DYNAMIC AFRICA

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Posts tagged "transatlantic slave trade"

wrivol:

“Congo Square is in the vicinity of a spot which the Houma Indians used before the arrival of the French for celebrating their annual corn harvest and was considered sacred ground. The gathering of enslaved African vendors in Congo Square originate as early as the 1740’s during Louisiana’s French Colonial period and continued during the Spanish Colonial era as one of the city’s public markets.

By 1803, Congo Square has become famous for the gathering of enslaved Africans and free people of color who drummed, danced, sang and traded on Sunday afternoons. By 1819, these gatherings numbered as many as 500 to 600 people.

Among the famous dances were the Bamboula, the Calinda and the Congo. These African cultural expressions gradually developed into Mardi Indian traditions, the 2nd line, and eventually New Orleans Jazz and Rhythm and Blues.”

yourhue:

Afro-Cubans and Sierra Leoneans bridge the gap in documentary, They Are We

Can a family separated for 170 years by the transatlantic slave trade sing and dance its way back together again? THEY ARE WE tells a story of survival against the odds, and how determination and shared humanity can triumph over the bleakest of histories.

#towatch

(via blackfilm)

Richard and John Lander visit the King of Badagry, Nigeria, circa 1830-31.

The two men, brothers and British explorers from Truro in Cornwall, England, had been sent by the British government to explore the length and course of the Niger River and map it. They published their results in a “Journal of an Expedition to Explore the Course and Termination of the Niger”, in 1832.

Note the European arms in the King’s place.

Not sure who the King of Badagry was at this time but you can read more about Badagry, a coastal town in southwestern Nigeria that served as a port during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade where many of the kidnapped and enslaved peoples were transported to Brasil.

Nigeria’s first Christian mission is located in Badagry.

White American Writer Joe Mozingo Traces, Discovers & Chronicles His African Ancestry

"I always had kind of a longing to understand the history of the place I lived in, and I think that kind of came from the fact that I had no family history that I knew of. … Then when people started asking me my name … I kept wondering, how is it that we don’t actually know where this name came from?"
"I met a professor, who was Sherrie Mazingo, and she was black, and she had done a lot more research than I had on our genealogy, and had been to a family reunion in North Carolina. [She] came back with the news that the name was African, and that we all descended from the same person, and he was, in her words, a ‘Bantu warrior.’ My uncle, out of nowhere, said we did in fact come from Virginia, where this slave had landed."
"There was the period in Virginia, that I had never known about, where free blacks and poor whites were mixing and even getting married."
"We think he landed when he was about 11 years old, near Jamestown, and basically when these Africans arrived, you know they figured they wouldn’t live more than a couple of years — there was no reason to have a lifelong slave — so they treated them as indentured servants.

"Edward appears to have had a contract with his master to work a certain amount of time."
"There was this brief period when Edward did well, and then the rich classes really wanted to put the squeeze on the poor to create this system of slavery, which really marginalized the poor whites and the free people of color. Their fates went downhill really fast; they were suddenly out of money. One of them even re-indentured himself to pay off some debt.
"They basically started leaving the area, and that was the time they could reinvent themselves. Those that were light-skinned enough could say they were white, and wherever they landed they came up with a new myth. You know, people said they were French Huguenots, Portuguese — anything but African."

(cont. reading)

White American Writer Joe Mozingo Traces, Discovers & Chronicles His African Ancestry

"I always had kind of a longing to understand the history of the place I lived in, and I think that kind of came from the fact that I had no family history that I knew of. … Then when people started asking me my name … I kept wondering, how is it that we don’t actually know where this name came from?"

"I met a professor, who was Sherrie Mazingo, and she was black, and she had done a lot more research than I had on our genealogy, and had been to a family reunion in North Carolina. [She] came back with the news that the name was African, and that we all descended from the same person, and he was, in her words, a ‘Bantu warrior.’ My uncle, out of nowhere, said we did in fact come from Virginia, where this slave had landed."

"There was the period in Virginia, that I had never known about, where free blacks and poor whites were mixing and even getting married."

"We think he landed when he was about 11 years old, near Jamestown, and basically when these Africans arrived, you know they figured they wouldn’t live more than a couple of years — there was no reason to have a lifelong slave — so they treated them as indentured servants.

"Edward appears to have had a contract with his master to work a certain amount of time."

