Most African-Americans continue to wonder where exactly did their ancestors come from? Meaning from what country or tribe in Africa did their people come from before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade?
With the advent of technology as well as much scholarship that has purposely been hidden, we now know where stolen Africans sold into slavery to Europeans came from.
According to historians (Black and White) 12.5 million Africans were stolen from West Africa and sold into slavery in the Americas as well as the Caribbean from 1502 to 1867.
It's important to note 15% of the 12.5 West Africans who were stolen and sold into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade died in the "Middle Passage". Around 11.2 million West Africans got off slave ships into the so called "New World".
Where did these enslaved West Africans go?
- Over 5 million enslaved West Africans were shipped to South America.
- Around 4.5. million enslaved West Africans were shipped to the Caribbean.
- Only 488,000 enslaved West Africans were shipped to British North America and the United States of America (1619-1860). The last slave ship from West Africa to the United States of America was called the Clotilda, it brought 110-160 enslaved West Africans to the United States of America.
By 1860, there were 3.9 million enslaved African-Americans. By 1860, there were also over 480,000 free African-Americans, many living in the South.
But where did these stolen, enslaved Africans brought to the Americas as well as the Caribbean come from? They all came from West Africa (Oyo Kingdom, Kingdom of Mutapa, Songhai Kingdom, Ghana Kingdom, Kanem Kingdom, Kongo Kingdom, Matamba Kingdom, Ndongo Kingdom, Dahomey Kingdom, Ashanti Kingdom. Hausa People, Wolof People, Igbo People, Yoruba People, Fulani People).
The next question becomes what was the religion of the West Africans who were stolen and enslaved? It is a fact that millions of enslaved West Africans who were stolen from Africa and sold into slavery into North America, South America and the Caribbean were Muslims.
Remember, only 488,000 enslaved West Africans were shipped to British North America and the United States of America during the entire Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade period, which means a very large number of them were indeed Muslims.
This article focuses on African-Americans and where they came from. Again, the answer is West Africa. What was their ancestors religion? It was a mixture of indigenous beliefs and Islam. They were not Christians by any stretch of the imagination.
In fact, the white-Christian slaveowners knew very well that their enslaved West African subjects could read and write Arabic. There's documented proof of this. This is why it was so important for white-Christian slaveowners in British North America and the United States of America, to beat Islam and every other West African indigenous ritual and religion out of the enslaved West Africans.
The next question is why were the West Africans, Muslim? It's very simple, Islam came into Africa peacefully. Islam brought scholarship to West Africa just as it did in Europe (Moors in Spain). Castilian Spanish has over 8,000 Arabic words.
This is why Mansa Musa, a Black West African King and the richest man in history was a Muslim, because of the education associated with Arabic culture, writing, words and scholarship as revealed by the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him.
The kingdom of Mansa Musa included modern day Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso. Keep in mind Arabic in West Africa was the tongue of the learned, scholarly and intelligent...just as Latin became the tongue of scholarship in Europe.
The University of Sankore often called the University of Timbuktu within the Mali kingdom was the greatest university in the world at the time. It was a university with several independent schools. Students chose their instructors and majors.
The University of Timbuktu had fields of study such as: Medicine, Surgery, Law, Anatomy, Botany, Evolution, Physiology, Zoology, Astronomy, Anthropology, Linguistics, History, Art, Physics, Mathematics to name a few!
The Sankore Mosque was founded in 989 AD in the country today known as Mali. It became known as the University of Timbuktu, an Islamic school that was inclusive of all things relating to higher education. The University of Timbuktu was located in West Africa.
King Mansa Musa is credited for the expansion of the University of Sankore at Timbuktu. King Mansa Musa's wealth was estimated to be well over 400 billion dollars. With that type of money one can only imagine the endowment of the University Sankore at Timbuktu.
Enslaved West Africans had a history before slavery. They had a culture before slavery. They were scholarly and highly intelligent. All of which destroys the false idea of the White man's claims of taming and civilizing enslaved West Africans in British North America, and later the United States of America.
Enslaved West Africans fought in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). These are their names: Bampett Muhamed, Yusuf Ben Ali, Joseph Saba, and Peter Salem. Their names are on the American Revolution Military Muster Rolls. These West African Muslim men fought along side the Colonists against the British!
Can you imagine being an intelligent person with a family and then stolen and sold into slavery?! This is what happened to the West Africans who were sold into slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean.
In fact there's much evidence of enslaved West Africans in South America and the Caribbean who wrote Arabic manuscripts about their home in Africa as well as their indigenous religion, and Islam.
