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Jeremy Rich

king of Dahomey, was born sometime in the middle of the eighteenth century. His father was Agonglo, king of Dahomey from 1789 to 1797. Adandozan was the eldest son of Agonglo. Oral narratives collected later in the nineteenth century presented him as incompetent and mentally deranged, but it should be kept in mind that rival royal family members eventually ousted Adandozan from power and would have had a vested interest in deriding his achievements. Adandozan ascended to the throne of Dahomey in 1797, in a time marked by difficulties for the kingdom. The royal slave-trading monopoly ran aground on international difficulties, particularly the decision of the French government to abandon the slave trade from 1794 to 1802 and the British and US governments’ decision to abandon the slave trade in 1807 and 1808 respectively The British government began to send warships to stop other countries from purchasing ...



Stephanie Beswick

Sudanese leader, was the first prominent Bari private merchant, slave trader, and opportunist insurgent warlord. He rose to power during the 1860s by exploiting poisonous dynastic rivalries between Nyigilo and Subek, the royal sons of Lagunu, the unchallenged Bari leader in 1840, and their respective noble offspring. The faction of Nyigilo had enjoyed the support of Catholic missionaries up to their departure in 1860, but thereafter allied with the northern slave traders who at that time were establishing fortified trading operations throughout southern Sudan. It was to become an era, for the first time in Bari history, during which commoner traders such as Alloron found it possible to acquire economic and political power. However, the upstart was often reminded of his humble origins by the epithet “man without rain,” implying that he lacked the arcane fructifying powers of royalty.

The arrival of Turks northern Sudanese and Europeans ...



Stephanie Beswick

chief of the Palyoupiny Malwal, created an early aristocratic Dinka state in the southern Sudan during the 1880s. Awutiek’s uncle and predecessor Duang Marial had gained power by collaborating with slave traders such as Zubayr and with officials of the Egyptian colonial government. These lessons were not lost on the young chief Awutiek, who quickly realized the importance of firearms and purchased large quantities from Fertit middlemen, northern Sudanese traders, and Azande. He also acquired arms from Mahdists fallen in battle. Awutiek built a standing army. He set his warriors to regular military drills and maintained a strong, well-trained force. By 1892 having annihilating the last Mahdist force to venture into his territory Awutiek extended his influence down the Chell and Loll Rivers as far as the Rek country in the eastern Bahr el Ghazal By the height of his power Awutiek controlled most of the diverse peoples living ...


Richard A. Bradshaw

a Bandia paramount chief (or “sultan”) of the Nzakara kingdom, a precolonial polity spanning the Mbali River in the southeastern region of what is now the Central African Republic. Named Kpangba at birth, he adopted the name Bangassou (“blazing sun”). According to Nzakara oral history, his father was Mbali/Bali (Mbari/Bari) “the gazelle,” son of Gwendi (or Boendi) “the taciturn,” son of Beringa “the drunkard,” son of Dunga “the quarrelsome,” son of Gobenge, son of Pobdi, son of Bwanda “the healer,” son of Agungu, son of Pongiet, son of Bongumu. These ancestors of Bangassou were members of the Bandia clan who left their Ngbandi homeland on the Ubangi River and conquered the Nzakara people.

The Bandia rulers participated in the growing slave trade of the nineteenth century and incorporated women and children into their polity thus prospering while nearby peoples in stateless societies were raided by slave traders The Nzakara often ...


The triangular shipping route of the slave trade largely formed the banking industry in England. British goods such as textiles, arms, and iron were exchanged for slaves in Africa, which were then transported to the West Indies and traded for sugar, tobacco, cotton, spices, and rum. The triangular trade was a system of immense earnings, as every ship sailed with a profitable cargo. The wealth generated by the triangular trade brought increased affluence to the planters who cultivated the West Indian produce, the merchant capitalists who sold the slaves, and the industrial capitalists who produced the British goods, which in turn demanded new banking facilities and functions.

