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17th Century

de Souza, Matthias ( ? -- ? )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Mathias de Sousa Marker, St. Mary's City, Maryland
Image Courtesy of Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt Maryland

Matthias de Souza, an indentured servant, was the only black person to serve in the colonial Maryland legislature.  As such he is the first African American to sit in any legislative body in what would become the United States.

Matthias de Souza, one of nine indentured servants working for Father Andrew White, a Catholic priest, arrived at St Mary’s City, St Clements Island, Maryland, in 1634 on the ship The Ark along with White and other European settlers. De Souza was probably of mixed African and European (possibly Portuguese) descent judging by land records that record him being called a ‘Molato’ (Mulatto) by a priest in the colony.

For the first few years he lived in Maryland, de Souza worked for Jesuit priests although the exact details of his activities are not know.  Generally such servants built and maintained churches and houses for the Jesuits.  

Sources: 

Historic St. Mary’s City History, “Matthias de Souza” https://www.hsmcdigshistory.org/research/history/mathias-de-sousa/; Maryland State Archives and Maria A. Day ‘Exploring Maryland’s Roots: Library: Case Studies’  “Matthias de Souza” http://mdroots.thinkport.org/library/mathiasdesousa.asp.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sussex (England)

Royal African Company

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Royal African Company Slave Voyage Account
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Chartered in 1672, the Royal African Company was a royally chartered company which had a legally based monopoly on English trade to West Africa until 1698. The monopoly specifically extended through five thousand miles of the western coast from Cape Sallee (in contemporary Morocco) to the Cape of Good Hope (in what is now South Africa).

The Royal African Company traded mainly for gold and slaves (the majority of whom were sent to English colonies in the Americas). Headquarters were located at the Cape Coast Castle (located in modern-day Ghana). The Royal African Company also maintained many forts and factories in other locations such as Sierra Leone, the Slave Coast, the River Gambia, and additional areas on the Gold Coast.

Sources: 

Alexander M. Zukas, “Chartered Companies,” in Encyclopedia of Western
Colonialism since 1450
ed. Thomas Benjamin (Detroit: Macmillan
Reference USA, 2007); K.G. Davis, Royal African Company (London:
Longmans, Green and Co., 1957); Robert Law, ed., The English in West
Africa 1691-1699: The Local Correspondence of the Royal African Company
of England 1681-1699
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

The Garifuna People

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In 1635, two Spanish ships were wrecked near what is now St. Vincent in the West Indies. The ships held West Africans who were to be sold as slaves in the West Indies. The West Africans escaped from the Spaniards, and hid themselves among the indigenous Amerindian group, the Carib people on the island. The Africans eagerly adapted to the new environment in hopes of avoiding slavery and remaining under the protection of the Carib community. Likewise, the Caribs protected their new African neighbors because they resisted European encroachment on their lands.  Eventually the Caribs and West Africans began intermarrying, and ultimately, created the Garifuna people.
Sources: 
http://www.garifuna.com, the Official Garifuna site; Susie Post Rust, "The Garifuna: Weaving a Future From a Tangled Past," National Geographic, http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/data/2001/09/01/html/ft_20010901.6.html.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Tutu, Osei Kofi (c. 1680-1717)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
The Golden Stool of the Ashanti Empire
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Kevin Shillington, Encyclopedia of African History (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005); John Iliffe, Africa: the History of a Continent (New York : Cambridge University Press, 1995); S.N. Eisenstadt, The Early State in African Perspective: Culture, Power, and Division of Labor (New York : E.J. Brill, 1988).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Queen Nzinga (1583-1663)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Nzinga Meeting with Portuguese Governor Joao Corria de Sousa, 1622
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Inge Tvedten, Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997); Gary Y. Okihiro, In Resistance: Studies in African, Carribbean and Afro American History (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Cape Coast Castle

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Cape Coast Castle is a European-built fortress situated on the central coastline of Ghana. Since its initial construction in 1652, the Castle served as a trading post for European nations and as the headquarters of British colonial administration for the Gold Coast Colony.  Today the Castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

