The three co-researchers have all published widely in the field of African American history in Central America and dedicated a year or more of full time work to the project during 2001-2003.

Rina Cáceres is Professor of History and has served as Director of the Central American Post-Graduate Program in History at the Universidad de Costa Rica. Trained as an Africanist at the Colegio de México and the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, Professor Cáceres has published several studies on the history of slavery and African-origin populations in Colonial Costa Rica, including her book Negros, mulatos, esclavos y libertos en la Costa Rica del Siglo XVIII (2000), and her contribution (1999) to the special issue of the Revista de Historia which won Costa Rica's National History Prize (2000). She has developed this field at the Universidad de Costa Rica and has served as director there for the UNESCO-supported project on the history of slavery (La Ruta del Esclavo), including organizing its international conference on the subject in February 1999, editing the proceedings for publication by the Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica with the support of the Ford Foundation and UNESCO-Costa Rica.
Lowell Gudmundson is Professor of Latin American Studies and History at Mount Holyoke and for eight years was a faculty member at both major Costa Rican public universities. Three times the holder of Fulbright professorships in Costa Rica, he is the author of pioneering works in this field published in the Revista de Historia, Mesoamérica, Slavery and Abolition, and in his collection Estratificación socio-racial y económica de Costa Rica, 1700-1850 (1978). He is the author of Costa Rica Before Coffee (1986 English edition; 1990 Spanish edition); co-editor of Coffee, Society, and Power in Latin America (1995 in English; 2001 in Spanish); and co-author of Central America, 1821-1871 (1995).
Mauricio Meléndez is renowned for his innovative approaches to bridging the divide between a too often elitist and exclusionary tradition among genealogists in Latin America and genuinely popular social history. Breaking with the heraldic and hagiographic traditions of genealogy in colonial and 19th century Latin America, Meléndez has produced a truly inclusive portrait of the multi-ethnic origins of Central Americans, with some surprising conclusions regarding elite family histories and lore. He is also an innovator in gaining access to a non-traditional "readership" for broad-based public history via web-publication of his popular "Roots Column" (Columna Raíces) with the major Costa Rican daily La Nación. Trained as a linguist and as a genealogist, Meléndez has sparked lively public debate within Costa Rican society with his documenting of the slave and freedwomen ancestry of much of that country's contemporary "white" elite. His publications include the groundbreaking work Negros y blancos, todo mezclado (co-authored with Tatiana Lobo), as well as his contribution ("Los últimos esclavos en Costa Rica") to the Revista de Historia which won the National History Prize (2000). They are widely recognized for both their extraordinary genealogical detail and their grace of expression.


We welcome the educational, non-commercial use of the materials offered by this web site, so long as they are recognized and identified as such when used. Similarly, we invite comments and suggestions at the email addresses listed below.

Rina Cáceres:

Mauricio Meléndez:     /

Lowell Gudmundson:

Photographs and images were produced by the researchers unless otherwise identified. The home page images come from: (of the Central American map) Domingo Juarros, A Statistical and Commercial History of the Kingdom of Guatemala ... (1823); (the drawing of the three young people) from the work of Tomás Povedano in the Revista de Costa Rica en el siglo XIX (1902); and (portions of the 1592 map of West Africa and Brazil) Petrus Plancius (1552-1622), Haec tabellahydrographicè oras maritimas Africae ..., at the James Ford Bell Library of the University of Minnesota.  The image of "Europe supported by Africa and America" comes from the famous 1790 account by John Gabriel Stedman, Narrative of a Five Years' Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, edited by Richard Price and Sally Price, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.  The detailed image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the San Gerónimo text is taken from, Cristobál de Villalpando: ca. 1649-1714: catálogo razonado, by Juana Gutiérrez Haces, et al., Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas: Fomento Cultural BANAMEX: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1997.