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Jeremy Rich

African-born slave who became one of the first Spanish explorers of North America, was probably born somewhere in Morocco in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. No sources are available for his early life. His travel companion Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca reported that Esteban was born in the Portuguese-controlled town of Azemmour, Morocco, around 1513. He may have been bought there and brought from elsewhere in Morocco or had come from somewhere else in the north of West Africa. He may also have chosen to sell himself into slavery to improve his life, given Azemmour’s numerous economic and environmental problems. He converted to Christianity after his enslavement. In 1520 he was sold to Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, a Spanish aristocrat. When Dorantes decided to make his fortune in North America in 1527, Esteban joined him.

This expedition led by Pánfilo Narváez of five caravels left Spain ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

known in Portugal as Infante Henrique, duke of Viseu, and a major contributor to Portuguese maritime exploration and Portugal’s ties to Africa, was born in the northern Portuguese city of Oporto on Ash Wednesday, 4 March 1394 Henrique was the third son of King John I of Portugal and his English queen Philippa of Lancaster He later became known in the English speaking world as Henry the Navigator for his promotion of naval exploration of West Africa As a prince Henrique received an extensive education in theology philosophy and the liberal arts Biographer Peter Edward Russell has argued that Henrique s English royal mother inspired him to follow in the footsteps of his Plantagenet aristocratic lineage One hint of this came from his personal motto Instead of using Portuguese Henrique picked as his maxim an Anglo French term talent de bien fere which meant in Middle French a hunger ...

Article

Selma Pantoja

was a queen and warrior of Ngola, a territory now within the borders of the present-day People’s Republic of Angola. She was also known as Ana de Sousa. There are many stories told about this queen, yet many fundamental aspects of her life are unknown. Her place of birth, the kingdom of Ndongo, was mainly occupied by the Mbundu people, who spoke Kimbundu, and bordered on various cultural and linguistic frontiers in West Central Africa. Nzinga grew up during the first attacks by the Portuguese conquerors. She was twenty years old when the Portuguese built a fort in the Ngola territory. In 1618, Nzinga aided in the construction of another fort in the heart of Ndongo, which continued for some time as an independent political entity.

After the death of her father her brother Ngola Mbandi became king The new Mbundu ruler faced devastating wars that slowed the Portuguese ...

Article

James McCarthy

Sudanese explorer and slave narrative author, was the son of a prosperous farmer, living in the remote Nuba Mountains in what was then Darfur in Sudan. There, he had prospects of becoming not only a landed proprietor but also a courtier at the court of the renowned Muslim kingdom of Taqali. He himself was betrothed at the age of eight. When he was about nine or ten years old he was captured by Arab slavers and taken to the Cairo slave market, after many adventures and horrifying experiences, being passed from one master to another and crossing the feared Bayuda Desert. In Cairo he was purchased by the British commercial consul in Alexandria, Robert Thurburn, and taken back to the family home at Peterculter, near Aberdeen in Scotland, in 1836. He never saw his family or homeland again.

He was put in charge of Thurburn s brother John formerly ...

Article

Roy Bridges

whose parentage and date of birth are unknown, was a freed slave of Yao origin who produced a remarkable record of the African initiative to return David Livingstone’s body to the coast in 1873. Until recently, Wainwright’s achievement has been overlooked and his character unfairly condemned.

Taken from near Lake Malawi to the coast for transport perhaps to Arabia, Wainwright was rescued by the British Navy’s anti–slave trade patrol in 1866. British policy was to transfer freed slaves to Christian missionaries, and Wainwright came into the care of the Anglican Church Missionary Society at Sharanpur School at Nasik, near Mumbai in India. Converted to Christianity and given a new name and an elementary education, he was soon able to write and speak clear, coherent English.

In 1871 increasing worries about the fate of Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone 1813 1873 led the Royal Geographical Society to ...