In 1652, the African, Asiatic, and American Company of Sweden employed Henrik Carlof, a Polish merchant, to negotiate a land agreement with the authorities of Efutu, the small African kingdom that controlled the Gold Coast. Successfully gaining permission to construct trading facilities along the coastline, the Swedes established Carlusborg Fort, named in honor of the Swedish king. The fort had high, thin, mud brick walls and became the structural base for the Cape Coast Castle.
Sources: 
William St. Clair, The Door of No Return: The History of Cape Coast Castle and the Atlantic Slave Trade (New York: Blue Bridge, 2007); http://www.capecoastcastlemuseum.com/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Bluefields, Nicaragua

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Black Students in Private School, Bluefields, Nicaragua
Image Ownership: Public Domain
A city at the mouth of the Escondido River and the Caribbean Sea, Bluefields is home to a large black settlement on the east coast of Nicaragua and is strongly associated with Black Creole culture.  Nicaragua has the largest population of African descent in Central America and approximately two-thirds of that group resides in and around Bluefields.  The black presence in the region goes back to the 17th century as Puritans from the English Providence Company began settling in and around Bluefields in the 1630s, bringing with them a population of enslaved Africans to work on plantations. Enslaved Africans from Jamaica later sought freedom in and around Bluefields in the 1700s and after British emancipation in 1834, the area became a destination for free blacks from across the British-controlled Caribbean.
Sources: 
Edmund T. Gordon, Disparate Diasporas: Identity and Politics in an Afro-Nicaraguan Community (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998); Hugo Sujo Wilson, Historia Oral de Bluefields (Managua, Nicaragua: CIDCA, 1998).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Tacoma

Gondar, Ethopia

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Fasiladas Bath, Celebration of Timket,
Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church Observance in Gondar
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Gondar is the former capital of the emperors of Ethiopia and remains a regional center to this day. Around 1635, Emperor Fasiladas (reign 1632-67) began construction on a castle in the Gondar Valley near the shores of Lake Tana. The fortification was ideally situated along trade routes and had ready access to wood, water and foodstuffs from the agricultural regions along the northern shore of the lake. Because of these factors, Gondar would be able to grow into the first true Imperial Ethiopian capital. This designation was solidified by Fasiladas’ successor Yohannes (reign 1667-82) who was crowned and died in the city. Despite a growing political importance, early Gondar was not a particularly beautiful city. Charles-Jacques Poncet, a French pharmacologist residing in the capital around 1700, was impressed by the majesty of the Imperial court but not by the mud houses that made up the city.

Sources: 
Stuart Munro-Hay, Ethiopia, The Unknown Land: A Cultural and Historical Guide (New York: I. B. Tauris Publishers, 2002); Harold G. Marcus, A History of Ethiopia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Montana State University

Cape Town, South Africa (1652-- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and one of the nation's cultural and economic centers. Before the arrival of Europeans, the area was inhabited by San and Khoikhoi peoples. In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck established a small colony on the Cape of Good Hope as a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company. The station soon became a town as Dutch settlers, attracted by the area’s climate that made the cultivation of European crops possible, continued to arrive. As a result, native pastoralists were evicted from their land, often by force. In 1795 Britain occupied the Cape Colony making Cape Town its military headquarters for the region.

Sources: 
Catherine Besteman, Transforming Cape Town (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008); Christopher Saunders, Nicholas Southey, Historical Dictionary of South Africa (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Montana State University

Johnson, Anthony (? – 1670)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Anthony Johnson's Virginia and Maryland:
Map of Colonial Settlement by 1700
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Anthony Johnson was the first prominent black landholder in the English colonies.  Johnson arrived in Virginia in 1621 aboard the James.  It is uncertain if Johnson arrived as an indentured servant or as a slave, early records list him as “Antonio, a Negro.”  Regardless of his status, Johnson was bound labor and was put to work on Edward Bennett’s tobacco plantation near Warresquioake, Virginia.  In March of 1622 local Tidewater Indians attacked Bennett’s plantation, killing fifty-two people.  Johnson was one of only five on the plantation who survived the attack.  

