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Elizabeth Heath

The cultural and economic center of the Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan surrounds the Ébrié Lagoon on the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of Guinea. Historians are not sure when people first inhabited the area, but modern settlement dates from the early sixteenth century. Later in the century the Ébrié people selected the area as the site for three fishing villages—Locodjo, Anoumabo, and Cocody. Portuguese traders explored the area for a brief period in the seventeenth century, but Europeans largely ignored it until French Colonial rule in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1903 the French chose the settlement as the endpoint for a railway connecting Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) to the coast, and a small town soon developed around the train station. The lack of a viable port, however, initially stifled the town's growth.

In 1934 shortly after the completion of the rail link to the Upper ...

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David P. Johnson

Asmara is located in a highland region of Eritrea that was settled roughly 700 years ago. It is believed to have been the site of four small, feuding villages, which, under pressure from the villages’ women inhabitants, finally made peace and united around 1515. The name Asmara comes from Arbate Asmara, which in the Tigrinya language means “the four villages of those [women] who brought harmony.” Sixteenth-century Italian sources describe Asmara as a caravan trading center.

Shortly afterward Asmara was sacked by Islamic warriors and went into decline. Few historical records even mention Asmara again until the late nineteenth century, when the Italians began their colonial conquest of the region. After occupying Aseb in 1882 and Massawa in 1885, the Italians pushed into the highlands, where they encountered resistance. However, in exchange for weapons Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II signed a treaty in 1889 acquiescing to Italian control ...

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Elizabeth Heath

The administrative, economic, and cultural center of Mali, Bamako lies on the left bank of the Niger River in the southwestern part of the country. Little is known about Bamako before the eleventh century, when it achieved prominence as a center of Islamic scholarship in the Mali empire. After the fall of Mali in the sixteenth century, the Bambara occupied the town, which became a fishing and trading center. In 1806 Scottish explorer Mungo Park estimated Bamako’s population to be less than 6,000. By 1880 the town had fallen under the domination of the Mandinka warrior Samory Touré, whose kingdom covered an expanse of territory to the south.

In 1883 French Lieutenant Colonel Gustave Borgnis Desbordes occupied Bamako and used it as a base for military campaigns against Touré Bamako took on new importance under the French who valued the town s position on the navigable ...

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Kathleen Thompson

Black women have been the cultural, social, and economic support of black towns in America for centuries. There were Senegalese enclaves in Louisiana in the 1700s. In the late eighteenth century, Star Hill, Delaware, was created by free blacks on land they acquired from the Quaker community in Camden. Brooklyn, Illinois, was founded by free blacks and fugitive slaves in 1820. As early as 1830, Frank McWhorter, or “Free Frank,” had founded the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois. Sandy Ground, New York, was created by black oyster fishermen fleeing the restrictions on free blacks in Maryland.

In 1825Elijah Roberts and his wife Kessiah led a group of free African Americans, many of whom were part Cherokee, from North Carolina to Hamilton County, Indiana, to start a settlement. Many of the settlers were members of the Roberts family, which had been free since 1734 ...

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Susanne Freidberg

The city of Bobo-Dioulasso is located in one of the greener areas of Burkina Faso, and has long benefited from the fertility of the surrounding countryside. According to the legends of the Bobo people, their ancestors migrated from present-day Mali sometime between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries c.e.. and became the first inhabitants of what Bobo folk songs call “the plateau of abundance” in the southern Volta region. Over the following centuries, long-distance traders settled among the Bobo peasants on this plateau and established a community known as Sya on the banks of the Houet River. Located at the crossroads of trans-Saharan and east-west trade routes, Sya was a lively market town by the time European colonization began in the late nineteenth century. French troops, facing fierce resistance from Sya’s Zara warriors, conquered the town in 1895 They renamed it Bobo Dioulasso in Dioula house of the ...

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Debra C. Smith

Like the story of many southern cities, Charlotte, North Carolina has endured its portion of racial inequity, civil rights activism, and violent acts surrounding segregation efforts, But Charlotte, the Queen City, the largest city in North Carolina has been and remains an alcove for African American experience steeped in memory and now modern familiarity. Charlotte is a source of progress and pride for African Americans in the city who lean on historical strength to continue to develop political power, economic resources, and educational aspirations.

Article

Kate Tuttle

Conakry is on Guinea’s Atlantic coast and is the nation’s largest deep-water port. It originally comprised only Tombo Island, but today includes the Los Islands and the tip of Kaloum Peninsula, to which Tombo is connected by a causeway. The climate is tropical; much of the surrounding area is swampland.

The city’s name comes from the language spoken by the Soso ethnic group that has dominated coastal Guinea since the seventeenth century. Conakry was originally a Soso fishing village. The French chose the site for a town in 1880. The town became the capital of French Guineawhen the French declared Guinea a colony in 1891.

When the country gained independence under Sékou Touré in 1958 Conakry remained its capital and became increasingly important as a processing and trading center for the iron ore and bauxite mined in the surrounding regions Today Conakry is Guinea s ...

