Browsing "Slavery Worldwide"
Apr 30, 2017 - Foreign Viewpoints, Slavery Comes to America, Slavery Worldwide, Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

The erroneous belief in today’s popular culture that the American South was the only region in North America tainted by African slavery is contradicted by Carter Woodson’s writings. He states “[In] my article on “The Slave in Canada,” printed in The Journal of Negro History for July, 1920, (Vol. V, No. 3), several instances of Negro slavery in Canada were given. The latest is mentioned in Le Bulletin des Recherches Historiques for October, 1927, (Vol. XXXIII, No. 10), at p. 584. I translate it from the French the article referred to.”  Additionally, while Michigan was still a territory, complaints of Canadian slaves escaping across the border into Michigan were common.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

“Honorable William Renwick Riddell, Justice of Appeal, Ontario.

In July, 1748, Jean-Pierre Roma, Commandant for the (French) King at the island of St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence), on his passage to Quebec, made a singular gift to his friend, Fleury de la Gorgendiere, (the younger). He gave him a mulatto girl, five months old and named Marie.

The gift made to Mr. Fleury de la Gorgendiere is explained by the fact that the mother of the child, the slave of Roma, died in giving it birth. Roma not being able to charge himself with raising the orphan, preferred to give it to M. Fleury de la Gorgendiere.

The deed of gift was drawn up by the Notary, Jean-Claude Panet, July 15, 1748; and in it is the stipulation that in case of the death of Fleury and his wife, the mulatto will return Mdll. Roma (her grandmother). If she cannot take her it is stipulated that she will receive her freedom.

Such sales of the creatures of God may seem curious – they were, however, according to the customs of the time and were made almost in every country.”

(Journal of Negro History, Carter G. Woodson, editor, Vol. XIII, No. 2, April, 1928, page 207)

Oct 18, 2016 - Black Slaveowners, Historical Amnesia/Cleansing, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Slavery in Korea

Slavery in Korea

The Puyo group of tribes is first known to have lived along the banks of Sungari River in northern Manchuria, and was a “considerable tribal power” by the first century AD, and somewhat equal in power to the Koguryo, or Korean, tribes south of it. The Puyo held commonly slaves, who were either prisoners of war or criminals. The Yi Dynasty of 14th & 19th centuries, continued the practice of holding slaves – paralleling the Arab slave trade of the Bantu’s in southeast Africa which predated the transatlantic slave trade by 700 years.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Slavery in Korea

“At the bottom of [Korea’s Yi Dynasty] social ladder were the ch’on-min. The majority of them were slaves serving either the government or private individuals, and they were regarded as hardly human and treated accordingly, though government slaves had a somewhat easier time of it than private ones.

The government slaves worked mostly in the workshops which supplied court and bureaucracy with various manufactured goods and performed various menial tasks for the officials. Private slaves served as household servants and also tilled the soil, their labor being much less expensive than that of sangmin farmers.

While slave status was hereditary, it was sometimes possible for a man to be a slave of a given person while his family was not. It was sometimes even possible for a slave to own slaves. Marriage outside the ch’on-min class, however, was impossible, and the children of slave women were classified as slaves no matter what their father’s status might have been.

In addition to slavery, certain other occupations were regarded as so demeaning as to merit ch’on-min status. These included strolling actors (there were no actresses), kisaengs [prostitutes], and butchers. Butchering was the most despised of all occupations, so much so that butchers and their families were often compelled to live in segregated villages.

The numbers of slaves held by the government had been greatly increased at the outset of the Yi Dynasty by the expropriation of many thousands of slaves held by Buddhist temples and monasteries.

[With the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 and after], the government pressed many slaves into military service . . . and this often entailed an automatic rise in status. And when at last the country was at peace, many of the government offices found that they were unable to support as many slaves as formerly.

Often the government had no option but to emancipate large numbers of slaves because it was unable to feed and house them . . . and large numbers of slaves became artisans or farmers. Eventually it became government policy to give official yangmin [farmer] status to all slaves who had served the government for two generations in positions formerly reserved for yangmin.”

