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Alexandria and Grecian Africa: An Interpretation  

Charles Van Doren

Alexandria flourished for more than a thousand years as the intellectual and cultural center and the greatest city of the ancient Mediterranean world. It was the prime conduit for the passage of African images and ideas into Europe and European images and ideas into Africa. This article deals primarily with the role of Alexandria in the development of Grecian Africa in ancient times. (For a history of the city up to modern times, see the entry on Alexandria.)


Amenhotep, III  

Troy Leiland Sagrillo

was the ninth king (reigned c.1391–1353 BCE) of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c.1550–1295 BCE) of pharaonic Egypt. Upon ascending to the kingship in c. 1391 BCE, he bore the titulary “Neb-maat-Re; Amenhotep, Ruler of Thebes”; he is known in Greek as Amenophis and in Akkadian as Nibmuareya. His father was king Thutmose IV and his mother, Mut-em-wiya, was one of his father’s minor consorts. Amenhotep came to the throne as a child, no more than about ten years old, and he reigned at least thirty-eight years.

Amenhotep III s reign is characterized as being a political and artistic highpoint of the Egyptian empire of the Eighteenth Dynasty a period of peace following Egypt s aggressive expansion during the earlier reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II With the exception of a military campaign in Regnal Year 5 against Nubian tribes in Kush Amenhotep s relations with his ...


Ancient African Civilizations  

Kevin MacDonald

The great chiefdoms states and empires of Africa were some of the last great civilizations of antiquity to come to the attention of the Western world Before the fifteenth century when the coasts of Africa fell increasingly within the European trading sphere the states of the African interior were known in Europe only through frail rumors received at one remove from the Arabic world By the time Europeans finally achieved the interior vastness of the continent in the nineteenth century many of its great polities had been reduced by internal dissension or had withered away leaving only their ruins Oral traditions also remained but for many years they went unheard or uncredited by the ear of the colonizer Since the last few decades of the colonial era much has been reconstructed about the vanished African past through the use of oral traditions a few textual sources mostly in Arabic historical ...



Jesse Benjamin

Africa is the second-largest continent on earth and home to the longest continuous human occupations. It is the site of both hominid and human origins and the location of perhaps the earliest known Neolithic civilizational social complexes as well. Although most modern historical accounts have downplayed Africa and Africans, a wide range of research and evidence from across the social and physical sciences has overturned such omissions and begun to restore Africa to its proper place in the annals of human history. Many longentrenched theories have been called into question or become the subject of vociferous debate as the result of new evidence.



James F. Warren and Utsa Patnaik

[This entry comprises two articles: a general description of slavery and other forms of servitude in the Indian subcontinent, followed by a detailed discussion of these practices throughout Southeast Asia and its environs. For discussion of slavery in East Asia,see ChinaandKorea.]


Augustine, of Hippo  

James J. O'Donnell

Christian bishop and theologian, was born Aurelius Augustinus on 13 November 354 CE in Tagaste (mod. Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman Africa, the son of Patricius and Monnica. The names of father and son are marked by emphatic affiliation with Rome (echoing the imperial title of Augustus and the high dignity of “patrician”), while the mother’s name echoes the traditional Punic culture of Africa and one of its leading deities. Augustine died as bishop of Hippo Regius (mod. Annaba, Algeria) on 28 August 430. He never ceased to surprise his contemporaries, and he has astonished many more to this day.

As the older son in a family of some social pretensions but limited resources Augustine should have grown to manhood as a country squire of narrow horizons But his parents were ambitious and found the money from an influential friend to send him away for education He studied first at ...



Olutayo C. Adesina

The traditional objects, mathematical sense, philosophy, and beliefs of the Baule (also Baoule) people, who occupy the eastern part of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) between the Komoe and Bandama rivers, have for long helped to define and project their identity and existence as a group. The Baule constitute one of the largest ethnic groups in modern-day Côte d’Ivoire. They had migrated into their present location in the eighteenth century. The Baule, apart from being great artists, are also agriculturalists who produce yams and maize, which are supplemented by fish from the rivers and game from the forest and the savannah. In spite of their contact with the Europeans and modernity, the group succeeded in holding on to their traditional beliefs.

