African abolitionist and colonial leader, Primer Libertador de America
Gaspar Yanga was an African known for being the leader of a maroon colony of slaves in the highlands near Veracruz, Mexico (then New Spain) during the early period of Spanish colonial rule. In 1570, he led the escape of his fellow slaves into nearby mountains. There they lived for nearly 40 years, arming and supplying themselves by means of raids on Spanish colonists, successfully resisting a Spanish attack on the colony in 1609.
The maroons continued their raids on Spanish settlements. Finally, in 1618, Yanga achieved an agreement with the colonial government for self-rule of the maroon settlement. It was later called San Lorenzo de los Negros, and also San Lorenzo de Cerralvo.In the late 19th century, Yanga was named as a “national hero of Mexico” and “El Primer Libertador de las Americas,” first liberator of the Americas. In 1932 the settlement he formed, located in today’s Veracruz province, was renamed as Yanga in his honor.