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Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter

African Proverb

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will

– Frederick Douglass

The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave

– Malcolm X

Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.

– Ancient Egypt

Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right.

– Dr. Martin L. King, Jr

What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?

– Owen 'Alik Shahadah

We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.

– Chester Higgins Jr.

Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.

– Harriet Tubman

If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.

African Proverb

If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree.

– ' Alik Shahadah

If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it

Zulu Proverb



African Resistance to Oppression

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In overthrowing me, you have done no more than cut down the trunk of the tree of the black liberty in St-Domingue-it will spring back form the roots, for they are numerous and deep Holocaust
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Holocaust Toussaint Louverture


Resistance, revolt, and eventual social transformation is born out of an oppressed peoples awareness of themselves and the knowledge that their `collective soul'

is under attack by their oppressors. To the degree that this cultural cohesiveness persist determines the degree to which the oppressed group will go in order to assure its survival. - Muhammad Shareef

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African Kings African Kings African Kings

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I am for violence if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the American Black man's problem just to avoid violence Holocaust
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Holocaust Malcolm X


“Of course the image is always given that the Africans themselves acquiesce to the process of slavery. But you’ll find that in West Africa there was a polity or a political entity that existed that guaranteed security right across West Africa and that was the Songhay Empire. We saw the emergence of Nasir Al Din in the 16th Century. We saw Malik Sy in the 16th Century as well, and men like Abdul Qadeer and Cherno Sulayman Kaba, these men who waged resistance in what is known as Futa Toro and Futa Jalon...

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"And then you saw the emergence also of men like Muhammad Al-Amin and Momadou Toure. Of course we had Nzinga and the Southern areas of Africa as well that was fighting its resistance against European invasion. All the way up until the 17th Century men like Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodiod and Umar Futi as well as Ahmed Lobo. And then we had the courageous wars, which took place in 1884 under the armies of Muhammad Ahmed, Ibn Abdullahi of the Sudan as well as Muhammad Abdullahi al Hassan of Somalia. And then we had in 1903 finally, the wars that took place between the Sokoto Empire. So the Africans did not acquiesce colonialism, nor did they acquiesce towards slavery, they fought at every point and in fact when the slaves were landing in the Western hemisphere in Bahia Brazil you saw the emergence of jihad movements. You saw the emergence of men like Muhammad Sambo who led a two-month jihad in the Louisiana territories in North America. Men like Nat Turner and other men who refused to submit to slavery. The Haitian Revolution as well. Men like Macantow. So The Africans never acquiesce to slavery in fact we can say this year that the whole concept of freedom that the American thirteen colonies had, they got that concept of freedom and liberty from the African resistance movement that took place in the Western Hemisphere.” 

Holocaust Muhammad Shareef

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If any one or more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good requires that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which was intended for them to occupy. They have only to be kept in that state, and treated like children to prevent and cure them from running away Holocaust
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Holocaust Samuel A. Cartwright

Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused African slaves to flee captivity. So ingrained was the notion of Africans only purpose being in the capacity as slaves, it was seen as unnatural and a sickness that would cause them to want to escape slavery. And today we must ask what has really changed? Africans in America seeking to rename their children in the African traditions, or seek African ways of life, African religions, or African culture, are seen as "confused."


The Abyssinia nation defend her sovereignty against the aggression of European attempts to colonize the only African nation to defends its sovereignty.

In 1896, Ethiopia fought a desperate battle against a stronger European nation attempting to invade, conquer, and colonize the smaller nation and more importantly, be able to exploit its natural resources. After a long siege in the mountains betweens Ethiopia and the bordering nation of Eritrea, a series of brutal battles were fought between the army of King Menelik II of Ethiopia and the Italian Army under the command of the Italian governor of Eritrea, General Oreste Baratieri.

The mistrust between the two nations had begun 7 years before during the signing of the Treaty of Wichale (or Uccialli) agreed to in principle in May of 1889. Menelik II agreed to provide to Italy land in the Tigray province in exchange for support in the form of weapons the Italians had been supplying him for some time. The Italians wanted more.

There were two versions of the treaty to be signed, one in Italian, and one written in Amharic. Unbeknownst to the conquering King was the fact that the version in Italian had been altered by the translators to give Rome more power over Menelik II and his kingdom of Ethiopia.

The Italians believed they had tricked Menelik II into giving his allegiance to Rome in the treaty. Mistakenly, they believed him to be unsophisticated in the way the Europeans believed themselves to be.

To the Italians surprise, the treaty was rejected despite their attempt to influence the king with 2 million round of ammunition. He would have none of it and denounced them as liars who had attempted to cheat himself and Ethiopia. When bribery failed Italy did what so many nations have tried throughout history. They attempted to set up Ras Mangasha of Tigray as rival by promising to support him with money and weapons, and hoped he would overthrow Menelik II who had denounced Italy. When that failed, the Italians turned to Baratieri, who had shown some promise in his handling of government affairs in Eritrea.

Baratieri was no stranger to battle and devised a good strategy to lure the Ethiopians into an ambush. There were three main problems with his strategy.

First, he had drastically underestimated the strength and will of the army facing him. Although aware he was outnumbered, the Governor of Eritrea believed the Ethiopians to be undisciplined and unskilled at the art of war negating the advantage in numbers. Certain he would have an advantage over the ‘savages’, he dug in his 20,000 troops and 56 guns at Adawa awaiting the King and his men.

In the meantime, Menelik II had trapped a thousand or so of the Italian army and besieged them. He agreed to allow them safe passage if Italy would reopen negotiations with him concerning a peace treaty. The Italian government refused and in fact did the opposite, authorizing more dollars to pursue the war in Ethiopia. Their Nations’ pride had been hurt by the African King and they sought to restore their ego and influence.

The second error Baratieri made was the assumption he could lure the Ethiopians out into an ambush. He did not think they had the tactics or knowledge of battle he possessed as an important leader in a civilized European nation. After a 3 month standoff his troops were out of basic supplies and he had to move forward or retreat. After a message came from higher up in the government calling him out as ineffective and unsure, he was pushed ahead to attack.

