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Allan D. Austin

a military leader in Africa, a slave in Mississippi, was born into the rising Bari family of the Fulbe people in the fabled but real African city of Timbuktu. His name is sometimes written as Abdul Rahahman and Abder Rahman. The Fulbe people were prominent leaders in West African jihads from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries and, though enslaved, the most persistent adherents to Islam in the Americas. Abd al-Rahman's father and family had moved south to territory soon to be called Futa Jallon in the highlands of present-day Guinea after he and non-Muslim allies wrested power from their animist opposition between 1776 and 1778. Well into the twentieth century the military Bari-Soriya and religious Karamoko Alfiya families, usually peacefully, traded rule over their people and lands.

For about a century Futa Jallon was the strongest nation in the area. In its capital Timbo, Abd al-Rahman ...

Article

Who were “blacks” in the ancient Mediterranean world and where did they live? Ancient written and artistic (iconographical) evidence provides copious information about people with physical types that closely resemble Africans and peoples of African descent in the modern world. These ancient people, known in common and historical usage as Negroes or blacks, inhabited the Nile River valley south of Egypt (often called Kush in Egyptian records and Ethiopia or Nubia in Greco-Roman documents) as well as the southern fringes of northwest Africa (roughly from at least present-day Fezzan, Libya, and the oases of southern Tunisia to the Atlantic coast of Morocco). For the most part, blacks who found their way to areas outside Africa came from regions of the Nile Valley and also, to some extent, from northwest Africa.

Article

Bilali  

Allan D. Austin

Muslim leader and plantation manager, was born in Africa, sold into slavery, and transported to the Bahamas and then to Sapelo Island, Georgia. His name is also given as Bilali Mahomet and Bul‐Ali. Almost nothing is known about Bilali's life in Africa, but his fellow Fula or Peul (originally Malian) friend, Salih Bilali, who was enslaved on the neighboring island of Saint Simons, said that Bilali came from the village of Timbo, in Futa Jallon (later Guinea). This was an important Muslim educational and political community and the homeland of another Fula, Ibrahima abd al‐Rahman, who was enslaved in Mississippi. Bilali's strict adherence to Muslim ways and the book he wrote in Arabic show that he paid attention to his teachers in Africa. In the Bahamas Bilali married at least one of his four known wives before being brought to Georgia around 1802 He had a ...

Article

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.

Article

Before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean islands in 1492, several indigenous peoples lived in the region. Although there is some disagreement as to how and when they settled in the islands, most scholars agree that evidence exists of an indigenous presence that dates back more than 20,000 years. The two largest groups were the Taino and Carib. They shared similar cultural practices, and both groups spoke a Native American language called Arawak.

The arrival of Europeans in the late 1400s dramatically altered the lives of these indigenous communities. Many died of diseases that were carried across the Atlantic by European sailors. Others were killed in violent disputes with European settlers. The fate of these indigenous communities provides a lens through which we can view the long history of domination and exploitation by European powers in the region.

Article

Aaron Myers

From the beginning of slavery in the Americas in the sixteenth century through abolition in the nineteenth century, male and female slaves escaped from plantations and established semi-independent, self-governing communities. These communities were often located in inaccessible areas, such as forests, swamps, and mountains. They were known variously as palenques, quilombos, mocambos, cumbes, mambises, ladeiras, and maroons. Over time the term maroon—derived from the Spanish cimarrón, which, in turn, is based on a Taíno word meaning “fugitive”—became the standard word for an individual escaped slave or a community of escaped slaves. The phenomenon of escaped slaves forming communities, known as maroonage, represented a common response to slavery throughout the Americas. Maroon communities ranged in size from small bands that came together for less than a year to powerful groups of thousands that survived for generations or even centuries.

Current scholarship on ...

Article

Aaron Myers

Minas Gerais was a densely forested region sparsely inhabited by Tupi and Guarani Indians before the arrival of Europeans in the seventeenth century. At that time explorers and bandeirantes (slave raiders) moved inland from São Paulo in search of Indian slaves as well as precious stones and metals.

Article

Alice Knox Eaton

the first woman to publish a slave narrative, was born in Brackish-Pond, Bermuda, the daughter of slave parents. The name of her mother, a household slave, is unknown. The surname of her father, a sawyer, was Prince; his first name is unknown. Mary Prince grew up in her mother's care among five younger brothers and sisters. She later described her first mistress as extremely kind and her early years as carefree. When she was twelve her owners were either unable or unwilling to support her, and she was hired out to a nearby family as a nursemaid. She was treated kindly and permitted to maintain contact with her family and her owners; still, even as a girl Mary sensed the injustice of her circumstances and chafed against them.

Within a year her mistress died and she and her two sisters were sold at auction to different owners Prince s ...

Article

Richard Paul Benjamin

A common misconception is that the Romans in Britain were all born in Italy, had white skin, and spoke Latin. Not so: ever since the Emperor Claudius' multi‐ethnic Roman army landed at Richborough in Kent in ad 43 there has been a black African presence in Britain Britannia Two ...

Article

Slaves of various races and all sorts of physical traits were a source of labor to peoples on the five continents for thousands of years before the conquest and colonization of the Americas. Justifications for the enslavement of human beings in either moral or legal terms have varied. In some societies individuals were enslaved when they committed crimes; when they were born into a social class of slaves; or when out of poverty or extreme indebtedness they had to sell themselves, or were sold by their creditors, into slavery. Other groups enslaved those captured in “just” (properly declared) wars when they considered the enemy inferior or “barbarian” for expressing a different culture, language, or religion. In many cases, slaves could not be differentiated in physical appearance from their masters.

During the middle ages the greatest proportion of slaves in Western Europe came from the non Christian light skinned central and ...