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Giovanni R. Ruffini

Egyptian landowner and Roman imperial official, is the best attested member of a family of large landholders prominent in Egypt from the fifth to the seventh centuries. The Apionic estates were one of the dominant forces in the Oxyrhynchite nome or sub-province of Egypt during the Byzantine period. Its surviving papyrological documentation details the activities of these estates, their financial managers, their farmers, and other related figures. This material makes the Apionic estates, so-called “the noble house,” one of the best documented economic institutions during Roman rule in Egypt. By recent count, the published material from the Apionic archive includes nearly 275 texts covering more than 180 years, from 436 to 620/1. The Apionic estates are likely to have been the largest in the Oxyrhynchite nome.

Procopius a sixth century Byzantine historian describes Apion s role during the Roman Empire s war with Persia during the reign of Anastasius in ...

Article

Felix Macharia Kiruthu

pioneer white settler in Kenya, settled in the country in 1903. At the time he first visited the country during a hunting expedition in 1897, he had inherited the family title, as Third Baron Delamere, and the family estate, bringing him a fortune at the age of seventeen. Using his family wealth, he traveled widely, visiting Corsica, New Zealand, Australia, India, and Somaliland before settling in Kenya. Benefitting from a land grant from the colonial government in Njoro, between the Mau escarpment in the west and the Aberdare Ranges in the east in 1903, he named his parcel of land the Equator Farm in 1904. In due course, he acquired additional land in the country’s Rift Valley Province, and subsequently relocated to the Soysambu Farm near Lake Elementeita in 1910 Together with the East African Syndicate Delamere owned one fifth of all the alienated land ...

Article

Nicole S. Ribianszky

free woman of color, property holder, and washerwoman, was born into slavery in Natchez, Mississippi. The exact date of her birth is not now known. She was born to an enslaved woman, Hannah Frey, and to J. S. Miller, a white planter who lived outside of Natchez near the small town of Washington. Mrs. Margaret Overaker, a white woman, and her husband, George, owned Leiper and her mother. While Leiper was still a young girl, her mother was manumitted, but Leiper herself remained enslaved. Sometime around 1831, when Leiper was approximately twenty or twenty-one, she was freed, reportedly at the insistence of her father, who paid her owner $300. In 1834 or thereabouts, following the instructions of her white father, she was taken by boat up the Mississippi River to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the footsteps of her mother.

As was the case with ...

Article

Nicole D. Price

Equatorial Guinean landowner, liberation activist of the Fang ethnic group, and hero of the independence movement, was born in Cameroon. Nothing is really known about his youth. Before his participation in the independence movement of Equatorial Guinea, Mañé Elá was known throughout the Río Muni region (the continental part of Equatorial Guinea) as a fairly wealthy landowner. Because of his status as an emancipado, or privileged African under Spanish colonial rule, Mañé Elá had very few restrictions placed upon him as far as travel and accumulation of wealth, both of which figured prominently in his role in the independence movement.

The independence movement in Spanish Guinea started to formally take shape in the late 1940s, when emancipados realized that even with their privileged status in colonial society, they would never have the same rights as the Spaniards. In 1947 a group of emanicipados, led by Marcos Ropo Uri ...

Article

David Wheat

master mason, militia captain, and property owner in colonial Mobile, Alabama, was a prominent free black man whose last name meant “my friend” in Mobilian Jargon, a major Native American pidgin used throughout the region during his lifetime. His first name used the French spelling “Nicolas.”

Born in roughly 1720 according to his burial record, the exact place and date of Mongoula's birth are unknown. Nor is much certain about his parentage. He was possibly one of two children named “Nicolas” born the same year to enslaved black mothers in Mobile, which is now a port city of Alabama but which in the colonial era changed hands among France, Great Britain, and Spain. Just as little is known of Nicolas Mongoula's early life; how he came to be identified—and to identify himself—with Mobilian Jargon remains unresolved.

This pidgin also known as the Mobilian Trade Language was used ...

Article

Ngonyo  

Thomas Spear

was one of a number of Mijikenda who took advantage of increasing trade and the disruptions of slavery during the nineteenth century in eastern Kenya to attract large numbers of followers and develop their own polities. Prior to the nineteenth century, most Mijikenda had lived in central kayas (villages) surrounding Mombasa, where they farmed and participated in local trade, exchanging livestock, foodstuffs, honey, medicines, and craftwork among themselves. They also traded grain, ivory, copal (used in varnish), orchilla dye, and rubber for cloth, beads, and other trade goods with coastal Swahili.