Baratieri’s third mistake of not understanding how poor his battle intelligence was became the most costly of his errors. The strategy he employed was to outflank the Ethiopian army under the cover of darkness and move in on them from the mountains above their camp. While Sun Tzu would have approved, the Italian commander did not account for the extremely harsh terrain nor the lack of direction and difficulty in communicating with his men would have out in the wild country.

After setting out confident in their battle strategy, the officers in charge of implementing the attack learned how poor the rough sketches they had were. It was dark and cold in a high mountain pass in February and it was doomed. Divisions of Italian soldiers became confused, lost, and disorganized. Through the confusion a two mile gap in their battle line was opened and the Ethiopians rushed in cutting the Italian attack in two. Baratieri had failed to claim the high ground and Menelik IIhastily moved his artillery in above the attacking soldiers. Able to lob shells down upon the invaders, the Ethiopians raced to seize the advantage but the Italians held their ground and at mid morning it looked as if they may be able to win in spite of all the difficulty they had encountered.

Considering retreat, Menelik II was persuaded by his advisors to commit to the battle an additional 25,000 soldiers he had been holding in reserve. Those additional troops proved to be the difference in the outcome of the ferocious melee. Having fought hundreds of battles to protect their homeland, Menelik’s warriors attacked with a ferocity the Italians couldn’t have imagined. Taking hardly any prisoners, the victors of Battle of Adwa killed 289 Italian officers, 2,918 European soldiers and about 2,000 askari. A further 954 European troops were missing, while 470 Italians and 958 askari were wounded. Some 700 Italians and 1,800 askari fell into the hands of the Ethiopian troops.

With the victory at the Battle of Adwa in hand and the Italian colonial army destroyed, Eritrea was King Menelik’s for the taking but no order to occupy was given. It seems that Menelik II was wiser than the Europeans had given him credit for. Realizing they would bring all their force to bear on his country if he attacked, he instead sought to restore the peace that had been broken by the Italians and their treaty manipulation seven years before. In signing the treaty, Menelik II again proved his adeptness at politics as he promised each nation something for what they gave and made sure each would benefit his country and not a rival nation.




Adwa timeline


Sahle Maryam (Menelik II) is born on 19 August in Ankober


Cassa proclaims himself emperor of Ethiopia, taking the name Tewodros II. Tewodros invades Shoa. Sahle Maryam (Menelik) is captured and taken to Magdala, were he remains for 10 years.


The northern Italian kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, in alliance with France, defeats Austria militarily; following victories against Austria, Piedmont-Sardinia annexes Parma, Modena, Tuscany, and much of the Papal States.


A young Oreste Baratieri joins Giuseppe Garibaldi in his invasion of Sicily; the Kingdom of Italy is created following Garibaldi’s victories.


The British Foreign Office receives a letter from Tewodros intended for Queen Victoria; it goes unanswered. Tewodros takes offense. In retaliation, Tewodros imprisons Henry Stern, missionary to the Falasha and a British subject. Over time, Tewodros takes other Europeans hostage.


July 1 - Menelik slips away from Tewodros’ camp at Magdala under cover of darkness; claims title of king of Shoa


April 13 – negotiations for the release of the European hostages break down


Robert Napier undertakes military mission against Tewodros to rescue hostages


Tewodros defeated at Magdala by Napier's expeditionary force; Tewodros commits suicide


Suez Canal opens; Rubattino Shipping Company [later Navigazione Generale Italiana] buys Red Sea port of Assab


June 25 – Monsignor Massaia meets with Italian King Victor Emmanuel II and describes Shoa as a “true terrestrial paradise” (“vero Paradiso terrestre”)

July 18 – Tekle Giyorgis of Wag-Lasta claims throne vacated by Tewodros


January - Kassa Mircha of Tigray defeats army of Tekle Giyorgis; he claims imperial Ethiopian throne under the name Yohannes IV


Egypt begins to move against Ethiopia; Egyptian forces occupy Keren


Egypt invades Ethiopia from the north, using veteran officers from American Civil War, also Danes, Germans, Austrians.  Egyptian forces are eventually defeated by soldiers of Yohannes. There are rumors that Menelik was in alliance with Egypt.

October 11 – Egypt takes Harar


Marchese Orazio Antinori leads Rome Geographic Society expedition to Ethiopia

March 7 – Yohannes defeats Egyptian forces at Gura; Egyptian ambition to conquer Ethiopia thwarted


Geographic Society expedition stalls; Sebastiano Martini is sent back to Rome to purchase arms before Menelik will allow expedition to continue.


Yohannes marches against Menelik. Menelik capitulates.


Alfred Ilg arrives in Ankober; becomes adviser to Menelik


Club Africano founded in Naples; renamed Società Africana d’Italia in June of 1882

Pietro Antonelli arrives as private traveler in company of Pietro Martini; following numerous audiences with Menelik, Antonelli offers arms in exchange for commercial favors.  Contract signed on 27 March 1881 – Menelik to send caravans to Italian-controlled port of Assab in exchange for 2000 rifles.

Emperor Yohannes issues a proclamation ordering all the Muslims in Ethiopia to be baptized or to leave the country

Arthur Rimbaud arrives in Aden; he is engaged as agent of Mazeran, Viannay, Bardey et Cie commercial house; arrives in commerical hub of Harar in December


Mohamet Acmet reveals to his followers that he had spoken with Mohammed, he calls himself the Mahdi


Italy joins Germany and Austria in the Triple Alliance


Mahdi’s forces defeat Egyptian army; control western Sudan

April 29 - marriage of Menelik and Taytu Betul at Ankober

May 21 - treaty of Friendship and of Commerce signed at Ankober between Menelik, king of Shoa and the representative of the king of Italy


February 5 – Italian forces land at Massawa; push toward the Ginda Pass


Addis Ababa founded as Menelik’s capital


Menelik’s forces take Harar

January 25 - Ethiopian forces under command of Alula attack Italian fortified position at Sahati, hundreds of his men fall.