In 1622 “Mary, a Negro Woman” arrived aboard the Margrett and John and like Anthony, she ended up on Bennett’s plantation.  At some point Anthony and Mary were married; a 1653 Northampton County court document lists Mary as Anthony’s wife.  It was a prosperous and enduring union that lasted over forty years and produced at least four children including two sons and two daughters.  The couple was respected in their community for their “hard labor and known service,” according to court documents.  
Sources: 
T.H. Breen, Stephen Innes, “Myne Owne Ground”: Race and Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676 (New York: Oxford U Press, 2004); Peter Wood, Strange New Land, Africans in Colonial America (New York: Oxford U Press, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Da Costa, Mathieu (17th Century?)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Collage Including Mathieu Da Costa
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Mathieu Da Costa, a free black seaman, is believed to be the first person of African ancestry to reach Canada and he is the first recorded black man to visit the region of Port Royal in Nova Scotia.  Although little is known of his background before he reached Canada, Da Costa is said to have had some education and was also baptized.  Even his actual name is in dispute.  He was identified as Mathieu Da Costa in English documents, Mathieu De Coste in French documents, and in Dutch documents he was known as Matheus de Cost.  

There are conflicting stories as to where and when Da Costa was at different time periods.  Records show him guiding French explorers through the Lake Champlain region.  Between 1604 and 1607 he was a trader with the Acadians -- French settlers in early Nova Scotia -- when they began commerce with the Micmac Indians along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast.  He was described in those accounts as an interpreter of the Micmac and French languages.  Other reports have Mathieu, along with three other men, dying of scurvy during the winter of 1607 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.  Yet he was also reported to be living in Holland in February 1607.
Sources: 
A.B.J. Johnston, Mathieu Da Costa and Early Canada, Possibilities and Probabilities (Halifax, Parks Canada: The National Parks and National Historic Sites of Canada, n.d.);
Bridglal Pachai and Henry Bishop, Historic Black Nova Scotia (Halifax, N.S.: Nimbus Publishing Limited, 2006); Bridglal Pachai, People of the Maritimes: Blacks (Tantallon, N.S.: Four East Publications, 1987); Donald Clairmont, Bridglal Pachai, Stephen Kimber, and Charles Saunders, The Spirit of Africville (Halifax, N.S.: Formac Publishing Company Limited, 1992).
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Dorcas the blackmore (ca. 1620- ?)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Settled Areas in New England in 1640 around the time
Dorcas joined First Church at Dorchester.
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The brief entry for “Dorcas the blackmore” that appears in the Records of the First Church at Dorchester in New England, 1636-1734 suggests that Dorcas may have been one of the first enslaved persons to be freed in British North America.  

On April 13, 1641, “Dorcas the blackmore” joined the Dorchester, Massachusetts Congregational church.  John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, commented on the ease with which she was accepted into membership as based on her knowledge of scripture and her godly character.  As Winthrop noted in his journal, “A negro maid, servant to Mr. Stoughton of Dorchester, being well approved by divers years’ experience, for sound knowledge and true godliness, was received into the church and baptized.”  Like many other Congregational churches, Dorchester had a predominantly female congregation; between 1630 when the church was gathered and 1641 when Dorcas joined, for example, only seventy-four men had joined the church as compared with one-hundred and twenty-two women.  Unlike the other women of Dorchester’s congregation, however, Dorcas was enslaved.  
Sources: 
Deborah Colleen McNally, "Within Patriarchy: Gender and Power in Massachusetts's Congregatonal Churches, 1630-1730." (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 2013), 89-95; Records of the First Church at Dorchester in New England, 1636-1734 (Boston, Massachusetts: George H. Ellis, 1891); Records of the First Church in Boston, 1630-1868 (Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1961); John Winthrop, Winthrop's JOurnal: History of New England, 1630-1649 vol. I, ed. James Kendall Hosmer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908); Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1968).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Queen Nanny of the Maroons (? - 1733)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Queen Nanny as Pictured on a Jamaican Bank Note
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Nanny, known as Granny Nanny, Grandy Nanny, and Queen Nanny was a Maroon leader and Obeah woman in Jamaica during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Maroons were a cultural mix of African slaves and the native Arawak Indian tribes that predated European colonisation. Nanny herself was an escaped slave who had been shipped from Western Africa. It has been widely accepted that she came from the Ashanti tribe of present-day Ghana.