Ayuba Suleima Daillo: (1701 - 1773). Ayuba was from a family of Muslim religious scholars. He was born in Bundu, Senegal (West Africa). He was captured by African slave-traders of a different tribe, his head and beard was shaved off to make him appear as a war criminal, of which he wasn't. He was then sold into slavery to Captain Steven Pike, to America. Ayuba wrote "There is no good in the country of the Christians for a Muslim".
Yarrow Mamout: Was kidnapped from West Africa (Guinea) at age 16 in 1752. At the time he was kidnapped he was a Muslim and could write and speak in Arabic. He was kept a slave by Samuel Beall in Georgetown. Yarrow Mamout was known as a Stonemason, Brick Maker and Jack Of All Trades while a slave in the United States of America. He was a slave for 44 years. He gained his freedom at 60 years old. He eventually became a property owner, financier and owned stock in the Columbia Bank of Georgetown.
Belali Mohammad: Born around 1770 in what is now Guinea. He was a well educated Muslim. He was stolen from West Africa and shipped to the Caribbean and then to Sapelo Island, Georgia in 1802.
Salih Bilali: Born around 1770 in the Kingdom of Massina. He was 12 years old when he was stolen from West Africa and sold into slavery to the Bahamas and later to the Couper family in Georgia.
Lemine Kebe: (Good friend of Omar Ibn Said) was a free West African Muslim living in New York around the 1830's. He was born around 1770. He to was stolen from West Africa (Futa Toro). He returned back to Africa (Senegal).
Omar Ibn Said: 1770 - 1864. Born in West Africa, Senegal. Omar was of the Fula ethnic group which extends from Senegal to Nigeria. He was stolen in 1807 from West Africa and shipped to the United States of America. Omar Ibn Said was a Muslim scholar who could write and speak Arabic. Omar Ibn Said studied Islam for over 25 years in his country in West Africa. He was extremely intelligent, and his family was wealthy. He was 37 years old when he was stolen from his country. In his manuscripts he speaks of tribal wars that led to him being captured and sold into slavery in the United States of America to a man named Johnson in Charleston, South Carolina. Omar spoke of his slaveowner "as a weak, Christian infidel", because of how cruel his slaveowner treated him. Omar Ibn Said died enslaved. He had no children or wife.
The above enslaved West African Muslim men are but a snippet into the life of where the ancestors of African-Americans came from. The ancestors of the present day African-Americans were indigenous in their customs and Islamic in their intellect.
There is no known historical fact of the West African ancestors of African-Americans being Christian when they were stolen and sold into slavery in British North America and/or the United States of America.
The West African ancestors of the modern day African-Americans spoke their indigenous tongues as well as Arabic. They were also proficiently learned in the Quran, the Hadith, Shari'ah Law, and Tafsir (the science of explanation of the Quran) before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as well as after, until it died out as each generation was taught Christianity and English.
This is probably why men like George Washington Carver had an innate knowledge of nature and science?
Many have asked did the West African ancestors of the African-Americans convert to Christianity? The answer is yes and no. Some did outwardly, but inwardly they remained Muslims. In other words they were pseudo-Christian converts called (Taqiyah).
Does this mean African-Americans should convert to Islam? To each his/her own. But it does mean African-Americans had and have a rich history besides slavery. It means the ancestors of the African-Americans were highly intelligent, pious and spiritual.
The term Africo-American was documented in 1788. The term Black American was documented in 1818. The term Afro-American has been documented as early as 1831. The term African American was first used and documented in 1782, only 6 years after the founding of the United States of America by an African American minister. Click below photo!
I'm proud to be an African-American with West African roots. According to Ancestry DNA, I also have some Mali blood flowing in my veins, which is probably why as a Christian minister I seek truth no matter how harsh it might be. It is also why as a Christian minister I do not view Christ as a blue-eyed, blonde hair white man.
This research dispels all myths about our West African ancestors being illiterate, with no history and culture when in fact we had cultural, spiritual, and educational systems far advanced than Europe. This research also dispels the lies about enslaved West Africans being sold into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade because they were criminals. Those are lies from past as well as present-day Europeans and Africans.
Let us not forget about the Muslim King Abdel Kader Kane of the Futa Toro region in northern Senegal (West Africa). He fought against African tribes, the French and British during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. He was a scholar who studied at the Islamic school of higher learning called Pir located in Senegambia. The school was founded by a West African prince and scholar named Khaly Amar Fall (1555-1638). King Abdel Kader Kane's children were stolen and sold into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
It is my desire this article will inspire you research the dates, names and places listed. This article is but a conversation starter into the true history of the West African ancestors of African-Americans from a scholarly perspective. I pray the debate will begin, I'm here for all of it. As-salamu alaykum.
Written By: Minister Jim Allen
Research Sources: National Museum of African American History and Culture. Wisconsin Muslim Journal. Library of Congress. Slave Voyages.