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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 ...

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Elsie A. Okobi

merchant and king of Opobo, was born in the village of Umuduruoha in the densely populated Igbo heartland of eastern Nigeria (now in Imo State). He was born into the Isu clan, and his father, Ozurumba, was most likely a farmer who supplemented that work by trading or with a skilled profession such as blacksmithing. His mother’s name was Uru. At the approximate age of twelve, Jaja was sent to live with relatives in Nkwerre, from where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. From Nkwerre he was brought to Akwete and sold to a trader named Odiari from the Royal Canoe House of Opobo. (Canoe houses had begun in the delta as trading and fighting communities capable of manning and maintaining a war canoe; the trading center city-states of the eastern delta—Brass, Nembe, Bonny—each consisted of several organized canoe houses.)

Given the name Jubo Jubogha Jaja stayed with his ...

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Okwei  

Gloria Chuku

Nigerian princess, entrepreneur, and Omu (female monarch), was born Okwei Afubeho in 1872 in the trading town of Osomari located on the lower Niger River (present-day Nigeria). Her father, Osuna Afubeho, was a famous warrior and wealthy prince of Osomari who had several hundred slaves, who manned his trading and war canoes. Okwei’s grandfather, Nzedegwu, was the Atamanya (king) of Osomari, who signed trading agreements with the British in 1854 and invited the Roman Catholic mission to his town in 1860. Her maternal grandfather, Obi Aje, was one of the sons of the famous Obi Ossai, the Aboh king, who received and signed trading agreements with European traders in the 1830s.

Okwei s father was a polygynist with many children but she was the only child of her mother At the age of 9 Okwei became an apprentice to a maternal aunt who was a trader in the Igala ...