Most of those Africans continued on to Argentina, but during the late 1700s and early 1800s some 20,000 disembarked in Montevideo and remained in Uruguay.By 1800 the national population was an estimated 25 percent African and Afro-Uruguayan.Exports to the Allies during World War II, to a shattered Europe in the years after the war, and to the US during the Korean War, sustained a boom period remembered today as a golden age, the years of “como Uruguay no hay” (there’s no place like Uruguay), a semi-official slogan at the time.Those years should have provided ideal conditions for black upward mobility; but prejudice and discrimination continued to obstruct black advancement.During the 1800s and most of the 1900s, Uruguayan politics was dominated by two main parties, the Blancos and Colorados.Afro-Uruguayan voters split their allegiances between those parties, with most favoring the Colorados.
Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, was a required port of call for slave ships bringing Africans to the Río de la Plata region.
The PAN was one of three such parties in Latin America, the other two being in Cuba (the Partido Independiente de Color, 1908-12) and Brazil (the Frente Negra Brasileira, 1931-38).
The PIC and FNB were both eventually outlawed by their respective national governments; the PAN, by contrast, was permitted to function freely but never succeeded in attracting significant electoral support.
Unable to make any inroads into that two-party system, the PAN disbanded in 1944.
During the 1940s and 1950s Uruguay experienced its most intense period of economic growth and expansion.
The country’s leading university, the publicly funded Universidad de la República, was found to have awarded degrees to only five Afro-Uruguayans between 19.