January 26 – Alula's forces intercept 500 Italian soldiers at Dogali, massacre ensues; Yohannes assembles massive army to move against Italians


1888-1889 First Italo-Ethiopian War

January 23 – Mahdists enter Gondar “45 churches set on fire.” Yohannes turns his attention from Italians to the Mahdi


Cattle from India unloaded at Massawa carry rinderpest virus, infecting bovines throughout East Africa; great loss of animals for plow and slaughter; famine besets Ethiopia

January 22 – count Antonelli arrives at Addis with letters, gifts, and 4700 Remington rifles

March 9 – Yohannes killed in battle against Mahdists at Metemma; his son Mangasha claims imperial throne; Menelik, on hearing news, declares himself emperor

May 2 – Treaty of Wichale signed; Menelik gets recognition, arms, and Italian protection of Ethiopians abroad; Italians get recognition of Italian occupation of Eritrea and, they believe, protectorate relationship with Ethiopia

late July - Ethiopian delegation, led by Makonnen, departs for Italy aboard the Colombo

August – Italian occupation of Asmara

August 21 - Ethiopian delegation disembarks at Naples

August 28 – Ethiopian delegation reaches Rome; they have audience with King Umberto, then tour several cities; they return to Rome on 19 September

October 1 – Makonen and Francesco Crispi sign Additional Convention to Wichale Treaty at Naples; Ethiopian delegation departs shortly thereafter

November 3 - Menelik crowned emperor of Ethiopia; Menelik sends letters announcing coronation to European heads of state. Britain and Germany respond that they should be informed through Italy, as per the Wichale agreement


January 1 – Italian colony of Eritrea formalized with capital at Asmara;

January 26 – Italians briefly occupy Adwa, capital of Tigray

Late February – a weakened Mangasha submits and recognizes authority of Menelik; Menelik ratifies Additional Convention to Wichale Treaty, recognizing significant Italian territorial expansion


February 28 – Oreste Baratieri named governor of Eritrea


March - Menelik denounces treaty of Wichale

November 10 - ten Italian families settle on land seized by Eritrea; Italian settlement of Eritrea begins


June 2 – Mangasha and Alula enter Addis, reconcile with Menelik

July 28 – Rosalia Oldani - Eritrea’s first European settler infant - is born

December 16 – Revolt of Bahta Hagos at Saganeiti marks beginning of conflict that will culminate in battle of Adwa

December 19 - Troops commanded by Pietro Toselli trap Bahta Hagos at Halay; death of Bahta Hagos

December 20 – Mangasha mobilizes troops on pretext that he is arming against Dervishes

December 28 – In reaction to Mangasha’s build-up, Baratieri enters northern Ethiopia in preemptive strike; occupies Adwa, then evacuates on 2 January 1895 in pursuit of Mangasha’s forces


January 12-15 – Italian forces locate Mangasha, defeat his forces at Coatit and Senafé; Mangasha retreats in disorder

January 18 – Baratieri’s forces pursue Mangasha southward into Ethiopia, push into Tigray on pretext of defense of Eritrea

March 3 – Italians continue southward push, occupy Adigrat

March 28 – Italians occupy Mekele; thousands of square miles of territory occupied since December

April 1 – Italians occupy Adwa (third occupation); evacuate in December

Mid-April – Baratieri sends lengthy report to Rome laying out plan for the colonization of Tigray; his request for substantial new funding is denied

May 7 – Crispi government denies Baratieri’s request for a replacement; he is called to Rome

July 27 – in Rome, Baratieri confers with Crispi and his cabinet

September 15 – Baratieri leaves Italy for Eritrea

September 17 – Menelik calls for national mobilization

October 9 – Italian forces pursue Mangasha’s army as far as Amba Alage and Lake Ashenge, a mere 250 miles from Addis Ababa

December 7 – Italian advanced post at Amba Alage under Major Pietro Toselli is destroyed by Menelik’s advance guard under Makonnen

December 8 – Major Giuseppe Galliano assigned to defense of Mekele

December 10 – Makonnen, leading the advance guard of Menelik's army, arrives at Mekele, begins negotiations with Galliano for surrender and evacuation; Galliano refuses to surrender


January 6 – Menelik’s main force arrives at Mekele; siege begins

January 20 – evacuation of Mekele negotiated

February 3 – Menelik’s forces move northwest from Mekele, bypassing Italian forces at Adigrat; they settle near Gundapta; Baratieri leads force from Adigrat westward in pursuit; they settle near Entisho

February 5 – half-hearted peace negotiations break down; military stalemate ensues

February 13 - Italian allies Hagos Tafari and Ras Sebhat defect to Menelik, taking their forces with them; Ethiopian popular resistance to Italian occupation builds, imperiling Italian supply lines

February 22 – impatient Italian political leadership secretly names Antonio Baldissera to replace Baratieri; he leaves for Africa

February 22 – Menelik shifts forces westward from Gundapta to Adwa

February 23 – as supply problems deepen, Baratieri orders preparations for strategic retreat into Eritrea

February 25 – Crispi sends searing telegram to Baratieri

February 29 – after consulting brigadier generals the previous day, Baratieri decides on aggressive move forward, in an attempt to force Menelik to attack or to withdraw

March 1 – Battle of Adwa

March 5 – Menelik’s army and nearly 2,000 Italian prisoners leave Adwa for Addis Ababa

Late May / early June – Italian prisoners arrive in Addis

June 5 – Baratieri trial begins in Asmara

June 14 – Baratieri trial ends in acquittal

October 26 – peace treaty between Ethiopia and Italy

November 24 – first group of prisoners begins journey back to Italy


early March – final group of prisoners leaves Addis Ababa


death of Oreste Baratieri


US mission to Ethiopia under Robert P. Skinner, Consul-General at Marseilles


death of Makonnen; Menelik becomes ill; Alfred Ilg leaves Ethiopia to retire in Europe


death of Menelik


death of Alfred Ilg


death of Taytu

Source http://battleofadwa.org/_text/content/timeline.html



Chattel slavery, as it existed, was the worst kind of human bondage. Africans fought against and resisted slavery in their (1470 – 1800) homeland, on the seas, and in America. There was continuous resistance against Europeans during every phase of the slave trade. African leaders and those opposing the European slave trade, organized and assigned large groups to keep watch for slave ships traveling to the East and whose crews were well-known for kidnapping Africans on the coast. For example, King Ansah of Ghana (1470-1486) had the Fante people watch for European ships, and prevented them from coming ashore. Many other African leaders did not permit Europeans in their kingdoms. In Benin, the people had heard of the intentions of the Europeans, so they killed them as soon as they came ashore.