The Baule who belong to the Akan speaking group had evolved an egalitarian society with a deep aversion for authoritarianism or associations that encouraged the development of hierarchical structures The ...


Boen, William  

Darshell Silva

a Quaker, was born a slave near Rancocas, New Jersey, and was sometimes known as William Bowen or “Heston.” His owner treated him well, and Boen was allowed to learn to read and write. As a boy, Boen was afraid of dying during an Indian attack because of all of the stories circulating among the neighbors about others that were killed by Indians. Whenever he worked in the woods alone, he was on constant guard for Indian arrows. He felt he was not yet ready to die until he accepted what was within him that made him do good and reject evil, as the Quakers he was growing up around had done. The Society of Friends is a Christian sect founded by George Fox in 1660 that rejects formal sacraments a formal creed priesthood and violence They are also known as Quakers and are recognized by their plain speech ...


Brown, Morris  

Will Gravely

African Methodist Episcopal minister and bishop, was born of mixed parentage in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent his early and middle years. Apparently self-educated, he worked as a boot maker and shoe repairman; he married Maria (maiden name unknown), with whom he had six children. Associated with the city's community of free people of color, Brown earned a reputation for assisting slaves in purchasing their freedom and for teaching and advising both free and enslaved African Americans in the region.

Soon after his religious conversion and his joining of the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church, Brown was licensed to preach. In that role he had greater access to the slave population as well as to groups of free African Americans. As the number of blacks grew, both generally and within the African church in Charleston, Brown emerged as their leader. As a result of an 1816 dispute over a ...



Charles Van Doren

For three centuries, from about 500 to 200 b.c.e., Carthage was the capital of a commercial empire that dominated trade in the western Mediterranean. Starting around 250 b.c.e., however, the Carthaginians found themselves increasingly in conflict with the expanding Roman Republic. The Romans, after three ruthless wars of attrition, destroyed the city and scattered its inhabitants. Reestablished by the Romans in later years as a commercial outpost, Carthage languished for centuries after the fall of the empire. Today it is a pleasant suburb of Tunis, Tunisia. This article deals primarily with the ancient history of the city and its role, despite its ultimate defeat, in the growth of Roman Africa.


Cleopatra VII  

Prudence Jones

queen of Egypt, was the last ruler in the Ptolemaic dynasty, which held power in Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The Egyptian ruler referred to as Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII, daughter of Ptolemy XII, one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals.

The identity of Cleopatra s mother is not known for certain She may have been the daughter of Ptolemy XII and his first wife Cleopatra V Cleopatra V disappears from the historical record sometime before 68 BCE however and it is unclear whether this disappearance occurred before or after Cleopatra s birth in 69 BCE It is possible that Cleopatra s mother may have been a concubine of Ptolemy XII who himself was the son of Ptolemy IX and a concubine The third option is that Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII s second ...


Cuffe, Paul  

Donald R. Wright

Atlantic trader and early African colonizationist, was born on Cuttyhunk Island off southern Massachusetts, one of ten children of Kofi (later Cuffe) Slocum, a freed slave originally from West Africa's Gold Coast, and Ruth Moses Slocum, a Wampanoag Native American, both farmers. Kofi Slocum's Quaker master freed him in the mid-1740s and, although he was excluded by race from membership in the Society of Friends, Kofi and Ruth Slocum lived by Quaker principles—hard work, frugality, and honesty. This diligence paid off in the 1766 purchase of a 116-acre farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on Buzzard's Bay. At his death in 1772 Kofi bequeathed the farm to his sons Paul and John.

Taking his father s African name Cuffe and respecting his dual Native American and African American identity the self educated Cuffe sought his fortune at sea Whaling was open to men of any race so Paul worked on Atlantic ...


Domestic Slavery  

Jane Turner Censer

The concept of domestic slavery customarily included household servants rather than skilled craft and industrial workers or agricultural laborers. Existing from ancient times, domestic slavery in North America dated almost from the beginning of African bondage there in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In the nineteenth century, U.S. slaveowners referred to domestic slavery to characterize their entire institution and to create the argument of slavery as a positive good. With this focus on domestic slavery, they compared the Southern slave-holding household to an extended family.

