South America: Muslim Population Circa 2000
Although thousands of enslaved Muslims from Africa were carried to South and Central America from 1450 to the 1830s, few South American Muslims today are the descendants of the formerly enslaved. Except in a few places, the practice of Islam disappeared as a major religious belief among the enslaved Africans of South America (as was the case for the enslaved Africans of North America, who were Muslim). Today, most South American Muslims are immigrants, or the descendants of immigrants, who came from India, present-day Pakistan, Java, and other parts of South and South East Asia. Beginning in 1838, Asian and South East Asian Muslims arrived in South America to work as indentured laborers, merchants, and farm workers. New waves of Muslim immigrants continued to sweep into Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Argentina, Peru, and Trinidad throughout the 19th century, including people from Lebanon and Palestine.