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Article

Adhuu  

Trevor Hall

who was one of the first West Africans enslaved by the Portuguese in 1441, and transported by ship to Europe. He lived in Rio de Oro (modern-day Western Sahara). Information about his parents and marital status is not known; however, Adhuu was captured with a youth who may have been his relative. His reason for renown is that after he was enslaved in Portugal, he negotiated his freedom with Prince Henry the Navigator (1394–1460). Adhuu probably spoke Berber or Arabic, and communicated with Portuguese translators.

The Portuguese royal chronicler Gomes Eannes da Azurara witnessed Adhuu’s arrival in Portugal in 1441 Azurara said that Prince Henry had ordered Captain Antam Goncalves to sail from Portugal to West Africa and capture the first persons he found and transport them back to him Captain Goncalves sailed to Rio de Oro where he spotted human and camel tracks along the ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

legendary hero of the Afro-Brazilian community, is believed by many to have been born in the kingdom of Kongo in Central Africa in the early eighteenth century. With few written sources available about his origins or his life that could help confirm the many stories told about Rei in later years, it is difficult to determine with precision many of the narratives that emerged about him. According to many stories about Rei, he was a leader of his people in Kongo and was captured by African rivals. These enemies sold him to a visiting Brazilian slave ship, which brought Rei and his unfortunate companions across the Atlantic to the Minas Gerais region of southern Brazil. His wife and most of his family were said to have died during the long voyage. Only one son was believed to have survived.

During the early eighteenth century Brazilian prospectors discovered large deposits of ...

Article

Aaron Myers

In the late seventeenth century, gold was discovered in the area that is now the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, triggering an inundation of gold prospectors from the surrounding provinces and Portugal. They brought large numbers of African slaves with them to extract the precious metal and began importing slaves from Africa’s Gold Coast (present-day Ghana and the surrounding countries), a region known for its advanced mining activities. By 1720 the city of Ouro Preto had become the center of gold mining in Minas Gerais. This was the destination of the African king Chico Rei and many members of his tribe.

Originally named Galanga, Chico Rei was the king of a small Congolese tribe of some 200 people in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Around 1740 he and his tribe were taken prisoner by Portuguese slave traders and sold into slavery in Minas ...

Article

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw’s idyllic childhood as a prince in the area that is now Nigeria came to an abrupt end when a merchant persuaded the teenaged Gronniosaw to travel to the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) and then sold him into American slavery. Years later, in Great Britain, Gronniosaw related his story to a Dutch woman, who wrote and published Narrative of the Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince, related by himself (1770). Class-conscious British readers were sympathetic to the story of the victimized African prince; the book was widely read and later influenced the British slave narratives of the authors and abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Ottobah Cugoano Gronniosaw was a slave to several Dutch families in colonial New England His last owner was Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen a Dutch Reformed minister in New Jersey who bought Gronniosaw ...

Article

Vincent Carretta

spiritual autobiographer, was born around 1705 in what is now northeastern Nigeria. He was the youngest child of the oldest daughter of the king of Bornu. Gronniosaw alienated himself from his friends and relatives by constantly challenging their faith in physical objects and by his growing belief in the existence of an uncreated creator. “Dejected and melancholy,” Gronniosaw accompanied a trading African merchant to the Gold Coast, more than a thousand miles away, where he had been promised that he could play with boys his own age and “see houses walk upon the water with wings to them, and the white folks.” The local king on the Gold Coast, however, thought him a spy and decided to behead him. Gronniosaw’s obvious courage in the face of death caused the king to sell him into slavery instead.

Gronniosaw successfully implored a Dutch captain to purchase him after a French slave trader ...

Article

African slave who lived in England and recorded his experiences in a narrative. His Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African Prince, as Related by Himself (1790) was published when he was 60 years old. It was written down by Shirley Walter, a young Christian woman from the town of Leominster, who was initially interested in Gronniosaw's story for personal reasons, but eventually published the narrative to expose the realities of his life, as well as to aid Gronniosaw and his family financially. The profits from the sales of the narrative were entirely received by him.

Gronniosaw was born in Bournou Nigeria of a royal family His mother was the eldest daughter of the King of Bournou and he enjoyed a happy childhood his grandfather doted on him A deeply curious child Gronniosaw was perplexed by spiritual divine ...

Article

A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince appeared in London in 1770, related by a former slave from America in need of financial support for his family. In the work, Gronniosaw mentions how the Puritan spiritual writers John Bunyan and Richard Baxter influenced him. Thus, he tells his life story in accordance with the spiritual autobiography's traditional pattern of sin, conversion, and subsequent rebirth.

The narrative deals with Gronniosaw s remembrance of Africa where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery Transported to Barbados he was resold to a young gentleman in New York and later to a minister who taught him about Christianity A schoolmaster generously offered instructional services to the young slave who gained freedom when his master died Gronniosaw then worked aboard various ships until he settled in England There he married white Betty and ...

