Gaspar Yanga founded the first community of escaped slaves, or cimarrones, in present-day Mexico. Born in West Africa during the first half of the 16th century, Yanga was eventually kidnapped and taken as a slave to the port of Veracruz in Mexico’s Caribbean coast. There he organized a rebellion and took to the mountains by 1570, where he eventually settled for the next few decades, occasionally fighting the colonial Spanish forces and ultimately winning a victory for his people. A major standoff against the Spanish which began in 1609 lasted for years and ended with the Spanish acceding to Yanga’s demands for self-rule. Like other free Black communities of its time, the terms for the town’s existence included the introduction of Catholic clergy into the area and the promise to not accept any new runaway slaves within the town’s borders. The community founded by Yanga eventually became the town of San Lorenzo de los Negros in 1630. Now known simply as “Yanga”, the town currently hosts a yearly carnival celebrating its African heritage.