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Eric Young

The town of Douala first developed on the southeastern shore of the Wouri River estuary in the 1700s as a station for the transatlantic slave trade. Dutch merchants initially dominated the transatlantic trade, but the town was also frequented by ethnic Duala traders, many of whom acted as middlemen in the human traffic. British influence slowly usurped the Dutch until 1884, when Germany, after signing a treaty with two Duala chiefs, formally colonized Cameroon. With a good harbor, Douala quickly became the colony’s largest trading center, attracting African migrants as well as German and, later, French and British colonists. During World War II (1939–1945), it briefly served as the colonial capital.

Although Yaoundé is now the capital of Cameroon post independence infrastructure projects have solidified Douala s role as a national and regional economic hub Today Douala handles approximately 95 percent of the country s ...

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Lake Edward, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, has an area of about 2,150 square kilometers (about 830 square miles) and lies 912 meters (2,990 feet) above sea level. It is connected on the northeast with Lake George (or Lake Dweru) in Uganda, by means of the Kazinga Channel. Lake Edward is fed by the Rutshuru River, a headstream of the White Nile. The lake has only one outlet, the Semliki River, which links it with Lake Albert to the north. High escarpments run along the western shore of the lake and mountains rise on the northwestern shore. The water is brackish with mineral salts. Many fish and crocodiles live in the lake, and waterfowl abound on its shores. The Anglo-American explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley discovered the lake in 1889. The lake was formerly called Albert Edward Nyanza.

See alsoGeomorphology, African ...

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Now mainly a geographic reference to the central Guinean highlands, Fouta Djallon also refers to an independent state that existed within the borders of present-day Guinea from the mid-1700s to the late 1800s. The region had been home to the Yalunka (Jallonke) people since around the eleventh century. The Yalunka, who were mostly farmers, were part of the Mandinka or Malinke ethnic group. They practiced a traditional religion. In the fifteenth century, members of another ethnic group, the Fulani, began to enter the region peacefully. Starting in the seventeenth century, Fulani people (also known as Fulbe, or Peul) from the Futa Toro empire in the area presently known as Senegal began entering the Fouta Djallon, bringing with them the Islamic faith.

The Muslim Fulani gradually conquered the entire Fouta Djallon and despite their inferior numbers became the dominant group using both Yalunka and non Muslim Fulani as slaves In ...

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The palaces at Gonder remain a mystery. Historians know when they were built, and they know the names of the emperors who founded the capital and adorned it so splendidly. But no one seems to know anything about craftsmen who created a style unknown elsewhere in the country. Ethiopian emperors liked to display their wealth and power by employing foreign experts. Perhaps the palaces incorporate the skills of Italian or Indian masons. Contacts with both countries had increased after the Portuguese had arrived in Ethiopia in the sixteenth century. In 1632 the emperor Fasiladas built the first castle at Gonder then a village near Lake Tana He may not have intended to create a new capital but he hoped to find a better residence during the rainy season than the tents of the earlier nomadic court During the following decades however Gonder did become the capital of the empire ...

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Hamilton is both the capital and chief port of the British dependency of Bermuda, an island group in the western Atlantic Ocean. The community was founded in 1790 and replaced Saint George as the colonial capital in 1815 It is located on Hamilton Harbour at the eastern end ...

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Ireland  

Lyn Innes

From 1172 until 1922 Ireland was governed by England and considered by the English a part of Britain. It is not surprising, therefore, that during the 18th century its history is implicated in slavery and the slave trade and other colonial enterprises. Nevertheless, the historical ‘black presence’ in Ireland was almost completely ignored until 2002, when W. A. Hart published his seminal article ‘Africans in Eighteenth Century Ireland’. In the absence of further historical research, however, we can only offer glimpses of the black presence in Ireland over the past three centuries.

Many Irishmen owned estates in the Caribbean and brought slaves to serve them from the Caribbean to Ireland. Eighteenth‐century newspapers in Ireland carried advertisements offering rewards for runaway slaves. Thus, in 1766 the Belfast Newsletter displayed a notice offering a reward of 3 guineas for ‘a young negro manservant’ named John More described as straight and ...

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Jamaica  

John W. Pulis

The island of Jamaica is one of four geological formations (along with Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico) that constitute what is called the Greater Antilles in a grouping of island (Lesser Antilles) and mainland societies (Belize, Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana) known as the Caribbean. Columbus sighted the island during his third voyage to the region (1494). He was shipwrecked during his fourth and final voyage (1502) near Saint Ann's Bay, where he established a settlement called Puerto Seco and named the island Xamaica after the Arawak xamac, meaning “land of woods and waters.” The Arawak was one of several native groups residing in the Caribbean. The tribe had originated in South America and migrated up the Lesser Antilles to populate Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica centuries before Columbus arrived.

Columbus claimed the island for Spain but colonization lagged behind that of Hispaniola Settlements ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Kingston is on the southern side of the island nation of Jamaica, protected from the turbulent northeast trade winds by the Blue Mountains. The city stretches for more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) and includes a harbor, the suburban community of Saint Andrew, and a common area in the middle of town called the Parade. Kingston is the largest city in the English-speaking Caribbean, with a population estimated at 590,500 in 2003 It is also one of the most diverse with residents of African Asian European and Middle Eastern ancestry However Kingston faces serious problems Growth during the twentieth century produced severe overcrowding persistent unemployment and violent crime The ghettos of Kingston are the clearest evidence of the poverty that has devastated Jamaica s black majority The city also suffers from racial divisions stemming from European colonialism and it struggles to deal with long standing tensions between black ...