(The History of Korea, Han Woo-Keun, Grafton Mintz, editor, Eul-Yoo Publishing Company, 1970, excerpts, pp. 252-253; 313-315)

 

 

British Philanthropic Hypocrisy

Replying to Hinton Helper’s “Impending Crisis,” Elias Peissner chastised the British for the hypocrisy of emancipating African slaves while still oppressing its Hindu subjects in India. John C. Calhoun in 1844 saw British emancipation as combining philanthropy, profit and power, and a belief that free labor would reduce overhead and increase profit. In British Jamaica, freedmen bankrupted plantations by not being industrious, and England then promoted wholesale emancipation to cripple or destroy her more successful trade rivals, the French and Americans.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

British Philanthropic Hypocrisy

“We are not yet through with the Testimony of England, who is always loudest in condemning our Slavery. We will give her a fair hearing. How closely she watches those poor Hindoos! How effectually she keeps them down, whenever they express any dissatisfaction with the happiness she forces upon them!

She has instituted among those “half-naked barbarians” an awful solidarite’, by which the province is responsible for the labor of all its men and women. But still, England is philanthropic! She has carried rails and Bibles, free-schools and steamboats, telegraphs and libraries to India, all for the benefit of those half-naked barbarians!

And should telegraphs and Bibles not have the requisite effect of happyfying, opium will be administered to them, and to “all the world, and to the rest of mankind.” She will no longer permit those savage Hindoos to roast as witches wrinkled old women, for she knows too well from her own experience, the unfairness of such proceedings; nor does she, in these days, allow anywhere the Hand of Justice to cut the ears of those who speak against State or Church. Now, this is decided progress!

England is the civilizer and Christianizer of the world! To be sure, there is still robbing and flogging, murdering and starving enough in the “dominions of the Gracious Queen, where the sun never setteth;” but England, nevertheless, dislikes Slavery in general, and Negro Slavery in the United States in particular, and her lords and ladies are ever ready to eat and drink with the poor commoners of the West, eager of philanthropic royalty!

But England emancipated her slaves in the West India Islands! She expended 20,000,000 [pounds], we suppose, from sheer philanthropy, and may we ask: Whom did her philanthropic measure benefit? Jamaica, that brilliant island, saw her land and people degenerate, says H.C. Carey; the planter sold cheaply and left, the slave did not work.

Such must be the effect of all revolutionary or sudden abolition; and, though the emancipated lands may gradually recover from the ill-advised blow, they can only do so with much loss of property and at the cost of much human misery.”

(The American Question, in its National Aspect, Elias Peissner, Negro Universities Press, 1970, pp. 64-65, originally published in 1861)

Mr. Tubman of Liberia

The country of Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society, mostly Southerners and ably led by President James Monroe of Virginia. The intent was to settle freed slaves in their homeland and to plant responsible, republican government on that continent.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Mr. Tubman of Liberia

“The president of Liberia is a plausible and enterprising man in his middle fifties named William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, sometimes called by the nickname “Shad.” The Honorable Mr. Tubman has been Chief Executive of Liberia since 1944, and will probably remain president for a considerable time to come. He is a character of the utmost originality and interest, who gives forth a certain waggish note.

Liberia is sui generis — unique. I could use any of several adjectives about it — odd, wacky, phenomenal, or even weird. It is, as is well known, one of the five independent countries in Africa, and for a great many years (until Egypt became a republic in 1953) it was the only republic on the continent. Haiti in the West Indies aside, it is the only Negro republic in the world.

Monrovia, the capital, was named for President Monroe, and is practically the only city I have seen without either taxis or buses. The people are too poor, too mercilessly exploited. A village in Uganda or in the wastes of northern Nigeria will have bicycles in profusion, but not the capital of Liberia. There was no successful telephone service in Monrovia until last year [1954], and the system does not extend beyond the city.

Liberia is roughly the size of Ohio or Tennessee, but the entire country has only ten miles of paved road, five of which are in the capital. Liberia never had a road until 1916 when an enterprising American diplomat built one in Monrovia itself so that he could use an automobile that had arrived there by mistake, the first ever to be seen in the country.

Consider health and education. Only two native Liberians have ever become doctors. There are also two naturalized Haitian MD’s, but in the whole country there are probably not more than a half-dozen reputable physicians outside of Firestone and the [Christian] missions. Infant mortality runs as high as 75% in some areas . . . [and] no public health service at all existed until 1931—and Liberia had been an independent republic since 1847!

More than 90 percent of the population is illiterate . . . in 1946 the total sum allotted to education in the national budget was only around $50,000 (80% of education was taken care of by missionaries); it is substantially higher now, roughly $1.5 million out of a budget of $10,088,810.