"There was this brief period when Edward did well, and then the rich classes really wanted to put the squeeze on the poor to create this system of slavery, which really marginalized the poor whites and the free people of color. Their fates went downhill really fast; they were suddenly out of money. One of them even re-indentured himself to pay off some debt.

"They basically started leaving the area, and that was the time they could reinvent themselves. Those that were light-skinned enough could say they were white, and wherever they landed they came up with a new myth. You know, people said they were French Huguenots, Portuguese — anything but African."

(cont. reading)

melanatedcontributions:

Gaspar Yanga 

When students learn about slavery in school, a lot of them often ask this question: “Why didn’t they fight back?” It’s a question that often remains unanswered because lesson plans don’t always address the grittier elements of history, particularly the slave trade.

But they did fight back. And one of them, Gaspar Yanga, changed history forever.

Often referred to as the “first liberator of the Americas,” Yanga was a leader of a slave rebellion in Mexico during the early period of Spanish colonial rule around 1570. By the year 1609, the large number of escaped slaves had reduced much of rural Mexico to desperation, especially in the mountains in the state of Veracruz.

Taking refuge in the difficult terrain of the highlands, Yanga and his people built a small maroon colony, or “Palenque”—a community of runaway slaves living on mountaintops. The colony grew for more than 30 years, partially surviving by capturing caravans bringing goods to Veracruz. In 1609, the Spanish colonial government decided to try to regain control of the territory.

Spanish troops, numbering around 550, set out from Puebla in January 1609. The maroons facing them were an irregular force of 100 fighters with some type of firearm and 400 more with primitive weapons such as stones, machetes, and bows and arrows. These maroon troops were led by Francisco de la Matosa, an Angolan. Yanga—who was quite old by this time—decided to use his troops’ superior knowledge of the terrain to resist the Spaniards. His goal was to cause the Spaniards enough pain to draw them to the negotiating table.

Upon the approach of the Spanish troops, Yanga sent terms of peace, including an area of self-rule. The Spaniards refused the terms and the two groups fought a battle that lasted for many years. Finally, unable to win indefinitely, the Spaniards agreed to give Yanga’s followers their freedom in exchange for ending the constant raids in the area and gain their help in tracking down other escaped slaves.

Additional conditions were also met, including:

1. Upon surrender, Yanga and his people would receive a farm as well as the right of self-government;
2. Only Franciscan priests would tend to the people; and
3. Yanga’s family would be granted the right of rule.

In 1618, the treaty was signed, and by 1630, the town of San Lorenzo de los Negros de Cerralvo was established. The town name of “San Lorenzo de los Negros” was officially changed to Yanga, Veracruz in 1956. This town of more than 20,000 people remains under the name of Yanga today.

» Contributed by Raymond Ward, DuSable Museum of African American History.

The Brazilian Baracoon, built in the 1840s and held up to 40 slaves at a time in Badagry, Lagos State.

This ancient town of Badagry was founded around l425 A.D. Before its existence, people lived along the Coast of Gberefu and this area later gave birth to the town of Badagry. It is the second largest commercial town in Lagos State, located an hour from Lagos and half-hour from the Republic of Benin. The town of Badagry is bordered on the south by the Gulf of Guinea and surrounded by creeks, islands and a lake. The ancient town served mainly the Oyo Empire, which was comprised of Yoruba and Ogu people. Today, the Aworis and Egun are mainly the people who reside in the town of Badagry as well as in Ogun State in Nigeria and in the neighbouring Republic of Benin.

The name originated from the fact that the people of Badagry’s means of livelihood are farming, fishing and salt making due to the availability of trees and presence of ocean water respectively. The natives believed that Badagry was founded by a famous farmer called Agbedeh who maintained a farm which became popular it was named after him. The word Greme meant farm in Ogu language and a visit to Agbedeh’s farm brought about the word and Agbedegreme and its usage meaning Agbedeh’s farm. It was then coined to Agbadagari by the Yoruba inhabitants and later corrupted to Badagry by the European slave merchants before the end of the seventeenth century.

Badagry is majorly recognised for its slave trade by the foreigners.

The trade began in 1440 with Prince Henry, the navigator of Portugal.  By 1593, 12,000 slaves had been sold to labour markets in Italy and Spain. One horse was traded for 25-30 slaves in the 1440s and the value of African slaves rose from six to eight slaves per horse. By the 16th century, there were over 32,000 slaves in Portugal.