Islam underwent a change in the timeline in West Africa. It started out as the religion of the minority elite (trader and administrator) to become a reaction of popular resistance against arbitrary rule of the reigning aristocracies, combating the negative impact of the Atlantic slave system in general. [Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade (Africa) Hardcover) by Boubacar Barry]

King Maremba agreed to release his African prisoners of war to the Portuguese who wanted the best (1470 – 1800) young African men as a bargaining chip to be sure the King kept his word. The Portuguese promised to train and educate the young men to become priests and later to return them to the Congo. King Meremba let the Portuguese convince him to take the Christian name, Alfonso, as a show of support. When Alfonso asked for the return of a few of his former prisoners, who had been trained to serve as physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, assistants for shipbuilders and carpenters, his requests were denied. After having his requests denied several times, King Alfonso learned that his prisoners of war had been sold as slaves in Portugal. In 1526, King Alfonso wrote to King John III, the former King of Portugal, and asked for his help in ending the slave trade in the Congo. King Alfonso related that the damage was so great that his people and land were being seized daily. King Alfonso ended his letter to King John III with another request for his help because it was the will of the people in the Congo and other kingdoms that there should not be any trading of slaves nor markets for slaves. 

The treachery and greed of the Europeans, hurt the African economy and, therefore, damaged trade relations. African King Nzenga Maremba tried to stop the slave trade in the Congo.

In 1777, King Agadja, a Dahomean monarch, captured an Englishman and his slave raiding party who had entered his kingdom looking for more Africans. The Englishman and his crew were released after they promised to return all the Africans they had captured. King Agadja gave the Englishmen a warning to take to the rulers of England, that if any other slave traders were sent to his Kingdom, or other kingdoms, they would be killed. In 1787, the Senegal King of Almammy, passed a law that made it illegal to take enslaved Africans through his kingdom. To let (1470 – 1800) Europeans know how serious the law was, the king returned the presents French slave traders sent as bribes. Queen Nzingha of Angola fought a successful 30-year war against the slave traders of Portugal until the Portuguese negotiated a treaty with her in 1656. Their treaty remained in effect until she died in 1663.

In the Caribbean and Americas sabotage of machinery and equipment, poisonings, feigning illness, killing livestock, infanticide and full blown organised uprisings were ways in which kidnapped Africans resisted their condition. The kidnapped Africans in St Domingue (today's Haiti) took control of the island in 1791 and defeated the French, British and Spanish armies during a bloody 12 year war. Escaped kidnapped victims form Africa in Jamaica and Surinam established communities in the mountainous regions of their islands and waged guerrilla wars against the authorities. Other insurrections like Tacky's Revolt in Jamaica in 1760, and Fedon's in Grenada in 1795, inspired other kidnapped Africans to rebel, and these revolts were regularly reported in the British press which began to wake the public up to the fact that the kidnapped Africans wanted their freedom.


The most celebrated resistance to Arab enslavement occurred by the Zanj . The Zanj were predominately-enslaved peoples from East Africa. The Zanj were subjected to work in the cruel and humid saltpans of Shatt-al-Arab, near Basra in modern day Iraq. Conscious of their large numbers and oppressive working conditions the Zanj rebelled three times. The largest of these rebellions lasted from 868 (eight hundred and sixty eight) to (883) eight hundred and eighty three, during which time they inflicted defeat after defeat upon the Arab armies sent to suppress the revolt. For some 14 years, they succeeded in achieving remarkable military victories and even building their own capital--Moktara, the Elect City, which at its peak was within 70 miles of Baghdad. Moktara had huge resources that allowed the building of no less than six impregnable towns in which there were arsenals for the manufacture of weapons and battleships.

Their achievements are even more impressive considering that they occurred at the height of the Abbasid Empire. An Empire that presided directly over Iraq, Mesopotamia, and Western Persia, and indirectly over territories from North Africa to Central Asia, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea. After the Zanj were finally crushed the victorious Abbasid general Muwaffaq dismissed all claims of their masters who sought their return. Instead, Muwaffaq recognised their strength and incorporated thousands of Zanj into his own government forces.The effects of this powerful rebellion would echo in the Arab world, dampening all attempts at mass labour enslavement until the 19 th Century when European markets where furnished with spices and coconuts from Arab controlled Zanzibar.

The 9th century African Muslim author Al-Jahiz, wrote a book entitled Risalat mufakharat al-Sudan 'ala al-bidan ("the Superiority of Blacks over Whites"), in which he stated that Africans:

"...have conquered the country of the Arabs as far as Mecca and have governed them. We defeated Dhu Nowas (Jewish King of Yemen) and killed all the Himyarite princes, but you, White people, have never conquered our country. Our people, the Zenghs revolted forty times in the Euphrates, driving the inhabitants from their homes and making Oballah a bath of blood."

And that:

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Blacks are physically stronger than no matter what other people. A single one of them can lift stones of greater weight and carry burdens such as several Whites could not lift nor carry between them. [...] They are brave, strong, and generous as witness their nobility and general lack of wickedness Holocaust
Holocaust Holocaust
Holocaust Al-Jahiz

Arab and Turkish history is littered with furious African uprisings. One other notable battle echoes in Arab history until today and was referred to as “ the battle of the Blacks ” which occurred by loyal Fatimids against Saladin forces in Egypt in 1169.