Liberia College, the chief institution of “higher” learning in the country where several of its leading contemporary citizens were educated, had for years no library, laboratories or scientific equipment; a former head of this school calmly appropriated all its funds on one occasion, and with his loot sent his daughters to be educated in Italy.

Thievery — the cities swarm with thieves — is most conspicuous during the rains. First, rice is short then and people are hungry. Second, the noise of the rain makes it easy for thieves to get around. Stealing is, however, by no means confined to professional criminals or to the poor, who are so miserable that petty theft may easily be forgiven — it is almost a national sport. Newspapers talk openly of “wholesale stealing” in government departments . . . [and] recently the Italian delegation lost, of all things, its safe.

In the field of political corruption Liberia has some wonderful distinctions. One president of the republic (not Mr. Tubman) got 243,000 votes in a certain election, though only 15,000 persons were privileged to vote.

Most educated Africans in neighboring countries pay lip service to Liberia because it is an independent republic created by freed Negro slaves, but they despise it inwardly because it constitutes a betrayal of what modern Africans stand for. Even Ethiopia has higher standards. Liberia might almost be called a kind of perverse advertisement for imperialism since although the country is free, the people are so badly off compared to those in most French and British colonies.

One brief word on Liberian history. Liberia was created by the American Colonization Society, a private organization (its first president was a nephew of George Washington) formed in 1816 to transport freed American slaves to Africa, where they might settle and start a new life on their own.

The motive was only humanitarian in part. A good many American slaveowners wanted to get freed slaves out of the country; it was dangerous to have them around. Also in 1819, the American navy was empowered to seize slave ships on the high seas, free any slaves found and return them to Africa, as part of an attempt to suppress what remained of the organized slave trade.

Out of Slavery — Slavery

One of the most horrifying official documents I have ever read has to do with Liberia, the report made in 1931 by an international commission inquiring into the slave traffic.

For years rumors had been heard, which the Monrovia government persistently denied, that Liberia tolerated organized slavery. At last in 1929 pressure, largely from the United States forced an investigation. Henry Stimson, secretary of state at the time, wrote to the Liberian authorities: “It would be tragically ironic if Liberia, whose existence was dedicated to the principle of liberty should succumb to practices so closely akin to those its founders sought forever to escape.”

Facts uncovered by the commission were — and are — appalling. It found that “slavery as defined by the 1926 anti-slavery convention” existed in the country, that contract laborers “were recruited under conditions of criminal compulsion scarcely distinguishable from slave-raiding and slave trading,” and that high officials of the Liberian government not only connived at this traffic but made money out of it.

Mr. Tubman, current president of Liberia, was a Senator during this period and is mentioned twice in the commission report, each time in connection with the receipt of fees from native chiefs.”

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Collins, 1955, excerpts, pp. 843-849; 860-861)

 

 

 

Sep 22, 2016 - Black Slaveowners, Slavery in Africa, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Nigeria a Source of Slaves

Nigeria a Source of Slaves

The country of Nigeria was named for the Niger River, which means “black,” and the ninth longest river in the world. For many years a great source of slaves — and though the trade had diminished by 1847, in that year more than 80,000 slaves were shipped out of Africa “to all destinations.” In 1859, in command of the USS Crusader off Cuba, (future Confederate naval officer) Lt. John Newland Maffitt, was capturing New Englander-captained slavers and liberating thier slaves.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Nigeria a Source of Slaves

Nigerian history along the coast, like that of Sierra Leone and the Gambia, begins with the Portuguese. A Portuguese ship reached the Bight of Benin in 1472. Traders of other countries, including the British in particular, then began to reach this wild, forlorn, fragrant coast—they sought “pepper, Elephant’s teeth, oyl of palm, cloth made of cotton wool very curiously woven, and cloth made of the barke of palme trees.”

Soon came traffic much more lucrative, that in human beings. Indeed slavery dominates Nigerian history for almost three hundred years, with all its bizarre and burning horrors. We have already touched on slavery in East Africa; on the West Coast its history was different.

First: the origin of the Atlantic trade was the discovery of America and the consequent development of sugar plantations in the West Indies. When the American aborigines were killed off, as they were promptly, a labor force had to be found somewhere, and slaves from Africa were a marvelously cheap (as valued by African tribes) and convenient device to this end.