Along the line, Seriki Faremi Williams, an African slave appealed a bargain with his buyers. He agreed to supply slaves to the foreigners in exchange for his freedom. The Nigerian, specifically of the Yoruba tribe to be exact, got his wish and was immediately set free to begin business. He returned to Badagry and built the Brazillian Baracoon with the mission to transport as much slaves as possible. He raided villages and captured their natives and sold them to the middlemen who eventually re-sold them as slaves to European slave merchants.

The baracoons were small rooms where up to 40 slaves were kept, all in upright position for days before they were shipped across the lagoon via the point of no return into the waiting ships. The group of houses, now mostly residential, were all at one point or the other used to keep slaves waiting to be transported. Vlekete square, founded in 1510, was known to be the slave market in Badagry.

The slave merchants began to work on his intelligence and that of African Leaders involved and enticed them with material gifts. Slaves were then exchanged for merchandises as little as whisky, tobacco, rum, cuppino glass, canons, iron bars, brass, woollen, cotton, linen, silk, beads, guns, gun powder amongst others. Because they knew it was of paramount importance to these natives.

Historically speaking, Badagry was the first and last port of call. When the ships arrive to pick these slaves, they would be brought out from the hole in which they were put and taken to a place called ‘The Point of No Return’. This process involved the crossing of slaves through the ocean that links the Badagry port to this point. When the slaves have been crossed over, they would walk about 20miles to the point.

In between, they would each approach a coven where they would drink from a well that contained a silver shiny liquid claimed to be water and recite a verse. This initiation would wipe out there memory so as to avoid foreknowledge of their whereabouts. The curator further explained that these slaves immediately loose their memory and do not regain it until they reach their final destination. Only the strong ones make it to the New World and maybe luckily, back.

(x)

By 1680, you see the beginning of the changes. What had happened - and this is a complicated story - was that colonial leaders had to deal with Bacon and that rebellion. The British sent a fleet of three ships and by the time they got to Virginia, there were 8,000 poor men rebelling who had burned down Jamestown - blacks, whites, mulattos. And it was quite clear that this kind of unity and solidarity among the poor was dangerous.

After that, they began to pass laws, very gradually. They passed laws that gave Europeans privileges while they increasingly enslaved Africans. They passed a number of laws that prevented blacks, Indians, and mulattos from owning firearms, for example. Everybody had firearms. Everybody in Virginia still has firearms!

Then there was another change: There was a decline in the number of European servants coming to the New World. At the same time, there was an increase in the ships bringing Africans to the New World. By the 1690s or so, the English themselves had outfitted their ships to bring Africans back from the continent, and this is the first time that they had had direct connections.

But the Africans also had something else. They had skills which neither the Indians nor the Irish had. The Africans brought here were farmers. They knew how to farm semi-tropical crops. They knew how to build houses. They were brick makers, for example. They were carpenters and calabash carvers and rope makers and leather workers. They were metal workers. They were people who knew how to smelt ore and get iron out of it. They had so many skills that we don’t often recognize. But the colony leaders certainly recognized that. And they certainly gave high value to those slaves who had those skills.

After 1690 things begin to change. All of the Europeans become identified as “white.” And Africans take on a different kind of identity. They are not only heathens, but they are people who are perceived as vulnerable to being enslaved. And that’s a major point. Africans were vulnerable because it became part of the consciousness that they had no rights as Englishmen. Even the poorest Englishman knew that he had some rights. But once a planter owns a few Africans, the idea that the Africans had no rights that they had to recognize became very clear. And that’s why they were vulnerable to being enslaved, and kept in slavery. The laws that were passed after that all tended to diminish the rights of African people. But between 1690 and 1735, even those Africans who had been free and who had been there for many generations, had their rights taken away from them.

Once you magnify the difference between the slaves and the free, then it was possible to create a society in which the slaves were little better than animals. They were thought of as animals. And the more you think of slaves as animals, the more you justify keeping them as slaves.

After a while, slavery became identified with Africans. Blackness and slavery went together in the popular mind. And this is why we can say that race is a product of the popular mind, because it was this consciousness that blackness and slavery were bound together, that gave people the idea that Africans were a different kind of people.

