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David L. Weeks

military leader, enslaved and later repatriated to Africa, was born in Timbuktu, the son of Ibrahima Sori (d. c.1788), a West African Fulbe king (also called Fulah, Fulani, Peuls), and one of his four wives. ʿAbd al-Rahman's grandfather, a Moor (a North African Muslim), had been king of Timbuktu.

As the son of an almami (Muslim theocratic ruler), ʿAbd al-Rahman was surrounded by wealth and power. He was raised in Futa Jallon, the lush highlands of modern Guinea, in the city of Timbo. After learning to read, write, and recite the Qur’an, Ibrahima went to Jenne and Timbuktu to study with Islamic clerics. At age seventeen, he joined his father's army. His military prowess soon resulted in significant leadership positions. In 1786 Ibrahima married and had a son (al-Husayn).

Fulbe tribesmen traded with Europeans along the African coast 150 miles 240 kilometers away Taking wares ...


Known as “the Black Caballero” for the leading role he played in the Viceroyalty of la Plata's war of independence from Spain. Barcala was named colonel for his leadership. Born a slave in Mendoza, Argentina, Barcala was freed in 1813.

See also Uruguay.


Jeremy Rich

political, military, and religious leader and first Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate, was born in the town of Morona, now located in Niger, in 1780 or 1781. His father was the revolutionary Islamic cleric and leader Uthman Dan Fodio (1754–1817), and his mother was Hawwa bint Adam ibn Muhammad Agh. Bello received an advanced education in Islamic theology and law thanks to his father, and supported his father’s call for a strict adherence to orthodox Sunni interpretations of Islamic practices. Bello praised his father as a loving parent: “His face was relaxed and his manner gentle. He never tired of explaining and never became impatient if anyone failed to understand” (Boyd, 1989).

When Uthman Dan Fodio launched a series of holy wars against the nominally Islamic sultans of Hausa cities such as Kano in northern Nigeria and southern Niger Bello became an active lieutenant of his father ...


Elizabeth Heath

Muhammad Bello was born in Gobir, in what is now Niger. He helped his father, Usuman dan Fodio, overthrow the Hausa states and build the powerful Sokoto Caliphate, which ruled over the northern half of present-day Nigeria. In the early nineteenth century Bello’s father, a Fulani Muslim religious leader, called on the rulers of the Hausa states to abandon their corrupt ways. He organized a popular movement among the Fulani and among Hausa peasants and merchants, advocating a purer form of Islam and the application of the Shari’a, or Islamic law. Usuman first tried peaceful means, but his peaceful movement only provoked repression from the Hausa rulers. In 1804 Usuman and his followers called for a jihad, or holy war, to overthrow resistant rulers. Among those who led the military campaign was Usuman’s 23-year-old son, Muhammad Bello A capable military leader and administrator Bello was crucial ...


Simón Bolívar was born to a family of wealthy cacao plantation landholders who owned many slaves. Educated by private tutors in Caracas and Spain, Bolívar was profoundly influenced by the thinkers of the European Enlightenment, in particular the liberal ideas of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as by the American Revolution (1775–1783), and the French Revolution (1789–1799).

With the news of Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Spain in 1808, and the consequent political weakness of the Spanish rulers in Madrid, Bolívar and other elite criollos (Creoles, people of European descent born in the Americas) started to organize local juntas (councils) in order to replace the colonial government. In 1810, with Commander Francisco de Miranda he led a revolt against the Spanish forces in Venezuela Some historians say that Miranda and Bolívar wanted to take power from the European colonizers ...


David Owusu-Ansah

Asante royal servant and military leader, led expeditions in Gyaaman in 1817–1818 and against the Danes and their local allies in the Accra Plains (in present-day Ghana) in 1826.

Opoku Frefre was born at the village of Anyatiase that belonged to the Oyoko Abohyen Stool of Kumasi. There is no information about Opoku Frefre’s father, but his mother is identified as one Ama Nyaako Pakyi. In the Asante Collective Biographical Project (1979 the historians Ivor Wilks and Thomas McCaskie identified Opoku Frefre s three wives as Abena Twewaa of Kumasi Apirade Abena Aninwaa of Kumasi Apentansa and Ama Nifa of Adwoko Buoho By these marriages Opoku Frefre fathered sixty three sons and an unknown number of daughters one of whom was said to have become a favorite wife of Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame d 1823 Opoku Frefre served the Golden Stool of Asante in both civil and ...



Stephen Cory

North African corsair and commander of the Algerian fleet during the era of the Napoleonic Wars, was noteworthy for temporarily restoring the waning prosperity and influence of the Algerine corsairs. However, his exploits represented the last great achievements of this feared group. He was eventually killed in 1815 during a surprise attack by a squadron led by the American captain Stephen Decatur. Fifteen years later, Algeria itself would fall to French conquest, bringing the great era of the so-called Barbary corsairs to a sudden end.

