Yunga valley is were the ethnic minority of the Afro Bolivian population lives. The traditional coca growing region in La Paz department. The descendants of slaves from Congo and Angola, Afro Bolivians arrived in Yungas around 1700 after failed attempts to exploit them as laborers in Potosi’s silver mines.
Africans couldn’t survive in high altitudes and cold, thought the Spanish found them well suited to cultivate coca, coffee, and sugar in the tropical Yungas. Most lived in conditions of slavery until the 1950’s, and many people can recall their peonage to large land owners, or mayordomos.
Most Afro Bolivians today still live in extreme isolation due to geography, culture, and language.