One of the Mijikenda groups the Giriama had been the leading ivory traders in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries acquiring tusks locally from Waata and Oromo hunters and trade partners but with increasing demand for ivory in India China and Europe during the eighteenth century elephants became more scarce and ambitious young men began to organize caravans across the ...

Article

Nicole S. Ribianszky

free woman of color, property-holder, and trader in Natchez, Mississippi, was most likely born in the mid-eighteenth century. Very little is known about the early life of Eleanor, or Nelly, as she was often called. She testified in a court document in 1786 that she had been in America for twenty years, although her country of origin is unclear. In the same petition, she was identified as an “English mulatto woman,” suggesting perhaps she was born in the British-held West Indies or in the American colonies. As the Natchez District was under British rule from 1763 until 1779, it is possible that she was the daughter of an enslaved woman and a British man who subsequently manumitted his daughter and furnished her with property.

Most of the biographical details concerning her life surface in court documents from the Natchez District which was controlled by the Spanish ...

Article

Rosemary Elizabeth Galli

nineteenth-century Mozambican warlord, was born on 10 November 1835 in Mapusa, Goa (Portuguese India). His parents were Felix de Sousa, a landowner, and Doroteia Tomásia de Mascarenhas. He went to Mozambique in the early 1850s to manage his maternal uncle’s estate and married his cousin, Maria Anastásia de Mascarenhas. He became a rich and powerful ivory trader in the Sena region, gathering together a private army of elephant hunters and slaves with which he raided surrounding territories. He built a heavily fortified base camp in the Gorongosa Mountains in the 1850s from which he built an empire. He helped Portugal gain control over central Mozambique, challenged first by the Nguni and powerful estate holders and later the British. Locally he acquired the name of Gouveia, said to be a corruption of the term meaning “Goan.”

Sousa found his opportunity to extend his landholdings in the 1860s when Nguni armies ...

Article

Jonathan G. Post

member of the elite Ottoman Muradi dynasty in Tunisia, was the granddaughter of Uthman Dey. Uthman Dey had secured a large hanshir, or estate, worked by khammasa, or sharecroppers. These hanshirs faced lower taxation, as they were appropriated to cultivate areas of the country previously unfarmed. The local government questioned Dey’s use of physical conquest to secure his family’s land, and sought to remove control of it from Aziza Uthmana.

Uthmana responded by creating a waqf with the land. In other words, she gave the land to a charitable cause in the Islamic tradition. In this case, the waqf created a Tunisian hospital, or maristan, named after Uthmana herself, and she became widely associated with the advancement of Tunisian medicine. The waqf also funded a takiya similar to a hospice for the sick and it included large endowments to fund these improvements over time The hospital ...

Article

John Evans

Son of a slave and a wealthy planter on St Kitts, Wells became a major landowner in Monmouthshire, South Wales, and Britain's first black sheriff. He was probably the wealthiest black person in the country at the time.

His father, William Wells (1730–94), left Cardiff with his brother Nathaniel for St Kitts to make his fortune in the sugar and slave trade in about 1749. He married a wealthy widow in 1753, Elizabeth Taylor née Fenton. She bore William two children, who died in infancy, before she herself died in 1759. Subsequently William fathered at least six children with various slaves, one of whom, Nathaniel, was born on 10 September 1779, the son of Juggy, his African house slave. He was baptized on 3 March 1783 at Trinity Church Palmetto Point By the age of 9 wells was living in London with ...

Article

Lynda R. Day

leader of the Kpa Mende Confederacy who wielded greater authority than any other Sierra Leonean woman of her time, was born about 1849 near Taiama in Gbo. She was originally known by her birth name, Soma, and had three brothers named Ali Kongo, Lamboi, and Goba. Her father and maternal grandfather were leaders in the Kpa Mende expansion westward from the Gorama chiefdom. With both a father and a grandfather who were prominent war leaders, Yoko met one of the most important criteria for leadership in this era, descent from the ruling elite of Mende country.

As a girl, Yoko was initiated into the women’s society, the Sande also known as Bundu there she gained a wide reputation as an excellent dancer Some sources mention a first husband the warrior Gongoima who may have been her cousin her father s sister s son Other sources describe her first marriage ...