Nanny and her four brothers (all of whom became Maroon leaders) were sold into slavery and later escaped from their plantations into the mountains and jungles that still make up a large proportion of Jamaica. Nanny and one brother, Quao, founded a village in the Blue Mountains, on the Eastern (or Windward) side of Jamaica, which became known as Nanny Town. Nanny has been described as a practitioner of Obeah, a term used in the Caribbean to describe folk magic and religion based on West African influences.
Sources: 
Mavis Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655-1796 (Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1990); Edward Long, The History of Jamaica, Volume II (T. Lowndes, Fleet Street, London 1774); Karla Gottlieb, The mother of us all: A history of Queen Nanny, leader of the Windward Jamaican Maroons (Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Kingston, Jamaica (1692-- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, was founded in July 1692 when an earthquake destroyed the nearby city of Port Royal. The most recent census puts its population at 937,700. Today Kingston is the center of trade, manufacturing, and shipping for the entire nation of Jamaica.  

Before the 1692 earthquake, Port Royal, founded in 1518 by the Spanish on a spit of land off what is now Kingston Harbor, and captured by the English in 1655, was the major city in the area. The earthquake and tsunami killed nearly two thousand of the town’s six thousand people.  Most of the survivors moved inland to the other side of the harbor and founded Kingston.  

Kingston was the largest town in Jamaica by 1716, and due to its deepwater harbor it was also the center of trade for the entire British colony.  In 1775 Sir Charles Knowles, the British governor of the Colony, moved all government offices from nearby Spanish Town to Kingston.  Three years later Kingston had a population of 26,478, which included 16,659 enslaved people. Slavery existed in Jamaica until 1833. Kingston was declared the official capital of the Colony of Jamaica in 1872.
Sources: 
David Marley, “Kingston” in Historic Cities of the Americas (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2006); Colin G. Clarke, Kingston, Jamaica: Urban Development and Social Change, 1692-1962 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975); “The Structure and Development of Kingston, Jamaica,” http://www.smartyoung.com/cities/kingston/brief_history.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (1687- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Bissau is the capital of the nation of Guinea-Bissau. It is located on the Geba River estuary on the Atlantic Ocean, on a peninsula that used to be an island. In 2007 its population was estimated at approximately 407,000 people.  Bissau is also the largest port in the country, and its major commercial center.

Bissau was founded by Portuguese traders in 1687 on land originally belonging to the Papei people. The island quickly became one of Portugal’s most important slave trading centers. Although lucrative, Portugal’s hold over the island was not secure until they built a large stone fort there in 1753. After the end of the legal slave trade in the 1830s, the economy of Bissau plummeted and the city was nearly abandoned. In 1941 Bissau replaced Bolama as the capital of Portuguese Guinea and the population once again began to climb.  After Portuguese Guinea achieved independence in 1974 and became Guinea-Bissau it retained Bissau as its capital.
Sources: 
Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books,1999); Douglas L. Wheeler, "Bissau," Encyclopedia Americana, Grolier Online, 2014; Encyclopedia Britannica, Online, 2014; The CIA World Fact Book https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pu.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Belize City, Belize (1638- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Belize City is the largest city in the Central American country of Belize. This city of 57,179 people is located on a small peninsula protruding into the Caribbean Sea. As home to local courts and most government officials it was the de facto capital city of the nation until flooding and other extensive damage from Hurricane Hattie in 1961 prompted the government to relocate to Belmopan in 1970.  Belmopan was also selected because it is nearer the geographic center of the country.  