Primary of these new requirements was insurance Shipowners and slave merchants themselves insured early voyages travelling the triangular trade route However the increasing amount of bills drawn against West Indian merchants and accumulated wealth soon required large scale insurance schemes most often drawn ...


Abomey, the capital of Dahomey, was founded around 1620 by Dogbari, who fled Allada after his brothers fought with one another for control of that kingdom. Dogbari’s grandson, Wegbaja, expanded Abomey through military conquest and consolidated it into a powerful state in the middle to late 1600s. Wegbaja’s grandson, Agaja, conquered both Allada and Whydah in the 1720s, founding the kingdom of Dahomey with its capital at Abomey. The government of Dahomey was an absolute monarchy with a well-established, centralized state and bureaucracy. Dahomey became heavily involved in the European slave trade, which had begun in earnest a century previous with the arrival of the Dutch.

The rule of Gezu (1818–1858) marked the pinnacle of Dahomey’s power and influence. Military victories enabled the kingdom of Dahomey to stop paying its annual tribute to the Oyo empire of what is now Nigeria Still the end of the slave ...



Lucy MacKeith

City with a low black population, but a good example of the historical presence of Blacks in areas outside the major port cities, an indication of how omnipresent they were in Britain from the 17th century onwards.

Parish registers provide examples such as the burial on 4 February 1631 at St Mary Major of ‘Thomas, sonne of a Blackamore’; the baptisms on 16 February 1689 at St Stephen's of ‘Mary Negro, black’, on 9 April 1735 of ‘Charles English, negro’, and on 4 December 1778 of ‘Thomas Walker, a black boy’; and the burial on 8 May 1791 of ‘Robert Hill, black, a servant at the Devon and Exeter Hospital’.

A contemporary broadsheet in November 1668 gives details of ‘200 blacks brought from the plantations of the Netherlands in America’, part of the procession led by William of Orange on his way to claim the throne in London. On 22 ...



Jacqueline Jenkinson

One of Britain's leading trading ports between the 17th and 20th centuries. Links between Glasgow and the black world originated through trade. In the late 17th century the merchant guilds of Glasgow added to its flourishing trade with the colonial tobacco plantations in mainland North America by forging trading connections with the West Indies. The Glasgow West India Association was founded in 1807. The Association spent many of its early years defending the slave trade interest. Glasgow was involved in the slave trade, but to a much smaller degree in comparison to the major slaving ports of Bristol, London, and Liverpool. Trade connections and the slave trade led to the creation of a permanent black presence in Glasgow by the late 18th century as black people arrived, settled, and married. One early black Glaswegian was David Cunningham lawfully born to Anthony a black labourer and ...


British relations with Haiti commence with the ill‐fated 1793 invasion of Saint‐Domingue, when Britain tried—but failed miserably—to wrest the richest colony in the world from French control during the upheavals of its revolutionary war (1791–1803). When Haitian independence was finally proclaimed in 1804, the British government (along with all of the other major powers) refused to recognize the second republic in the Western hemisphere, largely because it was also the first to constitutionally abolish slavery. Haiti's revolutionary foundation initiated a long‐running debate throughout the Atlantic world over how to react to the existence of a black republic at the core of the transatlantic system of slavery that drove the world economy.

In the northern Kingdom of Haiti, Henri Christophe (President, 1806–11, King 1811–20 wished to establish friendly relations with Britain partly as protection against French reconquest He modelled his government on Britain s liberal monarchy ...



Kathleen Smythe

was king of Nkansi (mwene in Kifipa) in the late nineteenth century (c. 1860 to c.1890), one of two Fipa kingdoms between Lakes Rukwa and Tanganyika ruled by the Twa dynasty. There are conflicting accounts of the Twa genealogy, but Kapuufi was probably the son of a previous Nkansi king. He had two children, Ndalu, a daughter, and Kilatu, a son, who eventually became mwene himself. Very little is known about Kapuufi’s personal life. Much of what we know is about his kingdom and comes from travelers like Edward Hore, Paul Reichard, and Joseph Thomson, all of whom noted that Nkansi was well governed, peaceful, and prosperous and that the people respected Kapuufi.