See Arab Slave trade

Mass Killing of Arabs and Indians after Zanzibar Revolution The legacy of the slavery in Zanzibar produced similar peculiarities to Atlantic slaving communities. And just like in the Atlantic, rebellion and violence continued to impact the viability of the system. The final page on Zanzibar came after Zanzibar was given full independence in December 10, 1963. The first government was formed under Sheikh Shamte but the sultan remained in place.

On January 12, 1964, the conservative government was overthrown in a bloody revolution led by John Okello (A Christian from Uganda) and replaced by a leftist regime under Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume (1905-72). Thousands of mainly Arabs and Indians were massacred in riots, and thousands more fled the island to Oman. Immediately after the revolution, Karume signed a pact with Nyerere uniting Zanzibar and Tanganyika to form The United Republic of Tanzania. Ending 200 years of Arab social-political and economic dominance in Zanzibar. The Zanzibar civil service, for example, became an almost entirely African organisation, and land was redistributed from Arabs to Africans.( George Triplett) The revolutionary government also instituted social reforms such as free healthcare and opening up the education system to African students who pre-revolution occupied only only 12% of secondary school. The day is commemorated on the island each year with anniversary celebrations and a public holiday.

The government following the revolution of Zanzibar of 1964 was pro- Africans and anti-Arab/Indian. The centuries of oppression had finally tipped over. All claims of the Shirazis (A privileged Swahili sub-group with claims of Persian ancestry) were dismissed unless one could still claim to be a Shirazi, he/she had to accept being an African first and Shirazi second. The first president, Abeid Amani Karume proudly presented himself as an African. He went on to institute forced marriages between Arabic and Indian women. A reverse of the pattern of miscegenation which had been a bedfellow of the Arab slave trade.

Mass Killing of Arabs and Indians after Zanzibar Revolution The legacy of the slavery in Zanzibar produced similar peculiarities to Atlantic slaving communities. And just like in the Atlantic, rebellion and violence continued to impact the viability of the system. The final page on Zanzibar came after Zanzibar was given full independence in December 10, 1963. The first government was formed under Sheikh Shamte but the sultan remained in place.

On January 12, 1964, the conservative government was overthrown in a bloody revolution led by John Okello (A Christian from Uganda) and replaced by a leftist regime under Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume (1905-72). Immediately after the revolution, Karume signed a pact with Nyerere uniting Zanzibar and Tanganyika to form The United Republic of Tanzania. Ending 200 years of Arab social-political and economic dominance in Zanzibar. The day is commemorated on the island each year with anniversary celebrations and a public holiday.

The government following the revolution of Zanzibar of 1964 was pro- Africans and anti-Arab/Indian. The centuries of oppression had finally tipped over. All claims of the Shirazis (A privileged Swahili sub-group with claims of Persian ancestry) were dismissed unless one could still claim to be a Shirazi, he/she had to accept being an African first and Shirazi second. The first president, Abeid Amani Karume proudly presented himself as an African. He went on to institute forced marriages between Arabic and Indian women. A reverse of the pattern of miscegenation which had been a bedfellow of the Arab slave trade.

For Bahia Brazil focus click here

San Miguel de Gualdape

According to Aptheker, and others, the first documented enslaved African rebellion in the Western Hemisphere, was at the Spanish settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape where enslaved Africans rebelled against their conditions in the fall of 1526. The prime source of this information is ~The Spanish Settlements Within the Present Limits of the United States, 1513-1561~ by Woodbury Lowery. Noted historian Peter Wood also mentions this incident (in ~Black Majority~).

The first documented enslave African rebellion in Mexico, occurred in 1537; this was followed by the establishment of various runaway enslave African's settlements called "palenques.".
In Brasil, in a sugar cane region near the Atlantic ocean known as Pernambuco, a group of 40 enslave Africans rebelled against their master. They killed all the white employees and burned the houses and plantation. They headed to a very hostile area in the mountains, known as Palmares, because of its abundance of palm trees. In this place an African community was born which lasted for over 100 years. It was divided into eleven fortified sites. There, a population estimated to be about 20 000 free Africans created a new religion and a common language to bring together at least six different African cultures. It is argued that they organized the first socialist society in world. They also mobilized an army that could take over Pernambuco, if they wanted to. They defeated seven attacks from Brazilian military forces and from a Dutch army that had invaded and occupied that region for some years. They ignored a proposal of peace and freedon for all, from the king of Portugal. Zumbi of Palmares, today a hero for Brazilian Africans, was the name of an young acolyte who grew up and became the greatest leader of this African community. Also in this community the first forms of Capoeira which is a deadly martial art, were developed.

Contribution made by Italo Ramos iramos@cy.com.br

In Mexico, Spaniards negotiated the establishment of a free black community with Yagna, a runaway rebel enslave African. Today, that community in Veracruz bears its founder's name.
In Brazil, many enslave Africans with assistance from Palmares an escape enslave African community in the mountains, left the plantations and fought the Portuguese and Dutch Armies. This fighting continued up until 1644. It is important to point out that the Dutch and Portuguese Armies were formed by very experienced and well-armed soldiers. But the Africans developed a system of fighting called "jungle war" or ambush. Capoeira which is a deadly martial art, was the key element in the unexpected attacks. With fast and tricky movements the African caused considerable damage to the white men. Capoeira became their weapon, their symbol of freedom.
St. Kitts Nevis
On the island St. Kitts, in November 1639, more than sixty enslaved Africans from the Capisterre region, angered by the brutal treatment meted out to them by their owners, left their plantations and found refuge on the slopes of Mount Misery. They took with them their women and children. The runaways built a formidable camp upon the mountainside. It was protected by a precipice on one side and could only be approached by a narrow pass. From this position they carried out raids on the plantations. To put an end to their activities, Governor De Poincy raised a company of five hundred armed men. The stronghold was stormed by the soldiers and the uprising was crushed without much difficulty as the runaways were poorly armed and too few in number to offer much resistance. Most of them were killed in skirmishes. Some of the runaways were burnt alive, while the rest were captured, quartered, and their limbs exposed on stakes to serve as a warning to those who might be tempted to rebel.

