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Jonathan Brennan

John Caesar was born in the mid-eighteenth century and joined the Seminole nation in Florida, one of the many groups of African-Seminole Indians who fought to maintain an autonomous and independent nation. There are few written records of the early life histories of the many escaped Africans and American Indians in the maroon communities across the Americas, and Caesar's life was no exception. By the time his exploits were recorded in U.S. military records, Caesar was well acculturated to Seminole life and politics, and thus he had likely been a long-time member of the Seminole nation. His work as an interpreter between Native Seminoles and the U.S. military, however, reveals his early upbringing among English-speaking Americans. He grew up in a time of intense conflict between the Seminoles and European colonists, and had become a seasoned war veteran by the time of the Second Seminole War (1835–1842 ...

Article

Jonathan Brennan

African Seminole Black Seminole leader warrior and interpreter was born in the mid eighteenth century and joined the Seminole nation in Florida one of the many groups of African Seminole Indians who fought to maintain an autonomous and independent nation There are few written records to reveal the early life histories of the many escaped Africans and American Indians in the maroon communities across the Americas and Caesar s life proves no exception By the time his exploits were recorded in U S military records Caesar was well acculturated to Seminole life and politics and thus he had probably been a longtime member of the Seminole nation His work as an interpreter between Native Seminoles and the U S military however reveals his early upbringing among English speaking Americans He grew up in a time of intense conflict between the Seminoles and European colonists and had become a seasoned war ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

fierce Gambian patriot whose resistance to British colonialism is celebrated in legend and song first appears in the historical record in the 1830s when he was king of the precolonial Gambian kingdom of Niani Niani situated in the middle reaches of the River Gambia was where Kamara inflicted the first major defeat against the British colonial forces on Gambian soil at a battle near his capital at Dungaseen He then became the undisputed anticolonial ruler in Gambia The defeat angered and embarrassed the British so much that their governor in Bathurst George Rendall was recalled and later dismissed Kemintang went to war to protect his trade and political rights against British aspirations A minor dispute involving the seizure of river cutters small sailboats that carry groundnuts proved to be the spark that lit a powder keg of rivalries among local rulers like Kemintang and British merchants and their agents over ...

Article

Willie Henderson

also known as Khama the Great and Khama the Good, kgosi (king), warrior, lawmaker, diplomat, and consolidator of BaNgwato power in northeastern Botswana, was born Khama Boikanyo Sekgoma in Mashu around 1835. His father was Sekgoma I, who had been nominated as chief by his father Kgari; Khama was born during Sekoma’s second tenure as chief. Khama’s early conversion to Christianity in 1859 marked his life in significant ways. He set himself against paganism, polygamy, and other traditional practices, including circumcision, and vehemently opposed consumption of alcohol. In the 1860s Khama became the leader of pro-missionary groups within the BaNgwato. In 1862 he married a young convert to Christianity, Elizabeta Gobitsamang, the daughter of a warrior, Tshukudu, who had conspired to overthrow Sekgoma I. In accordance with Tswana custom, she became known as Mma-Besi, named for her firstborn child.

The invasion of Ndebele 1863 sent by Mizilikazi Khumalo under ...

Article

Orombo  

J. C. Winter

Mangi (king) of Keny in the southern Rombo region of Kilimanjaro (in present-day Tanzania) from c. 1800 to 1837, also known as Horombo and Rombo, was famous for having initiated a socio-military revolution and religious reformation in Chagga that brought it in line with the western world at the time, thereby ending Mamba’s rule over eastern Chagga. He unified by conquest all of eastern Chagga under his rule, then met with Mangi Rengua of Machame at the Nanga River between Mochi (Old Moshi) and Kiruwa in 1823, and they agreed that each should rule unmolested over his own half of Chagga.

When Orombo became the Mangi of Keny his realm was tiny and insignificant as for the past one hundred years Mamba succeeding Ugweno had dominated eastern Chagga Each mangidom consisted of localized patrilineal clans having noble warrior and cattle keeping lineages whose male and female youths passed ...