The trade brought fantastic profits. In the Cameroons in the early days the purchase of a slave from African tribes was “two measures of Spanish wine” and he could be sold for a thousand ducats, the profit being 5,000 percent. As late as 1786, a slave could be bought from African tribes in Nigeria for 2 pounds and sold in America for 65 pounds. In that period, 100,000 slaves or more were shipped across the Atlantic each year.

Second:  Aside from the British and Portuguese there were slave traders of several other nationalities, but Britain got a monopoly of the business by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1712.

Third:  Africans were as much involved in the overseas slave traffic as the Europeans since the latter did not dare as rule penetrate inland from the sea — the interior was too dangerous. Instead, they bought slaves from warlike African tribes — the Ashanti on the Gold Coast for instance — who seized and collected other Africans and marched them to the coast. As much barbarity accompanied these raids on Africans by Africans as accompanied the actual voyage across the ocean.

Fourth:  Africans also sought and captured slaves for themselves. In Northern Nigeria for example, slavery was almost universal until most recent times; slavery did not become illegal in Nigeria till 1901, and a few domestic slaves are still alive who have never been emancipated. A case can be made for slavery and the slave trade.  It is that tribal wars took place in the African interior without cessation, and that it was better for a man to be taken prisoner and made a domestic slave or even sold into slavery, than to be killed and perhaps eaten.

On a slave raid the object was to get the prisoner alive and with luck, he might survive the trip to America or Arabia. On balance, the slave trade (despite its inferno-like horrors) may have saved more lives than it cost. In any case it is the origin of a great many healthy, useful and progressive Negro communities in the Western world.”

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Brothers, 1955, excerpts, pp. 752-756)

Sep 22, 2016 - Black Slaveowners, Slavery in Africa, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Persistent African Slavery

Persistent African Slavery

The author below asserts that the commercial slave trade across the Red Sea ceased due to the efforts of Emperor Haile Selassie, and the steady depopulation of the remote region adjacent to the Sudan. “Slavery diminished for the simple reason that there were no more slaves to find.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Persistent African Slavery

“The name “Ethiopia” comes from the Greek, and means “burned face.” Most citizens dislike the older, more conventional name for their country – “Abyssinia” – because this has an Arab origin and connotes “mixed.” [The high altitude] . . . helps to keep disease down, because the sunshine is so sharp. Recently, an officer of the World Health Organization said of it, “A filthy country – but most sanitary.”

Coffee is the most important crop; our word “coffee” comes, in fact, from the Ethiopian place name “Kaffa.” Parts of Ethiopia are still semi-savage; it is one of the few countries in Africa where, in some areas, it is distinctly unsafe for a person to go about alone. (There are some similar areas, of course, in New York City).

Some Ethiopian women – until quite recently – wore their hair plaited with the bowels of oxen, and among the Gallas [tribe] dead children may be hung on trees instead of being buried.

Whether or not slavery still exists substantially [in Africa] is a moot point. Of course there are slaves – it is impossible to draw the line in many parts of Africa between slaves, family retainers, or servants who just don’t get paid. Abyssinia was for generations (along with the southern Sudan and northern Uganda) the chief source of slaves shipped to Arabia and the Yemen.

When Ethiopia entered the League of Nations in 1923, Haile Selassie pledged himself to wipe out slavery, and did his best to do so. Yet the Italians say that, when they took the country [in 1936], they released no fewer than 420,000 slaves.”

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Brothers, 1955, excerpts, pp. 261-262)

Aug 20, 2016 - Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on French and British Slave Profits

French and British Slave Profits

The existence of African slaves in the western hemisphere was the result of British and French colonial economic policy [as well as Spanish and Portuguese] and the promise of immense profits, with the two countries engaging in heated competition to outperform the other. Rather than promote emancipation for the Negro out of humanitarian concern, the British used it to injure France after the loss of the American colonies. John C. Calhoun wrote United States Ambassador to France, William R. King on August 20, 1844:  “It is too late in the day to contend that humanity or philanthropy is the great object of the policy of England in attempting to abolish slavery on this continent.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

French and British Slave Profits

“In 1664, the French government, in accordance with the custom of those days, handed over the rights of trade with San Domingo. Agents received from the company the exclusive grant of the African trade, in return for supplying San Domingo with 2,000 Negroes every year. But by 1720 the colonists were needing 8,000 slaves a year . . .