In many societies domestic slavery was an urban phenomena but in North America it came to be important on farms and plantations as well as in cities Domestic service involved a multitude of possible posts ladies maids and housemaids valets cooks butlers housekeepers dining room servers carriage drivers coachmen laundresses and ironers and nursemaids While gardeners dairymaids seamstresses and spinners produced goods they too ...


Du Sable, Jean Baptiste Pointe  

Richard C. Lindberg

explorer and merchant, was born in San Marc, Haiti, the son of a slave woman (name unknown) and Dandonneau (first name unknown), scion of a prominent French Canadian family active in the North American fur trade. Surviving historical journals record the name of Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (Pointe au Sable by some accounts), a Haitian of mixed-race ancestry, as the first permanent settler of Chicago. In her 1856 memoir of frontier life in the emerging Northwest Territory, Juliette Kinzie, the wife of the fur trader John Kinzie makes note of the fact that the first white man who settled here was a Negro Several of the voyageurs and commercial men who regularly traversed the shores of southern Lake Michigan in the last decade of the eighteenth century kept accurate records of their encounters in journals and ledger books One such entry describes du Sable as a ...


Equiano, Olaudah  

Brycchan Carey

slave, writer, and abolitionist, was, according to his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, born in the village of Essaka in Eboe, an unknown location in the Ibo-speaking region of modern Nigeria. Equiano recorded that he was the son of a chief and was also destined for that position. However, at about the age of ten, he was abducted and sold to European slave traders. In his narrative, Equiano recalls the Middle Passage in which “the shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable” (58). Despite falling ill, Equiano survived the voyage and was taken first to Barbados and then to Virginia, where in 1754 he was bought by Michael Pascal a captain in the Royal Navy Pascal s first act was to rename the ...



Keith Bradley and William D. Phillips

[This entry comprises two articles that trace the history of slavery and other forms of servitude in the Greco-Roman world and in medieval Europe.]


Fraunces, Samuel  

John Howard Smith

tavern owner and innkeeper in New York City and Philadelphia, was probably born in the French West Indies. There seems to be some controversy regarding his race, as his nickname, “Black Sam,” would indicate an African American identity, while some primary sources imply that he was either white or a Mulatto. Historians are generally agreed, however, that Fraunces was African American. Much of what is known about him comes from his 1785 petition for compensation from Congress for services rendered during the American War of Independence, letters from George Washington, and an obituary in the 13 October 1795 issue of the Gazette of the United States. He owned an inn in New York City in 1755 and the following year obtained a license to operate an ordinary which was a tavern serving meals as well as the usual ales and spirits At this time he was married ...


Freeman, Elizabeth  

Xiomara Santamarina

civil rights litigant, known as Mum Bett, was born a slave in Claverack, New York, most likely to African parents. Mum Bett and her sister were owned by the Dutch Hogeboom family in Claverack. At an uncertain date, the sisters were sold to the family of John Ashley, a judge in the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas and a prominent citizen of Sheffield, Massachusetts. Little is known about Mum Bett's life with the Ashleys, but it probably resembled the life of many northern slaves during the eighteenth century. Most slaves lived in small households in close proximity to their owners and performed a wide range of tasks to support the North's diversified economy.

Mum Bett's decision to sue for freedom was sparked by an incident of cruelty that is prominent in accounts of her life. When her mistress, Hannah Ashley struck Mum Bett s sister in ...


Gender and Slavery  

Ruth Mazo Karras

Although there were many commonalities in the experiences of all slaves, there were also important lines of division among slaves. One of these divisions was gender. In any given society men and women, both enslaved and enslaving, experienced slavery differently. The experience of men and women slaves differed both for biological reasons related to their sexual and reproductive use, and for sociocultural reasons related to gender divisions of labor.

In many societies slaves have been predominantly or stereotypically female In part this is because war was an important source of slaves and men were often killed rather than captured Women captives of various social groups were part of the booty of war Elite women for example might become wives or concubines the distinction was not made in many legal kinship and linguistic systems although they never gained the status of a wife married by agreement with her male relatives In ...


Great Zimbabwe  

At its height Great Zimbabwe dominated much of the present-day country of Zimbabwe. By the end of the fifteenth century the city had declined and had been all but abandoned. Today the stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe, located in south central Zimbabwe, make up a national monument.