Nkansi was a centralized kingdom that was connected to villages under its jurisdiction by politico-religious ceremonies and exchanges of labor and goods. Below the king and queen mother were the leaders of districts or provinces, mwenekandawa ...


H.R. Costello

City in north‐western England which, by the end of the 18th century, had become one of Europe's greatest ports because of its involvement in the slave trade.

1.18th‐century settlers

2.The 1919 riots

3.Black seamen

4.Social and economic disadvantage



S. I. Martin

Capital of the United Kingdom and a historic centre of black political and cultural organization and development.

1.The black population in 2005

2.From Roman to Elizabethan London

3.London and the slave trade

4.Georgian and Victorian London

5.Black organizations


Rosemary Elizabeth Galli

warlord, trader, and founder of perhaps the greatest Yao dynasty in Niassa in northern Mozambique, was the grandson of Syungule, head of the Chisyungule lineage. Mataka Nyambi, along with his biggest rival Makanjila, was instrumental in transforming the Niassa Yao from a society of matriclans to one governed by territorial chiefs. In the process, he brought a large population under his control and gained many wives; he is said to have had six hundred wives and numerous children. In about 1875 Mataka (now Mataka I) beheaded his adversary Makanjila.

A fierce drought drove the Niassa Yao to invade and ransack their neighbors for food and, subsequently, slaves in the 1830s Attacks by Nguni raiders have been responsible for their militarization Small and weak matriclans submitted to the stronger territorial chiefs and even sought their protection Mataka Nyambi was both feared and admired for his military prowess In addition trade ...


Jonathon L. Earle

prince of Buganda, and titular head of the Muslim community in Uganda, was born around 1835, a son of Kabaka Ssuuna Kalema Kansinge II (r. c. 1830–1857). Born Omulangira (prince) Ssimbwa Ssempebwa, Mbogo’s mother was Kubina, a member of the Fumbe (Civet Cat) clan. However, at an early age, Mbogo was entrusted to the care of Muganzirwazza, mother of Kabaka Walugembe Mukaabya Muteesa I (1838–1884, invested 1857). Muteesa and Mbogo were raised together under her care. Following Ssuuna’s death, Muganzirwazza had the overwhelming majority of the princes executed, a practice not unheard of by queen mothers in earlier Ganda history. Upon learning of the planned execution of Mbogo, the new king petitioned his mother, resulting in Mbogo’s release.

According to Emin Pasha s diary Islam first reached the courts of Buganda in the person of Sheikh Ahmed bin Ibrahim a Zanzibari trader whose family migrated from Oman during ...



Stephen J. Rockel

the most famous of the Nyamwezi chiefs (mtemi, Kinyamwezi) in Tanzania, and perhaps the greatest of all nineteenth-century East Africans, was the son of Kasanda Mtula, mtemi of the small state of Uyowa in western Unyamwezi, and of Nyakasi, a daughter of the ruling family of neighboring Bukune. His birth names, from his grandfathers, were “Mtula” and “Mtyela,” but he became known as “Mirambo” (“corpses”) because of his widespread military conquests.

Mirambo grew up during the great expansion of long distance trade in East Africa based on exports of ivory and other African products and imports of manufactured goods especially cloth metal goods and firearms In the middle decades of the century an economic boom reshaped institutions and practices across the region as rising prices for ivory and the shrinking costs of manufactured cloth worked to expand market forces stimulating entrepreneurship accumulation and migrant wage labor Competition for ...



