Afro-Mexicans are an ethnic group which exists in certain parts of Mexico such as the Costa Chica of Oaxaca and Guerrero, Veracruz and in some towns in northern Mexico. The existence of blacks in Mexico is unknown, denied or diminished in both Mexico and abroad for a number of reasons: their small numbers, heavy intermarriage with other ethnic groups and Mexico’s tradition of defining itself as a “mestizaje” or mixing of European and indigenous. Mexico did have an active slave trade since the early colonial period but from the beginning, intermarriage and mixed race offspring created an elaborate caste system. This system broke down in the very late colonial period and after Independence the legal notion of race was eliminated. The creation of a national Mexican identity, especially after the Mexican Revolution, emphasized Mexico’s indigenous and European past actively or passively eliminating its African one from popular consciousness.