The slave-trade and slavery were the economic basis of the French Revolution.  “Sad irony of human history,” comments Jaures. “The fortunes created at Bordeaux, at Nantes, by the slave-trade, gave to the bourgeoisie that pride which needed liberty and contributed to human emancipation.”

Nantes was the centre of the slave-trade. As early as 1666, 108 ships went to the coast of Guinea and took on board 37,430 slaves, to a total value of more than 37 millions, giving the Nantes bourgeoisie 15 to 20 percent on their money. In 1700 Nantes was sending 50 ships a year to the West Indies with Irish salt beef, linen for the household and for clothing the slaves, and machinery for sugar-mills.

Nearly all the industries which developed in France during the eighteenth century had their origin in goods or commodities destined either for the coast of Guinea or for America. The capital of the slave-trade fertilized them.

The British bourgeoisie, most successful of slave-traders, sold thousands of smuggled slaves every year to the French colonists and particularly to San Domingo. But even while they sold the slaves to San Domingo, the British were watching the progress of this colony with alarm and with envy.

After the independence of America in 1783, this amazing French colony suddenly made such a leap as almost to double its production between 1783 and 1789.  The British bourgeoisie investigated the new situation in the West Indies, and on the basis of what it saw, prepared a bombshell for its rivals. Without slaves San Domingo was doomed.

The British colonies had enough slaves for all the trade they were ever likely to do. With the tears running down their cheeks for the poor suffering blacks, those British bourgeoisie who had no West Indian interests set up a great howl for the abolition of the slave-trade.

A venal race of scholars, profiteering panderers to national vanity, have conspired to obscure the truth about [British] abolition. In 1773 and again in 1774, the Jamaica Assembly, afraid of insurrection and seeking to raise revenue, taxed the importation of slaves. In great wrath the British Board of Trade disallowed the measures and told the Governor that he would be sacked if he gave his sanction to any similar Bill.

But the [British] West Indian vested interests were strong, statesmen do not act merely upon speculation, and [the idea of abolition] would not have accounted for any sudden change in British policy. It was the miraculous growth of San Domingo that was decisive.

[British Prime Minister] William Pitt found that some 50 percent of the slaves imported into the British islands were sold to the French colonies. It was the British slave-trade, therefore, which was increasing French colonial produce and putting the European market into French hands. Britain was cutting its own throat. The French, seeking to provide their own slaves, were encroaching in Africa and increasing their share of the trade every year. Why should they continue to buy from Britain?

Pitt was in a hurry — it was important to bring the [slave] trade to a complete stop quickly and suddenly. The French had neither the capital nor the organization to make good the deficiency at once and he would ruin San Domingo at a stroke.

In 1787 he warned [the British abolitionist] Wilberforce that if he did not bring the motion (to Parliament) in, somebody else would . . . Pitt was fairly certain of success in England. With truly British nerve he tried to persuade the European governments to abolish the [slave] trade on the score of inhumanity.

[A] great stroke of luck befell Pitt. France was then stirring with pre-revolutionary attacks on all obvious abuses, and one year after the Abolitionist Society had been formed in Britain, a group of Liberals in France . . . followed the British example and formed a society, The Friends of the Negro.

This suited the British down to the ground. Clarkson went to Paris to stimulate the “slumbering energies” of the society, gave it money, [and] supplied France with anti-slavery propaganda . . . the powerful British government [was] determined to wreck French commerce in the Antilles, agitating at home and intriguing in France among men who, unbeknown to themselves, would soon have power in their hands.

How could anyone seriously fear for such a wonderful colony? Slavery seemed eternal and the profits mounted. The enormous increase of slaves was filling the colony with native Africans, more resentful, more intractable, more ready for rebellion than the creole Negro. This was the San Domingo of 1789, the most profitable colony the world had ever known . . .”