Think of the early 17th century planter who wrote to the trustees of his company and he said, “Please don’t send us any more Irishmen. Send us some Africans, because the Africans are civilized and the Irish are not.” But 100 years later, the Africans become increasingly brutalized. They become increasingly homogenized into a category called “savages.” And all the attributes of savagery which the English had once given to the Irish, now they are giving to the Africans.

Why were Africans the slaves of choice?

Audrey Smedley is a professor of anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is author of Race in North America: Origins of a Worldview.

(via howtobeterrell)

(via nocturnalphantasmagoria)

Full title: 'Negroland and Guinea with the European Settlements, Explaining what belongs to England, Holland, Denmark, etc'.

By H. Moll Geographer (Printed and sold by T. Bowles next ye Chapter House in St. Pauls Church yard, & I. Bowles at ye Black Horse in Cornhill, 1729, orig. published in 1727).

The Slave Coast is the name of the coastal areas of present Togo, Benin (formerly Dahomey) and western Nigeria, a fertile region of coastal Western Africa along the Bight of Benin.

In pre-colonial times it was one of the most densely populated parts of the African continent. It became one of the most important export centers for the Atlantic slave trade from the early 16th century to the 19th century.

Other West African regions historically known by their prime colonial export are Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana), Ivory Coast (modern-day Côte d’Ivoire), and Pepper Coast (or Grain Coast, in modern-day Liberia).

According to most research, the beginnings of the slave trade in this area are not well documented. It is difficult to track the development of trade in this area and its integration into the Atlantic slave trades before about 1670, when European sources begin to document this interaction.

The slave trade became so extensive in the 18th and 19th centuries that an “Atlantic community” was formed.

The slave trade was facilitated on the European end by the Portuguese (mostly by Portuguese Empire’s Brazilians), the Dutch, the French and the British. Slaves went to the New World, mostly to Brazil and the Caribbean. Ports that exported these slaves from Africa include Ouidah, Lagos, Aného (Little Popo), Grand-Popo, Agoué, Jakin, Porto-Novo, and Badagry.

These ports traded in slaves that were supplied by African communities, tribes and kingdoms, including the Alladah and Ouidah, which were later taken over by the Dahomey kingdom.

Researchers estimate that between 2 and 3 million slaves were exported out of this region and were traded for goods like alcohol and tobacco from the Americas and textiles from Europe.

This complex exchange fostered political and cultural as well as commercial connections between these three regions. Religions, architectural styles, languages, knowledge, and other new goods were mingled at this time. Slaves as well as free men used the exchange routes to travel to new places which aided in hybridizing European and African cultures.

Intermarriage has been documented in ports like Ouidah where Europeans were permanently stationed. Communication was quite extensive between all three areas of trade, to the point where even individual slaves could be tracked.

After slavery had been abolished by European countries, the slave trade continued for a time with independent traders (instead of government agents). Cultural integration had become so extensive that the defining characteristics of each culture were increasingly broadened.

In the case of Brazilian culture—which had differentiated itself from Portuguese culture through its combination of African, Portuguese and New World traditions—Brazilian-style dress, cuisine and speaking Portuguese had become the main requirements for Brazilian identity, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or geographic location.

africanlens:

Description of the slave ship Brookes, 1788 – infodesign history in Eye 82 (via Eye Magazine | Blog | Charts change minds)

Excerpt from Eye Magazine: 

Eighteenth-century abolitionists used every propaganda tool in the book, but one of their most widely circulated visual aids was an innovative diagram of the Liverpool slave ship Brookes, first published in 1788, writes Anne-Marie Conway in Eye 82.

FILM: Amistad (full movie)

Amistad is a 1997 historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg based on the true story of an uprising in 1839 by newly captured African slaves that took place aboard the ship La Amistad off the coast of Cuba, the subsequent voyage to the Northeastern United States, and the legal battle that followed their capture by a United States revenue cutter.

It shows how, even though the case was won at the federal district court level, it was appealed by President Martin Van Buren to the Supreme Court, and how former President John Quincy Adams took part in the proceedings.

(Full Spanish-language version)

collective-history:

House of Slaves, Senegal

The House of Slaves on Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal now stands as a memorial to the Atlantic Slave Trade. For many years, it housed slaves before they were loaded onto ships bound for the Americas. (Photo Credit: CORBIS SYGMA)

(via collectivehistory-deactivated20)