However, one of their leaders, a gigantic man, escaped and continued to elude capture for three years and was able to carry on a one-man reign of terror from the forests of Mount Misery. He served as a rallying point for other discontented enslaved Africans and was kept well informed of what was going on in the settlements. However, he continued to live apart from his fellow runaways, fearing that one of them might betray him in order to gain favour with the planters. His success in evading capture inspired many to think that he was aided by supernatural powers.

Realising the danger that this situation caused to the French settlement on the island, De Poincy sent some half a dozen soldiers to track him down and capture him. The mission was kept secret to prevent the slaves from giving him advance notice of what was to come. The soldiers pursued him and once they had him in their sights they blazed away at him. None of their muskets would go off and the infuriated African sword in hand, charged them. The men fled and he was able to gain a musket and a hat. Again the rumor spread that the runaway possessed magical powers that protected him from fire arms.

Quickly the French Governor sent out another squad to seize him. Again the African was found and surrounded, again shots were fired and again he was not hit. However, the sergeant who must have kept his nerve more than his subordinates, shot him through the head. His body was quartered and the limbs hung in the most public places.

Virginia, USA
First serious enslave African conspiracy in Colonial America, Sept. 13. Servant betrayed plot of White servants and enslave Africans in Gloucester County, Va.
Virginia, USA
Fugitive Africans in small armed bands raided nearby towns hoping to convince others to join them. The Assembly urged their capture dead or alive, saying "very dangerous consequences may arise if other Negroes fly forth and join them."
New York, USA
Enslave Africans revolt, New York, April 7. A group of slaves plotting rebellion bound themselves to secrecy by "sucking ye blood of each Others hand." Several months later, they set fire to a building and attacked approaching whites, killing nine. Eventually, 70 Negroes were taken. Six were pardoned and 27 condemned, one being hung alive in chains so, stated the Governor" . . . there has been the most exemplary punishment inflicted that could be possibly thought of . . ."
After a half century of guerrilla warfare against colonial and European troops, the Maroons of Surinam who were escaped enslaved Africans, signed treaties with the Dutch colonial government in the 1760s, enabling them to live a virtually independent existence. Their population was estimated to be between 25,000 and 47,000 during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Nanny of the Maroons stands out in history as the only female among Jamaica’s national heroes. She possessed that fierce fighting spirit generally associated with the courage of men.

In fact, Nanny is described as a fearless Asante warrior who used militarist techniques to fool and beguile the English. Nanny was a leader of the Maroons at the beginning of the 18th. Century. She was known by both the Maroons and the British settlers as an outstanding military leader who became, in her lifetime and after, a symbol of unity and strength for her people during times of crisis. She was particularly important to them in the fierce fight with the British during the First Maroon War from 1720 to 1739. Although she has been immortalized in songs and legends, certain facts about Nanny (or "Granny Nanny", as she was affectionately known) have also been documented. Both legends and documents refer to her as having exceptional leadership qualities. She was a small wiry woman with piercing eyes. Her influence over the Maroons was so strong that it seemed to be supernatural and was said to be connected to her powers of obeah. She was particularly skilled in organising the guerrilla warfare carried out by the Eastern Maroons to keep away the British troops who attempted to penetrate the mountains to overpower them. Her cleverness in planning guerrilla warfare confused the British and their accounts of the fights reflect the surprise and fears which the Maroon traps caused among them. Beside inspiring her people to ward off troops, Nanny was also a type of chieftainess or wise woman of the village, who passed down legends and encouraged the continuation of customs, music and songs that had come with the people from Africa, and that instilled in them confidence and pride. Her spirit of freedom was so great that in 1739, when Quao signed the second Treaty (The first was signed by Cudjoe for the Leeward Maroons a few months earlier) with the British, it is reported that Nanny was very angry and in disagreement with the
principle of peace with the British which she knew meant another form of subjugation. There are many legends about Nanny among the Maroons. Some even claim that there were several women who were leaders of the Maroons during this period of
history. But all the legends and documents refer to Nanny of the First Maroon War as the most outstanding of them all, leading her people with courage and inspiring them to struggle to maintain that spirit of freedom, that life of independence, which was their rightful inheritance. Like the heroes of the pre Independence era, Nanny too met her untimely death at the instigation of the English sometime around 1734. Yet, the spirit of Nanny of the Maroons remains today as a symbol of that indomitable desire that will never yield to captivity.
Virginia, USA
Enslave African conspiracy discovered in Norfolk and Princess Anne counties, Va.
St. Johns, USVI

Nov. 23 2002 marked the 267 years since the slave revolt took place on St. John. What led up to it? Who were these enslaved Africans who took on many plantation owners as well as other Danish officials and the whites ruling class? These are some of the issues that were never addressed when we were in school.

One of the most successful slave rebellions in the long history of self-determination in the Caribbean took place then on the Danish-controlled island of St. John. It was 3 a.m. on Nov. 23, 1733, a group of enslaved Africans broken into their "master's" house, a Mr. Soetman's, stripping him of his cloth and forced him to dance and sing. They ran a sword through his body and cut off his head and washed themselves in his blood. Following the execution, they killed his stepdaughter Hissing, a 13 year old, and left her body on top of him.

About 4 a.m. that same morning, a group of 14 enslaved Africans marched through the gates of Fortsberg at Coral Bay, St. John. They slaughtered five soldiers at the fort.

The revolt spread, particularly on the northwest side of the island, and some 300 enslave Africans were on the war path, going from estate to estate. The rebellion continued until June of 1734. However, many historians have the tendency to overlook the real cause that led up to this bloody revolt. They have polished the history to the point that you may think the enslaved and brutalized Africans were just bloodthirsty.

The enslaved Africans who initiated the revolt were known as the "Akan" or "Aminas." They originally were from the Gold Coast of West Africa, including Ghana.

In the 1730s enslaved Africans were brought to St. John and St. Thomas to work on the plantations; many slaves escaped into the forest of the island. This was a cause of major concern for planters, who owned the slaves, and of the Danish government.

