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Tue, 03.30.1790

Pedro Camejo, Soldier born

Pedro Camejo

*Pedro Camejo was born on this date in 1790. Also known as Negro Primero ("The First Black"), he was an Afro Venezuelan soldier and abolitionist.

Pedro Camejo was born a slave of a Spanish royalist Vincente Alonzo, in San Juan de Payara. He gained his freedom in 1816 after enlisting in the military to fight in the war for independence. Camejo was one of the 150 lancers who participated in the Battle of Las Queseras del Medio, later receiving the Order of Liberators of Venezuela for his participation. In the Battle of Carabobo, he fought with one of the cavalry regiments of the first division commanded by José Antonio Páez.

Camejo fought with the Royal Army and later with the Independence Army during the Venezuelan War of Independence, reaching the rank of lieutenant. The nickname Negro Primero was inspired by his bravery and skill in handling spears and because he was always in the first line of attack on the battlefield. It is also attributed to his being the only black officer in the army of Simón Bolívar.

In his book Venezuela Heroica, Eduardo Blanco describes the moment when Camejo presented himself before General Páez with an unfailing voice and said to him: "My general, I come to tell you goodbye because I am dead." Pedro Camejo died on June 24, 1821.

To Have a Military Career

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