Belize City has a centuries-old history. It was near the site of several Mayan city-states until that culture’s decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. It had previously been a small Mayan city called Holzuz.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Praia, Cape Verde (1615- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Praia is the capital and largest city of the island nation Cape Verde, an archipelago approximately 400 miles west of Dakar, Senegal. The city has a population of 127,899 people and it is the home of over 90% of the nation’s population. Praia lies on the southern coast of Santiago Island. The city experiences a mild desert climate due a short monsoon season and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean moderating the weather.  Average rainfall in the area is about 10 inches and occurs mainly during July, August, and September. Praia is the seat of government as well as the country’s largest port. Main exports through the port are coffee, sugar cane, and a variety of tropical fruits.

The history of Praia dates back to 1615 when it was originally founded by Portuguese explorers and named Praia de Santa Maria. The city evolved into a port that was often times used for illegal trade including in later years the slave trade. In 1770 the capital was transferred to Praia from Ribeira Grande because Praia was growing more rapidly and was considered healthier.  Despite its new designation, Portuguese colonial officials completed the first major dock for the port only in 1863.
Sources: 
Africa Travelling, "Travel in Praia-Cape Verde," Travel in Praia - Cape Verde - Africa - History http://www.africatravelling.net/cape_verde/praia/praia_history.htm; Mapsnworld, "Praia,"  http://www.mapsnworld.com/cape-verde/praia.html; Maps of the World, "Praia Map." Praia Map. http://www.mapsofworld.com/cape-verde/praia.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Port-au-Spain, Trinidad (1650- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Downtown Port-au-Spain from the Royal Botanic Gardens
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Port-au-Spain is the capital and third largest city of the island nation Trinidad and Tobago in the southwestern West Indies and north of the South American nation of Venezuela. The city, which is only about 5 square miles, had a population of 37,074 people in 2011 but its surrounding metropolitan area had 269,923 people in a nation of 1.3 million people.  Like the country as a whole, Trinidadians of Indian descent are the largest ethnic group at 38% of the city’s population.  Afro-Trinidadians are the second largest group at 36%.  Mixed race people comprise another 24%.  Europeans, Chinese, Syrians, and Lebanese, among other groups, make up the remainder of the population (2%).
Sources: 
Gerard A. Besson, "Port-of-Spain's Early City Life," The Caribbean History Archives, http://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2011/08/port-of-spains-early-city-life.html; Roman A. Cybriwsky, "Port-of-Spain," Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013); "Port of Spain," Encyclopedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/470934/Port-of-Spain.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

St. George’s, Grenada (1649- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
St. George’s is the capital of Grenada, an island nation located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The city has an estimated population of 4,300 people in a nation of 105,897 people (2012). St. George’s is positioned on the island’s southern coast on a small peninsula that has a shallow exterior bay and deep harbour. The main exports are bananas, cocoa, and nutmeg while sugar processing and rum distilling are local industries.

The history of St. George’s began in 1649 when the French established a settlement due to the large sheltered harbour ideal for anchorage. In 1706 the settlement moved to the city’s present location and was named Port Royal.
Sources: 
Curtis Jacobs, "A Brief History of the Town of St. George's," Spicevibes.com., http://www.spicevibes.com/index.php/photo-galleries/49-grenada/history/95-a-brief-history-of-the-town-of-st-george-s#; "Saint George’s," Encyclopedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/517175/Saint-Georges; The History Channel, "United States Invades Grenada," History.com, A&E Television Networks, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/united-states-invades-grenada.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Roseau, Dominica (1650- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Roseau is the capital, principal town, and major port of Dominica, an island nation of 72,000 people in the Caribbean Sea. The town had a population of 16,582 people in 2007, making it one of the least populous capitals in the world.  Roseau is located on the southwestern coast of the nation at the mouth of the Roseau River. Its main exports are skin oils, limes and their juice, tropical vegetables, and spices. Throughout the nation’s history the town has been the commercial center of the island.  