Nathaniel Mathews

political leader in eastern and central Africa, was born Mwenda Msiri Ngelengwa Shitambi in Tabora (in present-day Tanzania) to an ambitious Sumbwa Nyamwezi trader. Msiri rose to become one of the most powerful of a new class of nineteenth-century African rulers who used firearms and long-distance trade to build up spheres of influence independent of clan linkages or hereditary inheritance. Msiri’s father Kalasa held a chieftainship under the great Nyamwezi ruler Mirambo and was also a very successful copper merchant. Known as the Yeke, Msiri and other Nyamwezi brought the peoples of the Katanga plateau coastal trade goods while providing a market for the heavy copper crosses molded in Katanga refineries.

Msiri s first political strategy was to ally himself with the Wasanga in their war against a Lunda regent Msiri was able to defeat the Lunda king earning the gratitude and subordination of the Wasanga He followed this victory ...


Holly Hanson

king of Buganda (r. 1856–1884), was the son of Kabaka (King) Ssuna by his tenth wife Muganzirwazza of the Njovu clan, who as nnamasole (queen mother) exercised formidable political power herself. Muteesa ruled from October 1856 until his death in 1884. In order to solidify his somewhat precarious hold on the kabakaship, Muteesa killed many people in the early years of his rule, receiving the name Mutebya, “bringer of tears.” Over time, however, he became known instead as Muteesa, “the benefactor,” as a result of the intelligence and innovation he used to meet the internal threat of enslavement and the external threat of encroachment from the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, and the European scramble for spheres of influence in East Africa.

Ganda the people of Buganda traditions associate Kabaka Muteesa with the arrival of large amounts of foreign cloth and with the decision to sell slaves to obtain it That people ...


Holly Hanson

king of Buganda as Mwanga II, was born to Kabaka Muteesa I and Abisagi Bagalayaze of the Ngonge clan. Mwanga was raised, following Ganda tradition, far from the palace. He had been his father’s choice as successor, and was installed as kabaka (king) on 24 October 1884. Powerful royal women, the traditional king-makers in Uganda, preferred one of his brothers, and only four months after he took office, older chiefs tried to kill him and place a rival on the throne. Mwanga had a reputation for favoritism even as a prince, and he failed to learn the skill of balancing competing interests, which was the heart of a kabaka’s power. Mwanga had his first child when he was 29, but he eventually fathered seven sons and four daughters by sixteen wives. His fourth wife, Evalyn Kulabako, gave birth to his successor, Daudi Chwa, in 1896.

Mwanga came to ...


Aylward Shorter

successful Nyamwezi warlord in nineteenth-century Tanzania, was born into the ruling family of Unyanyembe, the chiefdom that surrounds Tabora township. Although his date of birth is not known, it is clear that by 1861 he was already an active warrior. The name of his father is not known, but his mother, Kupelelwa, was the granddaughter of Chief Mgalula. His name (which means “Pot-of-Stone”) is most frequently coupled with that of his cousin, Mnwa Sele, the chief who rebelled against the Tabora Arabs, and who was driven into exile by his uncle Kiyungi, with Arab support. Nyungu took part in Mnwa Sele’s guerrilla campaigns and aspired to succeed him as rightful chief of Unyanyembe when he was killed in 1865. The explorer John Hanning Speke tried to mediate between Mnwa Sele and the Tabora Arabs in 1861 and recorded that the former s representative was a one eyed warrior ...


Jeremy Rich

Gabonese monarch, was the powerful ruler of most Nkomi people living along the Rembo Nkomi River and the Fernan Vaz lagoon in what is present-day Gabon. Much of his early life and reign is largely obscure, save for oral traditions that often contradict one another. It may be that these stories refer to several rengondo (king in the Nkomi dialect of the Omyènè language, widely spoken today in coastal Gabon) rather than Onanga Oyembo. Some oral accounts claim that Onanga Oyembo had slave ancestry. Such a background would not have necessarily prevented his rise to power, as many free Nkomi had slave wives. Others report that he had a miraculous beginning: his mother was said to have suddenly become pregnant and to have given birth in a very short time. His command over supernatural forces, particularly ombwiri water spirits who lived in the lagoon remains legendary among many residents ...