Gov. Philip Gardelin issued an 18-article code to control enslaved Africans on the islands from running away. First, enslaved Africans were not considered human beings in the Danish West Indies. They were property, to buy and to sell. The document stated that any runaways would be subjected to torture with a red-hot iron. They could also lose a leg or ear. The leaders of runaway slaves would be tortured and hung.

Additional punishment included whippings and branding. Slaves failing to report what they knew of runaways would be branded in their forehead and would get 100 lashes. A slave found guilty of conspiracy would lose his/her legs unless the owners requested a lighter sentence.

Cowardly slaves that "ratted" on other slaves received awards from the Danish authorities. The code also stated that any slaves who didn't show deference to white people would lose their right hand; or hanging for a slaves who struck or threatened to strike a white person. In other words, enslaved Africans in the Danish colonials had no rights. The female slaves were raped and sexually exploited. The "owners" of slaves had the right to do as they pleased with their "property."

Thousands of enslaved African wo-men were raped, killed and abused. In fact, the majority of slaves who ran away- known as the maroons - were female slaves.

Another reason leading up to the slave revolt on St. John was the natural disasters. Before the upraising of slaves on St. John in November of 1733, there were long periods of drought; followed in July by a devastating hurricane that destroyed crops, buildings and shipments.

That same year, another hurricane hit the island. After that, a plague of insects destroyed many of the products of the islands and slaves teetered on famine. We today would say, "All hell breaks lose." Well, that's exactly what happened in 1733. The enslaved Africans of the Akan tribe believed in the "migration of souls." When they die, they believed that they would go into a better world.

For this and other reason the slaves of St. John took things into their own hands. The Danish government got help from the French island of Martinique to hunt down slaves and killed them. Some slaves escaped by jumping over a cliff known as Ram Head.

Each year - for the pass 18 years - a group of Virgin Islanders, as well as individuals from other Caribbean is-lands, hike to Ram Head to pay their respect to those who fought for freedom - all our freedom.

This year a film company from Cali-fornia will be documenting the event of the slaves revolt on St. John. Lauren Herz is the associate producer of the company.

A group of us will hike to Ram Head on Friday. For more information, contact Professor Gene Emanuel at 693-1348 at the University of the Virgin Islands.

By Olasee Davis
South Carolina, USA
Enslaved Africans revolt, Stono, S.C., Sept 9. Twenty-five Whites killed before the insurrection was put down.
New York, USA
Series of suspicious fires and reports of enslaved Africans conspiracy led to general hysteria in New York City, March and April. Thirty-one enslaved Africans and five Whites were executed.
The Berbice enslaved Africans Rebellion broke out (at the time when Berbice was a separate Dutch colony). The revolt is the result of the cruelty with which the Dutch plantation owners have been treating the enslaved Africans. The enslaved Africans led by Cuffy (Kofi) held the county of Berbice for almost one year. The revolution began at plantation Magdalenenburg which is up the Canje River. The population on the plantation was approximately 3,833 Africans, 346 Europeans and 244 Amerindian (Native) labourers. Within one month the Africans were in control of almost all the plantations in Berbice. Some of the Dutch soldiers fled others were killed by the Africans. The Africans were eventually defeated because they entered into negotiations with the Europeans who assured them that they were negotiating in good faith. The Europeans were actually waiting for the arrival of reinforcements. When the shiploads of reinforcement arrived, the Europeans being the majority and better armed, were then able to defeat the Africans. Almost a year after the revolution began Cuffy killed himself rather than be taken captive by the Europeans. Today Cuffy is a National Hero of Guyana.
The Irish presence in Montserrat dates back to the 1630s, when the first pioneers -- Roman Catholics -- sailed over from St. Kitts because of friction with British Protestant settlers there. The Irish planters brought Enslaved Africans to work their sugar cane fields. Soon the enslaved Africans outnumbered them 3-to-1 and began rebelling. In 1768, the enslaved Africans planned an island-wide attack on St. Patrick's Day, when the planters would be celebrating. Servants were instructed to grab all the weapons they could find inside the Government House while field slaves stormed the building with rocks, farm tools, clubs and homemade swords. But someone leaked the plan, and debate over who's to blame still continues. Local authorities punished the enslaved Africans severely, hanging nine. Today people mix their annual celebration of shamrocks and green beer with memories of an aborted enslaved African revolt against Irish planters. The result is a Caribbean amalgam of colonial culture and African pride -- a week long fete with islanders dancing Irish jigs one night, then mocking their one-time masters the next by cracking whips and masquerading in tall hats like bishops' miters. "We are celebrating the rise of the African freedom fighters said historian Howard Fergus.
Massachusetts, USA
In Massachusetts enslaved Africans petitioned the legislature for freedom, Jan. 6. There is a record of 8 petitions during Revolutionary War period.
On the Belize River in Belize, enslaved Africans took over five plantations and killed six white men. There were about fifty armed Africans with sixteen Musquets, Cutlasses, etc. involved in this rebellion.
Haitian Revolution began with the revolt of enslaved Africans in the northern province, Aug 22. An estimated 350,000 people died in this revolution before Haiti was declared a free republic on January 1, 1804. This was the most significant rebellion during the MAAFA. See a lot more on The Haitian Revolution
In August 1795, there was a major enslaved African rebellion for two weeks on the island of Curacao, led by Tula and Bastiaan Karpata. Influenced by the revolution in Haiti, they gained weapons, attacked plantations and freed other enslaved Africans. They were caught and executed the following month. Curacao's enslaved Africans were not emancipated until 1863. They still commemorate the uprising on August 17.
Richmond, USA
Gabriel Prosser plotted and was betrayed. Storms forced suspension of attack on Richmond, Va., by Prosser and some 1,000 enslaved Africans on Aug. 30. This conspiracy was betrayed by two enslave Africans. Prosser and fifteen of his followers were hanged on Oct 7.
Lousiana, USA
In january of 1811, a powerfull uprising of enslaved Africans took place in the area of New orlean, Lousiana. On january 8, 1811 over 500 enslaved Africans, led by a laborer named Charles on the Deslonde plantation (some 26miles upriver form New Orleans) downed there tools and grabed a few weapons. They then proceeded to march on the city. Their goal was to capture the city and free all the enslaved Africans in the lower Mississippi valley. As they moved down the river, they pushed back the enslavers and their flunkeys, killing many and burning several plantations. There rallying cries were, "On to New Orleans!" and "freedom or death!" They got to within 10 miles of the city, where they were attacked by U.S. government troops. Casualties well taken on both sides. This was the largest enslaved Africans revolt in the United States.
Florida, USA
300 enslaved Africans and about 20 Indian allies held Fort Blount on Apalachicola Bay, Fla., for several days before it was attacked by U.S. Troops.
On the island of Barbados an enslaved African by the name of Bussa, led a revolt over the British rulers. His bravery and commitment against the evil of slavery is commemorated today with a statue in his honor (which is shown in the picture at the top left side of this page).
In May the enslaved Africans of the Belize and Sibun rivers a region in Belize, revolted after very harsh treatment. This revolt was led by two enslaved Africans name Will and Sharper. This revolt lasted for about one month.
South Carolina, USA
Denmark Vesey plotted and was betrayed. 'House slave' betrayed Denmark Vesey conspiracy, May 30. Vesey conspiracy, one of the most elaborate enslaved African plots on record, involved thousands of Africans in Charleston, S.C., and its vicinity. Authorities arrested 131 Africans and four whites. Thirty-seven were hanged. Vesey and five of his aides were hanged at Blake's Landing, Charleston, S.C., July 2.
There was an enslaved African rebellion on the East Coast of the Demerara in the country of Guyana.
Cincinnati, USA
Race riot, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 10. More than 1,000 Africans left the city for Canada.
Augusta, USA
A slave-set fire swept the city. Governor Forsyth appealed to U.S. Secretary of War, for "arms to protect the people of the state in case of slave revolt.".
Virginia, USA
Nat Turner revolt, Southampton County, Va., August 21-22. Some 60 Whites were killed. Nat Turner was not captured until October 30. Nat Turner was hanged, in Jerusalem, Va., Nov. 11.

