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La Casa Minima, A Tiny Home In Buenos Aires That Reveals Argentina’s Erasure Of Its Slave Past

Casa Mínima, San Telmo, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

According to oral history, La Casa Minima was once owned by a freed slave. It is located in the San Lorenzo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Many historians are interested in the edifice’s ability to withstand the scourge of time or its fascinating architecture, rather than its connection to Argentina’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

It is one of the Argentine culture’s narrowest buildings. It has been whitewashed with some of the ancient clay bricks that were used in its construction, but it is clearly screaming loudly because some of the white paint on the structure is peeling off.

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According to Atlas Obscura, La Casa Minima is 2.5 meters wide at its widest point and has old wooden doors painted green with a second balcony sitting above it. It has a depth of 13 meters from the front to the back.

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Local tour guides and residents have not stopped telling visitors to La Casa Minima about its dark history. It is thought that the Urquiza family gave it to one of their favorite slaves as a gift. According to local accounts, the structure was given to the enslaved African shortly after his freedom was granted to him in 1813.

There is a coincidence in this story because Argentina began the process of abolishing slavery in 1813 when it passed the Free Womb Act, which granted freedom to all babies born to slave mothers. Slavery was finally abolished in Argentina in 1853, with Buenos Aires following suit in 1861. According to historical accounts, the ownership and occupancy of La Casa Minima are simple facts that can be verified.

It was once a single house measuring 16 meters wide. However, slicing a piece of it for new owners or rentals eventually collapsed it into the narrow architecture that exists today. Historians believe that the poor mathematics used in its sale, as well as shady planning by the facility’s managers, are to blame for the facility’s fragmentation. Instead of conscripting neighboring units into a single facility, the estate’s managers decided to leave it as a standalone piece.

According to some historians, Argentina has been grappling with the identity of a mixed race of African descent for decades. However, there is plenty of evidence in some local delicacies, historical relics, and cultural dance that connects the present to Argentina’s involvement in the slave trade.

Following deliberate government efforts to erase anything that connects Argentina with its dark past, many Afro-Argentines have struggled to establish their African ancestry.

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Written by How Africa News

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