(The Black Jacobins, Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, C.L.R. James, Vintage Books, 1963, excerpts, pp. 46-57)

Jul 31, 2016 - Antebellum Realities, Historical Accuracy, New England History, New England's Slave Trade, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Arab Slavers of Zanzibar

Arab Slavers of Zanzibar

Nearly forgotten is the African slave trade conducted by African tribes who captured and sold their own people into slavery, and also that British power protected an African slave trade they publicly denounced. Like New England traders who had made fortunes trading Yankee notions and rum for slaves, Arab traders made fortunes in the ivory, clove and slave trade.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Arab Slavers of Zanzibar

“During the eighteenth century, Kilwa had become East Africa’s principal port for the export of slaves, drawn initially from southeastern Tanganyika and then increasingly from the region of Lake Nyasa. The Omanis on the coast were based at Zanzibar and, after taking control of Kilwa in the mod-1870s, diverted to that island the bulk of the trade in slaves and ivory.

By 1834, exports of slaves drawn from the mainland had reached and annual figure of 6,500. By the 1840s, the annual numbers had risen to between thirteen thousand and fifteen thousand. Some of these slaves were destined for markets in the Middle East. Most, however, were designated for Zanzibar, where the labor-intensive cultivation of cloves had begun soon after 1810 and was expanding rapidly in response to the growing world demand for cloves.

By the 1850s, the island’s population might have included no fewer than sixty thousand slaves.

The ruler of Oman, Sayyid Said ibn Sultan, transferred his court to Zanzibar in 1840. The island had become, as a result of his policies, the most rewarding part of his realm: the paramount port on the western side of the Indian Ocean, the source of virtually the entire world supply of cloves as well as the main sales outlet for ivory, and the largest slave markets.

Bagamoyo, in particular, flourished. Its rich agricultural hinterland, its open beaches suitable for the arrival of dhows, and its proximity to Zanzibar made it the predominant mainland outlet for the slave trade. Most of these [slave caravans to the coast] ventures were financed by local Asians from India, a majority of them Muslims, who had settled in the coastal town but mainly in Zanzibar and who provided trade goods on credit at high rates of return.

Those conducting the trade included Arabs; it was to the so-called norther Arabs, or Omanis, that the more ferocious aspects of slaving in the region came to be ascribed. In fact, perhaps most of the leading slavers were Afro-Arabs, or the progeny of inter-ethnic unions, and the trade itself became increasingly Zanzibari rather than an Omani one. Certainly, many of the main slavers, along with many of the regional slave dealers, were as black as their victims.

In the last resort, Said relied on British power to protect him against Arab contenders for his rich realm, (indeed, it was British power which had forced the retreat of Egyptian armies in 1839) and the threat that other European imperial powers, principally the French, might seek to devour it. He was not inclined, however, to surrender the enormous tax revenues accruing to him from the slave trade. The British government too, despite its commitment against the [slave] trade, was reluctant to antagonize an ally or so imperil that ally’s position that it found itself having to deal with someone worse.”

(Islam’s Black Slaves, the Other Black Diaspora, Ronald Segal, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001, pp. 146-147)

 

Canadian Jim Crow

The popular legend of an underground creates the impression that escaped slaves found freedom and social equality in Canada, and standard historical accounts lead Canadians to believe that passage of Simcoe’s Bill in 1793 ended slavery there, but slavery actually remained legal in British North America until 1833. Author Robin Winks of Yale University wrote: “Canadians did give refuge to thousands of fugitives, and the mythology of the underground railway, the North Star, and the lion’s paw naturally fed the later Canadian assumption that Negroes fared better in Canada than elsewhere.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Canadian Jim Crow

“Canadian law drew no distinction between black and white in matters of citizenship, of which education was one. In practice, however, there were not infrequently some distinctions likely to be drawn, the whites preferring that Negroes should have schools of their own. When Benjamin Drew visited [Amherstburg, Ontario] in 1854 he found the Negro separate school having neither blackboard nor chairs. The whole interior was comfortless and repulsive. The teacher was a colored woman, apparently doing the best she could under the discouragement of poor surroundings and frequent absences of her pupils.

The coming of so many people of another race and color into southwestern Ontario was not pleasing to all the white inhabitants. Deep prejudice manifested itself at times and an occasional outburst in some newspaper reflected the feelings of an element of the population. The Amherstburg Courier of October 27, 1849, prints a resolution of the district council passed on October 8 of that year, protesting vigorously against the proposed Elgin settlement which was planned by Reverend William King as a home for fugitives from slavery.

This resolution, which appears to have been instigated by a local politician, Larwill, resident in Chatham, declared that “there is but one feeling, and that is of disgust and hatred, that they (the Negroes) should be allowed to settle in any township where there is a white settlement.”

