On January 29, 2014, Daniel presented his research at the Latin American and Iberian Institute.
This research was funded in part by a LAII and Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant.
Daniel Cozart is a graduate student studying Latin America in the History department at UNM. His research focuses on the social and political history of Afro-descendants in northern Peru and Lima from the abolition of slavery in 1854 through the mid-twentieth century. Inspired by recent activism promoting Afro-Peruvian rights and a renewed emphasis to distinguish their role in the nation's history, Daniel traveled to the northern city of Piura to research the experiences of the region's aristocracy and their African slaves during the process of abolition.
Drawing from the notarial records of the Regional Archive of Piura, this presentation highlights one civil-turned-criminal court case, where in 1855 a Piuran aristocrat was taken to court for “knowingly” selling a former slave under the pretext that she was the legal owner. The former owner denied any knowledge of her slave’s freedom and was pressed for documentation of ownership. Neither the prosecuting attorney nor the defense mentioned President Ramón Castilla’s decree, which effectively abolished the institution of slavery in Peru. These absences as well as the content of the legal battle reveal a great deal about a local reality and practice in contrast to nationally sanctioned legal and economic policy.