Three skeletons found in Mexico City were found in a mass grave located near the former grounds of the Real de San Jos├ę de los Naturales Hospital. The hospital’s history dates back to the colonial period of Spain. The skeletons found belong to the first generation of Africans who were kidnapped during this dark period in the 16th century and brought to America through slave trade.
The origin of the story goes back to 1518, when King Charles I of Spain approved that the enslaved Africans move to New Spain, which now includes part of Mexico, the Caribbean, the USA and Canada. According to the researchers, an estimated 130,000 to 150,000 Africans were forced to move to the New Spanish Governorate until 1779. 70,000 of them came to the continent between 1600 and 1640.
The researchers combined physical findings with genetic evidence to analyze the three skeletons. The upper teeth in the skulls point to cultural practices in some African tribes. They also share the most common strain of Y chromosomes among African Americans, who are strongly associated with people in Africa and still exist. Finally, dental isotopes extracted from the remains reveal that they were born outside of Mexico.
In the analysis of the skeletons, muscle-induced problems in the bones and hernia signs were observed. These findings show that slaves were exposed to physical strain and tough working conditions. Other evidence points to malnutrition, anemia, parasitic infectious diseases, and blood loss.
The analysis also revealed the hepatitis B (HBV) and Treponema pallidum pertenue bacteria that cause syphilis-like symptoms. More importantly, this is the oldest finding on Hepatitis B and syphilis in America. “Although it does not support any evidence that HBV appeared on its own in Mexico, co-author Denise K├╝hnert is the first direct proof that HBV came as a result of the transatlantic slave trade.” commented.
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