The resolution proceeded to ask for a disallowance of sale of lands to Negroes, suggested a poll tax on Negroes entering the country, asked for an enactment against amalgamation and a requirement that Negroes shall furnish good security that they will not become a burden. It was also suggested that it would be well to ascertain whether it would be impolitic to allow them the suffrage.

Dr. Samuel G. Howe, who visited [Amherstburg] in 1863 to investigate conditions….[was told by a Mr. Park of the town] that the Negroes were part of them indolent and part industrious. They tended to neglect their own poor and begged more than the whites. A Captain Averill who was interviewed said that the Negroes were satisfactory as sailors, “the very best men we have,” but they were never made mates and none owned ships of their own.”

(Amherstburg, Terminus of the Underground Railroad, Fred Landon, The Journal of Negro History, Vol. X., No. 1, January 1925, pp. 5-8)

 

Sep 24, 2015 - Slavery Worldwide    No Comments

Africa and Slavery

The Europeans arriving on the African coast found already enslaved black people marketed for sale, a trade which had been a staple of the Dark Continent’s economy for hundreds of years. Though traditionally slave owners themselves, the Tuareg tribe of Timbuktu were defeated in battle and those not killed and beheaded became slaves themselves. Ironically today’s Volkswagen SUV is named for this tribe of slave holders.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Africa and Slavery

“The West Indies were among Great Britain’s first colonial possessions, and for two centuries they had been the most prosperous, though that was changing as the slave and sugar economies shrank . . . [But] Africa was a rougher place.

In Sierra Leone, as in all the other European settlements along the western coast [of Africa], the activities of the expatriate whites – whether traders, officials or army officers – were restricted to villages easily accessible from the ocean, if not to the narrow confines of the trading beaches where they could escape to their ships or forts at night to avoid the pestilential diseases that were thought to come with the setting sun.

This isolation by the sea was only partly due to health concerns and the difficulty of travel through the rain forests. It was also the result of the slave trade, the middlemen of which had seen to it that their European customers were denied access to the hinterlands, the source of their own supply of new slaves. Though officially abolished, the “traffick” continued.

[As the Europeans learned], the indigenous peoples of West Africa were loath to let white men know too much about the geography and riches of their interior lands for all sorts of commercial and political reasons. Arab [slave] traders too, had a vested commercial interest in keeping the Europeans out. They helped sow distrust by relating stories of the British colonization of India, tales not lost on local African kings.

By 1821, fifteen years after the abolition of the slave trade in British colonies, it had become clear in London that there was much to be gained commercially, and also sometimes politically, by creating links with some of the powerful tribes of the interior instead of conducting all [slaving] business through intermediaries on the coast.

Tripoli had been the gateway to the African interior since per-Christian Garamantes tribesmen sold precious stones to the Carthaginians. Whoever rules Tripoli tried to keep the caravan routs open . . . [and] in the sixteenth century, Tripoli was invaded by the Turks. They governed, backed by a garrison of Janissaries. A Janissary was a soldier in an elite corps of Turkish troops drawn exclusively from abducted Christian boys trained to fight and brought up as Muslims.

The Janissaries in Tripoli intermarried with Arab and Berber women, and their sons were called Cologhis. The Cologhis, inevitably, grew more powerful until a fateful day in 1711 when one of them, Ahmad Karamanli, invited the officers of the Turkish garrison to a sumptuous banquet – and promptly slaughtered all of them as they ate. [Karamanli, calling himself “the bashaw”] founded a Tripolitanian dynasty that would rule for the next 125 years.

One [European] explorer, watching [Karamanli’s] army returning after a campaign [to the African interior] counted two thousand human heads on the tips of Cologhi spears. These grisly trophies belonged to rebellious Tuareg [tribesmen] whose decapitated bodies were burned in the desert.

In 1819, a combined Anglo-French squadron appeared off the shores of Tripoli . . . [to end attacks on Mediterranean shipping] . . . a huge financial blow to the bashaw. With a large part of his revenues cut, the bashaw had to turn elsewhere for money.

One source of income he thought he could exploit the sale of black slaves. With this in mind he started to organize slave caravans to strike deeper into Central Africa than Arabs had before.”

(The Race for Timbuktu, In Search of Africa’s City of Gold, Frank T. Kryza, Harper Collins, 2006, pp. 53-55; 67-70)

 

Pages:12»