Article

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw was born in present-day northeastern Nigeria to a daughter of the royal family of Bournou (Bornu). As a young man, he left his home and family when a traveling Gold Coast merchant lured him away with marvelous tales of coastal trade with Europeans. Upon his arrival at the Gold Coast, Gronniosaw was accused of espionage by a rival king, condemned to execution, and sold to a Dutch slave merchant.

After surviving the Middle Passage from Africa to Barbados, Gronniosaw was purchased first by a wealthy Dutch family of New York City and then, in 1730, by the Dutch Reformed minister Theodorus Frelinghuysen. Frelinghuysen, a famous proponent of religious revivalism, provided Gronniosaw with a religious education and guided his conversion to Christianity. Gronniosaw also learned to read Dutch under the tutelage of a local schoolmaster. When Frelinghuysen died in 1747 or 1748 Gronniosaw was ...

Article

Alva Moore Stevenson

revolutionary, governor, city councilman, landowner, and businessman, was born Pío de Jesus Píco at the San Gabriel Mission in California, the fourth of the ten children of José María Píco, founder of the Píco family in Southern California, and a native of Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico, and María Eustaquia Gutiérrez, from San Miguel de Horcasitas, Sonora, Mexico. Pío's ancestry was a combination of African, Hispanic, Native American, and European. José Píco migrated to California in 1801 with the Anza Expedition, which was authorized in 1775 by the viceroy of Spain. Soldiers and their families were recruited from Sonora to occupy and settle the port of San Francisco. A successful overland emigration and supply route was established between Sonora and Alta California. Among the positions he held were sergeant and corporal Many members of the Píco family served in the military including Pío Píco s ...

Article

Allen J. Fromherz

one of the most important Mamluk sultans of Egypt and Syria, was a Circassian whose full name was Al-Malik al Ashraf abu al Nasr Sayf al-Din Al Mahmudi al Zahiri Qaʾit Bay. Circassia is a region in the Caucasus hundreds of miles from Cairo, in the mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. As with many Mamluk Sultans purchased as slaves, the precise date of his birth is difficult to decipher. He was probably born between the years 1416 and 1418 and, showing great promise, was purchased by the Sultan Barsbay. Being purchased as a slave of the Sultan was considered an honor, and sources indicate that many Circassians actively groomed their sons for a chance to work as Mamluks (slave–soldiers). In exceptional circumstances these boys would advance through the ranks to become rulers of Egypt and Syria.

After several promotions in the Mamluk army and having proved his mettle ...

Article

Allen J. Fromherz

ruled the Mamluk slave sultanate from Egypt and was the penultimate ruler of the Mamluks. Another form of his name is Qansawh al Ghawri. His able leadership slowed what could have been a more rapid decline of Mamluk power. A slave, or Mamluk, of the Sultan Qaʿitbay, Qansuh was trained in the Mamluk system of military schools of his predecessors. Proving himself in battle and in administration, Qansuh rose through the elite ranks of the Mamluks. He became governor of Upper Egypt in 1481. He campaigned against the Ottomans, increasingly the main threat to the Mamluks in the north. He learned, early on, to forcefully deal with revolts in the provinces, suppressing a rebellion of townsfolk in Aleppo in 1491 His elevation to the sultanate may not have been completely voluntary A group of high Mamluk princes virtually forced him into accepting the position Unaffiliated with the many ...

Article

Lois Kerschen

perhaps the most well-known African in America in the 1820s. Ibrahima Abdul Rahaman was born in Timbo, Futa Jallon, Guinea, to King Suri of the Fulbe, or Fulani, people. As a Muslim prince, he was given a highly advanced university education in Timbuktu. However, while on a military expedition in 1788, Rahaman was captured by enemies and sold to slavers.

Rahaman was transported to Natchez Mississippi and bought by Thomas Foster Sr Ironically he was named Prince because of his noticeably regal bearing and refusal to do manual labor Beaten many times for his resistance Rahaman ran away After trying unsuccessfully to survive in the wilderness and find a way home however he returned to Foster Eventually Rahaman s knowledge of plants geography and medicine gained the attention and respect of the whites in the area Foster s modest tobacco and cotton plantation grew profitably with Prince as ...

Article

Peter J. Duignan

fifth president of the Republic of Liberia, was born in Newark, Ohio, the son of John Roye, a wealthy merchant. His mother's name is unknown. His father died in 1829, leaving some personal property and land to Roye. He went to public schools in Ohio, attended Oberlin College, and taught for a few years in Chillicothe. He also tried his hand as a sheep trader and shopkeeper in various parts of the Midwest. After his mother died in 1840 he was influenced by the emigration movement to escape American prejudice. He rejected the idea of going to Haiti and instead traveled to Liberia in 1846 just before an independent republic was installed there in July 1847, taking with him a stock of goods.

At the time of Roye s arrival the new republic faced a variety of ills The dominant Americo Liberians remained a small minority threatened ...