes University) and Ecological Anthropology and Ethnobiology (CNRS/MNHN) research units have shown that members of Maroon communities in South America – formed over four centuries ago by Africans who escaped slavery – have remarkably preserved their African genetic heritage (98%). In contrast, the same cannot be said for African-descendants from Brazil and Colombia. The researchers’ findings are published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Between 1526 and 1875, approximately seven million Africans were uprooted from their homelands and reduced to slavery in South America. Though historical archives shed some light on the origins of the African-descendant communities existing today, it is still difficult to determine their ancestral roots.