Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain in 1580 to impoverished parents who were descendants of ancient and distinguished families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona entering the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602, taking his final vows in 1604.
While studying philosophy at Majorca, the young Peter was influenced by St Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save millions of “perishing souls.”
In 1610, Peter landed in Cartagena (modern day Columbia), the principal slave market of the New World where a thousand slaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616 he dedicated himself by special vow to the service of the black slave.
He laboured unceasingly for the salvation of the slave and campaigned for abolition of the trade in human beings.