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The first known Africans to set foot in North America arrived in the summer of 1526, when five hundred Spaniards brought along one hundred black slaves as they tried to establish a town in the Carolinas, perhaps near the mouth of the Pee Dee River. That November the slaves rebelled, killed some of their former owners, and fled to join the Native Americans. Only 150 Spaniards survived; they retreated to Santo Domingo. Like many later incidents, this event is noted little if at all on the African American history landscape, but an ever-increasing array of markers, monuments, and museum exhibits tell of African Americans in the colonial world and the first half century of American national existence.


Leyla Keough

As early as the sixteenth century, a small population of Africans and people of African descent resided in the Netherlands as servants and laborers, military servicemen, and intellectuals. Black military recruits served in the Dutch army in Suriname and Indonesia, and fought for the Dutch in World War II. Black Surinamese intellectuals, who have studied in the Netherlands, have challenged racism in Dutch society, the Dutch view of its colonies, and the tolerant and pluralist self-image that is prevalent among the Dutch.

However, a significant black presence in the Netherlands did not exist until the 1950s. With the arrival of blacks from former Dutch colonies, the Netherlands has faced the consequences of its past involvement in the slave trade and colonialism. In the 1960s, Moroccans and other North Africans entered the Netherlands to work in Dutch industry. When Suriname attained independence in 1975 many Surinamers migrated to the ...


Slaves constituted the most important reason for contact between Europeans and Africans for nearly two centuries. The shipment of slaves from Africa was related to the demographic disaster consequent to Europeans meeting Amerindians, which greatly reduced the numbers of Amerindian laborers and raised the demand for labor drawn from elsewhere, particularly Africa. As Europeans colonized the Americas, it is not surprising that a steady stream of European peoples migrated to the Americas between 1492 and the early nineteenth century. But what is often overlooked is that before 1820, perhaps three times as many enslaved Africans crossed the Atlantic as Europeans. This was the largest transoceanic migration of a people up to 1820 and it provided the Americas with a crucial labor force for its own economic development The slave trade is thus a vital part of the history of some millions of Africans and their descendants who helped ...