Article

Said M. Mohamed

poet, warrior, and political leader, was born in the early nineteenth century at Sasabane, now in the disputed Ogaden region of Ethiopia, the son of a powerful traditional Ugaas (Sultan) of the Ogaden clan. As a boy, besides tending camels, Raage joined a peripatetic Islamic school (xer) and gave evidence of his literary talent by sending his father coded messages in Somali called “hal xidhaale.”

Sometimes called the father of Somali poetry, Raage is said to have been the first poet who composed the opening lines hooyaalayeey hooyalaayey hooyalaaye hooyeey so typical of Somali classical poetry His poetry won the admiration of every Somali and quickly spread throughout Somali speaking territories He composed a wide range of poems poetry of love and lamentation poetry about power and poems of advice The rich imagery sophisticated alliteration and artful use of Somali words were hallmarks of his poems By ...

Article

Rafai  

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

Bandia paramount chief of a Zande kingdom that straddled the Chinko River in what is now southeastern Central African Republic (CAR). Rafai was born c. 1855, the eighth son of Bayangi, who, according to oral tradition, was the son of Sangou, the son of Tossi, the son of Kassanga, the son of Ngubenge, the son of Kube. The Bandia, an Ngbandi clan from the southern bank of the Ubangi River region west of the Azande, spread northeast across Azande territory in the late eighteenth century. By c. 1800, the Bandia had become the rulers of a number of states on the forest margins north of the Mbomu River. The Bandia ancestors of Rafai came to rule an Azande population on both sides of the Chinko River.

Rafai was one of the youngest sons of Bayangi and so at birth he appeared to have little chance of ever leading ...

Article

Gabrielle Lynch

Kenyan spiritual and military leader (orkoiyot), was born around 1860 in Nandi. Koitalel was the youngest son of Kimnyole arap Turukat, an orkoiyot who could trace his lineage to the first unifying leader of the Nandi. Little is known of Koitalel’s maternal lineage or childhood, except that his father had over forty wives and that his family was relatively wealthy. As an adult, Koitalel also had around forty wives and lived at Kamng’etuny near Nandi Hills, where he led a prolonged resistance against British colonialism.

The position of orkoiik (pl.) refers to men with powers of divination, omen interpretation, prophecy, and medicine. These powers are inherited along clan lines, but are dependent on reputation. Prior to the mid-nineteenth century the orkoiik’s influence was limited to relatively small areas. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, a family of laibons (Maasai spiritual leaders) were welcomed and absorbed as orkoiik ...

Article

Tim Stapleton

Born in what is now southern Namibia around 1825, Hendrik Witbooi was a member of the chiefly family of the Nama people. The Nama had originated from the Khoikhoi and other African groups, but also from some Malaya slaves and European fugitives who generations earlier had fled north away from colonial rule in the Cape. They developed as a decentralized trans-frontier society of horse-mounted raiders who had adopted aspects of Western culture and Christianity. Educated as a Christian by German Lutheran missionaries, Witbooi became literate and thus was one of the few nineteenth-century hereditary African leaders to leave behind a significant collection of personal documents. An eager writer of letters, his correspondence from the 1880s and 1890s reveals a leader determined to dominate his African neighbors and preserve his independence from German colonialism In his letters Witbooi insisted on his equality with the German Kaiser and emphasized ...

Article

Wolbert Smidt

ruler of the independent northern Ethiopian princedoms of Tigray and Semén and a claimant to the Ethiopian throne during the “Era of the Princes,” held the title dejjazmach (roughly corresponding to “general” or “duke”). An alternative scientific transliteration of his name in the Gi’iz script is Wibe Haylä Maryam; his name is also given in European sources as “Ubie.”

Wubé s family originated from the Semén Mountains His father Hayle Maryam son of Gebre was the governor of Semén and belonged to the Orthodox Christian Amhara his family was intermarried with Agew Wubé was among the most powerful and important figures of the late Era of the Princes the period during which the Ethiopian kingdom had disintegrated into several independent princedoms The aim of most competing great lords of that period was the submission of all the other princes and the reestablishment of a strong empire Some tried to rule ...