The discovery on a ship that sank in 1861 – Ansa /Courier TV
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Archaeologists from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México (Inah) have discovered and studied the wreck of a steamboat, which sank in 1861 in Yucatán apparently due to the explosion of the boilers. After three years of researching local archives and diving, the scholars discovered that it was called “La Unión” and that it was transporting Mayan slaves to Cuba, at a time when the slave trade had already been abolished for decades in independent Mexico ( in 1829); the forced extraction of any Mayan individual was expressly forbidden on May 11, 1861. According to studies, some commanders of the company colluded with local smugglers and slavers: it seems that, between 1855 and 1861, the boat carried an average 25-30 Mayans each month to be used on sugar cane plantations, where labor was lacking. The discovery sheds light on a little-known chapter in Mexican history: it was the first time that a ship used for the Mayan slave trade in America was found.