From the sixteenth century the Ottoman regencies of Algiers Tunis and Tripoli along with the short lived Moroccan city state of Salé operated corsair enterprises as part of the holy war against the Europeans The corsair ships originally functioned independently under the leadership of commanders like Uruj and Khayr al Din Barbarossa in Algiers and Tunis and Muhammad al Ayyashi in Rabat Salé Their crews ...


Mariana Isabel Lorenzetti

who was appointed commander of Fort General Paz by Hilario Lagos, the colonel in charge of securing the western border of the province of Buenos Aires, in 1874. Ledesma was known as “Mama” Ledesma or “The Black Carmen.” The exact dates of her birth and death are unknown. Marcos de Estrada (1979) believes that she was born in Buenos Aires Province and suggests an estimated birth date sometime in the first decades of the nineteenth century. While Elvia Duque Castillo (2013) points out that the reason for Ledesma’s links to the army are unknown, he puts forward the theory that she was the partner or wife of a soldier. According to Estrada, in 1874 the entire line of forts located in the province of Buenos Aires were sparsely manned, the result of the waves of military actions that unfolded across the surrounding indigenous territories.

Before ...


Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorious grew up in what is now Eastern Cape province and took part in the border war with the Xhosa from 1834 to 1836 . He then led a Boer (Afrikaner) exploratory party into Natal in eastern South Africa in 1836. This trip was a prelude to leading a group of Boers called Voortrekkers on a migration called the Great Trek from the Cape Colony into the northern part of South Africa. Following the massacre of another Great Trek leader, Pieter Retief, and his followers by Zulu chief Dingane in February 1838, Pretorius returned to Natal, where he was made commander of a large Afrikaner force of 500 men and fifty-seven wagons. He led them across the mountains into Dingane’s territory to avenge Retief by defeating the Zulu warriors at the Battle of Blood River on December 16 1838 Pretorius then ...


At a young age, André Rigaud went to France and trained as a soldier in the French army. He was one of many Haitians who fought under French commanders against the British in the American Revolution (1775–1783). After returning to Haiti, Rigaud worked as a goldsmith until the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution in 1791. He emerged as leader of the mulatto (mixed African and European descent) forces and instigated an insurrection against black military commander François Dominique Toussaint Louverture in 1799. This led to a civil war between the mulatto and black forces that were fighting against French colonial rule. The insurrection failed, leaving about 10,000 of Rigaud's supporters dead, and he fled to France in 1801. The emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte I, deported Rigaud to Madagascar.


Baptiste Bonnefoy

was born in Santiago, Chile, the illegitimate son of Margarita Chena, a former slave, and a young aristocrat whose name Romero never divulged. At his baptism Romero was registered as a pardo, a designation commonly applied in eighteenth-century Chile to free men and women of color. Romero was reared in his father’s home among the family’s slaves. Fulfilling his father’s hope that he would take up arms, at age 13 Romero became a drum major in the city’s black militia, a group charged with the night patrol of the city and the protection of its shops and warehouses. With the onset of the struggle for independence, the black militiamen were gradually absolved of their urban policing duties, and in 1813 they were transformed into a line regiment of the patriot forces Infantes de la Patria A drummer in the Third Company of this new battalion José Romero saw ...


Angie Colón Mendinueta

in the liberating armies of Colombia and Venezuela during the South American Wars of Independence, also known as “El Negro.” Juan José was most likely born around 1790 in Espino or in Santa Rita de Manapire, both towns located in what is today the state of Guárico, in the Republic of Venezuela. He was the son of freed slaves, Bernardo Rondón and his wife, Lucía Delgadillo.

From a young age, Rondón worked as a butler in a Spanish hacienda, and in 1812 at the age of 22, he began his military service and joined the ranks of the royal army, commanded by José Tomás Boves, a Spaniard in the service of the Spanish Crown. Rondón was part of an army composed mostly of soldiers identified as zambas people of mixed indigenous and African descent indigenous and black It is reputed to have been formed with the objective of fighting ...


Joy Elizondo

Domingo Sosa, born in Buenos Aires, joined Argentina's military in 1808 and remained in the service for his entire career. After returning from service in the sixth Infantry, he was assigned to duty as a drill instructor in the Argentine Auxiliaries, an all-black regiment. In 1828 Sosa was called up for service in the all-black fourth Militia Battalion, where he would remain for seventeen years, fighting in both the Indian wars of the 1820s and civil wars of the 1830s.

The next stage in Sosa's career came in 1845, when Juan Manuel Rosas Argentine dictator in the 1830s and 1840s named him colonel and granted him command of the Provisional Battalion After the demise of Rosas s federalist regime Sosa remained in Argentina s succeeding Unitarian government maintaining both his rank and command of his troops Sosa was later appointed national representative to the legislature for ...


Faustin Elie Soulouque was elected president of Haiti by the National Assembly, under the belief that he could be easily manipulated. On the contrary, Soulouque established a strong and repressive regime. In 1849 he unsuccessfully attempted an invasion of the neighboring Dominican Republic which had won its independence from ...