The history of Roseau had begun well before Europeans began to settle the island nation. The island of Dominica was discovered and named by Christopher Columbus on November 3, 1493.  It was occupied, however, only by the Carib people for the next century.  When the Spanish finally attempted a settlement, the Carib drove them from the island.  
Sources: 
"Roseau," Encyclopedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/509835/Roseau; "Welcome to Roseau," Roseau City Guide, http://www.roseaucityguide.com/; "History Roseau," Roseau Dominica, http://www.roseaudominica.org/roseau_history/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Antananarivo, Madagascar (1600s- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Antananarivo (formerly known as “Analamanga” and “Tananarive”) is the capital of the Republic of Madagascar and its largest city. It is located on a high plateau overlooking the Ikopa and Besiboka Rivers.  In the southern part of the city lay Lake Anosy, an artificially designed lake.  In 2012 Antananarivo had a population of 1.4 million and the Merina are the majority ethnic group in the region. In addition to being a political center, Antananarivo is Madagascar’s economic and cultural center.
Sources: 
“Antananarico,” New Encyclopedia of Africa 2nd Edition, editors John Middleton and Joseph Miller (Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008): Ari Nave, “Antananarivo, Madagascar,” Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, 2nd Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); Solofo Randrianja and Stephen Ellis, Madagascar: A Short History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Joaquin Delta College

Castries, St. Lucia (1650 - )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Castries, capital of St. Lucia, is also the largest city on the island.  The latest estimates show its population as about 20,000.  St. Lucia with a total population of 163,362 (July 2014 est.) is part of the Windward Islands chain which forms the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.   

Arawak and Carib Indians inhabited St. Lucia exclusively until 1502, when a group of French sailors became the first Europeans to reach the island.  European settlement, however, was stalled for more than a century by fierce resistance from the Caribs.

The French founded Castries in 1650, naming it “Carénage,” which means "safe anchorage," in reference to the city’s deep water port.  It adopted the name Castries in 1756 in honor of Charles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix, Marquis de Castries and Commander of a fleet of French ships.  
Sources: 
Castries, St Lucia - Lonely Planet, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/st-lucia/castries; St Lucia History, Language and Culture - World Travel Guide, http://www.worldtravelguide.net/castries › Destinations › Caribbean › St Lucia; Government of Saint Lucia http://www.govt.lc/; St Lucia - Original Official Guide - Geographia, http://www.geographia.com/st-lucia/index.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda (1632- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
St. John's (population 22,342) is the capital of the Eastern Caribbean twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, covers 108 square miles. Barbuda, a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, lies approximately 30 miles north of Antigua. St. John’s is Antigua’s main port.  Its population comprises 24% of the total population of 91,295 for the islands.

St. John has been the administrative center of Antigua and Barbuda since the islands were first colonized by Britain in 1632, and it became the seat of government when the nation achieved independence in 1981. Almost all government ministries are located here and, with the government employing about 35% of the population, many Antiguans have found employment in the capital.

Several major world financial institutions are represented in St. John's. The Antigua Rum Distillery is located here also, and is the only rum distillery on the island.  Exports include petroleum products, machinery, transport equipment, and agricultural produce.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Paramaribo, Suriname (1630 - )

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Paramaribo is the largest city, chief port, and capital of Suriname, a country located on the north coast of South America and the continent's smallest nation. The city had a population of 250,000 people in 2014 who comprised about half the population of the entire country. Paramaribo was established on the River Suriname which is 15 km (9.3 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean. The city occupies an area of 180 square km, or 111.8 square miles, and has an elevation of five meters. Paramaribo has a tropical rainforest climate and it rains throughout most of the year.

The history of Paramaribo began in 1603 when the Dutch founded the city as a trading post. The English were the first to establish a permanent settlement in the area in 1630. In 1650 Paramaribo became the capital of the English colony of Suriname. The Dutch reclaimed control of the colony through The Treaty of Breda (1667) and Paramaribo became the capital of Dutch Guiana. Ironically the Dutch had the opportunity to reclaim New Netherlands (now New York) which the British had seized in 1664, but chose instead to insist on control of Dutch Guiana because of its potential for sugar production.
Sources: 
Roman A. Cybriwsky, "Paramaribo," Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2013); "Paramaribo," Encyclopædia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/442949/Paramaribo; "Paramaribo Map," Maps of the World, http://www.mapsofworld.com/suriname/paramaribo.html.
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University of Washington, Seattle
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