The Baptist Revolt

1) Samuel Sharp (a literate enslaved African), saw a newspaper and read an article on the emancipation of the enslaved Africans. He misinterpreted the article, thinking that emancipation was given to the enslaved Africans, but the planters refused to give slaves their freedom. Sharp, of course, felt that he and his fellow enslaved Africans were being denied their freedom and so vowed to get back at the whites and hasten emancipation. He told his fellow enslaved African not to work until they get paid until Christmas. During the battle, Samuel acted like a Trade Union leader of modern times.

  • 2) This is a proposed cause:- An enslaved African male was forced to watch his spouse brutally flogged and got enraged, so he striked at the whipper, who was a African man and he got arrested. The reason is that he went against authority. The other enslaved Africans, who were witnesses, got angry and revolted.
  • 3) Another proposed cause:- William Knibb, a missionary, was blamed by the whites for enticing the eslaved Africans to revolt. The planters felt that the non-conformists (Baptists and English Catholics) who did not stick to the Anglican religion, encoraged the enslaved Africans to revolt. However, William Knibb of the Baptist church heard of the plans of revolting from one of the enslaved Africans and tried to stop it. What William never thought of, is that the nature of his sermons and the teachings of all men being equal, may have stirred up the rebellion.

    The violence and bloodshed started on the 27th of December, 1831. It began in the Salt Spring estate, 50,000 enslaved Africans broke out in revolt in the western parishes. Signal fires were used in communicating the message of the revolt from one plantation to the next. Boiling houses, mansions and cane fields were deliberately set aflame. The enslave Africans also destroyed other plantation properties, tools and equipment, mainly the punishment tools and devices.


  • 1) 15 whites were killed
  • 2) 400 slaves were killed in battle and 100 including Samuel Sharp were flogged or executed.
  • 3)Several missionaries were arrested
  • 4) William Knibb was arrested and charged with enticing rebellion against the colony.

    Submitted by Miss Talitha Gilbert.

  • Brazil
    In Brazil, 1835 was the year of the famous Revolt of Malês. Malê was the name of enslaved African contingent bought in Muslim countries, that left few descendants in Brasil. They had culture, were monotheists, knew how to read and write, used to teach the Koran to others enslaved Africans and organized revolts in 1807, 1809, 1813, 1816, 1827 and, the biggest, in 1835, all in Bahia state. Tired of fighting them the Brazillian government qualified them too dangerous to stay in Brasil and thus they were deported back to Africa. From then on, to buy this kind of slaves was forbidden."
    Baltimore, USA
    Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Sept. 3.
    Amistad mutiny led by Joseph Cinquez, were captured. After trial in Conn., returned to Africa.
    Click here to see more on AMISTAD
    Virginia, USA
    Enslave Africans revolted on the slave trader 'Creole' which was en route from Hampton, Va., to New Orleans, La., Nov 7. The enslaved Africans overpowered crew and sailed vessel to Bahamas where they were granted asylum and freedom.
    Georgia, USA
    Ellen Craft impersonated an enslaver holder, William Craft acted as her servant in one of the most dramatic enslaved Africans escapes--this one from slavery in Georgia, Dec 26.
    Maryland, USA
    Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in Maryland, summer. She returned to South 19 times and brought out more than 300 enslaved Africans.
    Massachusetts, USA
    African abolitionist crashed into a courtroom in Boston and rescued a fugitive enslaved African, Feb 15.
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Africans dispersed a group of slave catchers Sept 11 in Christiana, Pa., conflict. One White man was killed, another wounded.
    New York, USA
    African and White abolitionists smashed into courtroom in Syracuse, N.Y., and rescued a fugitive enslaved African Oct 1.
    Virginia, USA
    Five Africans with 13 Whites with John Brown attacked Harpers Ferry, Va., Oct 16-17. Two Africans were killed, 2 captured, one escaped. John Copeland and Shields Green hanged at Charlestown, Va., Dec 16.

    In the USA slave revolt was a capital crime, and many who were executed for that reason have since been posthumously pardoned


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