Africa

Disclaimers:

  • These charts are NOT meant to be taken as an absolute or definitive display of ethnic origins for modernday populations!
  • Ethnic labels given by Europeans do NOT per se reflect how the slaves would have self-identified themselves! (see this article for more discussion)
  • Take note of the sample size, time period, region and any other details given to familiarize yourself with the CONTEXT of the chart!
  • Even if limited in scope, valuable information can still be obtained if you look for the patterns!
  • Sorry for all the exclamation marks 😉 It’s just that i’ve seen these kind of charts being misinterpreted so many times, not only online but also by trained historians. Which is a shame really because misleading conclusions can easily be avoided if you just take these charts for what they are: a randomized subset of slaves who might provide us with extra clues about the ethnic composition of other slaves during a given time period and for a given place/region. All depending on how representative the samples might have been.

Cape Verde

For many more charts & discussion follow this link: http://www.cvraiz.com/?page_id=66

M.Torrao & Soares - Slave Origins from Inventories 1610-1758

Source: “Mande Through the Cape Verde Islands (15th to 18th Centuries)”, (Soares and Torrao, 2007), Mande Studies, 9, 135-147.

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S. Buehnen - Samples of Upper Guinean slaves

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African origins captives onboard slave ship sailing from Cape Verde to Cuba (1572)
For more details read  “Documented African Roots of Dominicans

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San Pedro (1572)

A Luso-African Model for the Social History of the Spanish Caribbean, c. 1570-1640 (Wheat, 2010)

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Cape Verde Slave Census of 1856
For more details read  Cape Verde Slave Census of 1856 (part 1) & Cape Verde Slave Census of 1856 (part 2)

***(vf=male & female, v=male)

A. Carreira - Census 1856 (Ethnias)

Source: “Cabo Verde: formação e extinção de uma sociedade escravocrata (1460-1878)”, António Carreira (1972)

***(vf=male & female, v=male)

A. Carreira - Census 1856 B

Source: “Cabo Verde: formação e extinção de uma sociedade escravocrata (1460-1878)”, António Carreira (1972)

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A. Carreira - Census 1856 (Regional)

Source: “Cabo Verde: formação e extinção de uma sociedade escravocrata (1460-1878)”, António Carreira (1972)

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Bissau, Cacheu, Cape Verde Slave Census of 1856 (combined)
For more details read  Cape Verde Slave Census of 1856 (part 2)

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Hawthorne 1856 Census (Bissau, Cacheu,CV) GB Coastal Zone

Source: “Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves. Transformations along the Guinea-Bissau Coast, 1400-1900″, Walter Hawthorne (2003)

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Hawthorne 1856 Census (Bissau, Cacheu,CV) Interior Upper Guinea Coast

Source: “Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves. Transformations along the Guinea-Bissau Coast, 1400-1900″, Walter Hawthorne (2003)

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Hawthorne 1856 Census (Bissau, Cacheu,CV) Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone Coastal Zones

Source: “Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves. Transformations along the Guinea-Bissau Coast, 1400-1900″, Walter Hawthorne (2003)

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____________________________________

Nigeria

Bight of Biafra ancestry
For more details read  “The Igbo Connection for Virginia & Virginia-Descendants

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Chambers (2002) - Table1, Estimated Percentage of Igbo captives

Source: “Rejoinder – The Significance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade- A Rejoinder to Northrup’s Myth Igbo ” (D.B. Chambers, 2002)

***

Chambers (2002) - Table 3, Estimated Percentage of Igbo captives per slave port (1701-1810)

Source: “Rejoinder – The Significance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade- A Rejoinder to Northrup’s Myth Igbo ” (D.B. Chambers, 2002)

***

Chambers (2002) - Table 5,Frequency of Igbo among Biafran Africans in the Diaspora (1720-1820)(cropped)

Source: “Rejoinder – The Significance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade- A Rejoinder to Northrup’s Myth Igbo ” (D.B. Chambers, 2002)

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Northrup (2000) - Table 2, estimated ethnic breakdown Bight of Biafra departures

Source: “Igbo and myth Igbo- Culture and ethnicity in the Atlantic World, 1600–1850″(David Northrup, 2000)

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Hall (2005) Bight of Biafra breakdown for Anglo-Caribbean

Source: “Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links” by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall (2005)

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Lovejoy et al. - Table1.2 Destinations of Africans from the Bight Biafra

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Sierra Leone

Ethnic Origins of Recaptives in Sierra Leone 1848sl

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3 thoughts on “Africa

  1. Hello,

    I am absolutely in love with your site. There is so much that I’m learning that I couldn’t get from my DNA results alone. I am a Black American (USA) with Asperger’s Syndrome, and my obsession right now is genealogy and geography. My DNA results from Ancestry include:

    33% Mali
    22% Cameroon/Congo
    11% Benin/Togo
    11% West Europe
    My trace regions include but are not limited to:
    3% Ivory Coast/Ghana
    3% Nigeria
    2% Africa South-Central Hunter Gatherers
    <1% Africa Southeastern Bantu

    I remember you saying that one shouldn't take the country label too seriously, since that ethnic region can also consist of neighboring countries. However, the "Mali" ethnicity estimate does correspond with Upper Guinea roots among black people in the U.S. I've done my research on ethnic groups in Senegambia and Sierra Leone and deduced that my ethnicity is likely Mandinka, Bambara, Soninke, and Susu (probably from my maternal grandfather's side), with some Kissi, Bassa, and maybe Senufo blood on my maternal grandmother's side. Also, with my "Cameroon/Congo" estimate, I've deduced that that could derive from the Igbo, Fang and Bassa tribes, also most likely from my maternal grandmother's side since her family lived in Virginia. I'm assuming that the rest of my Cameroonian/Congo DNA is on my father's side with possibly legit Cameroonian and/or Congolese DNA (Bakongo? Douala? ) I think "Benin/Togo" could mark Ewe, Ga-Dangme, Akan, and/or Fon ancestors. As for "Africa South-Central Hunter Gatherers", could that be a marker for Fulani as well as Liberian DNA, since Fulani are nomadic? I'd like to know your thoughts. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brianna, thanks so much for your feedback, very glad to know you find my blog useful!

      Your 33% ” Mali” score is impressive and far above average based on my survey findings. Even when quite a considerable number of AA’s do score similar amounts. I agree with your assessment. In my survey i have also considered “Mali” to be an indicator of Upper Guinean roots together with “Senegal”. Even when there is also some overlap with mostly Gur speaking ancestry hailing from Burkina Faso, northern parts of Ghana/Ivory Coast/Togo & Benin. These are all additional areas where “Mali” scores may be derived from aside from Upper Guinea proper.

      As you may have read already (see my latest blog posts) Ancestry is most likely going to implement an update soon. Eventhough it seems they will not be adding any new West African regions. It could still very well be that they will increase the reference samples for some of the existing regions. Right now it’s VERY minimal for both Senegal and Mali (see the AncestryDNA regions page). This could potentially impact your results in a major way. I have already seen a few AA results which have been updated and they showed some rather drastic shifts within the West African breakdown, often also “Mali” amounts going either up or down. It might be very telling what will happen with your pronounced “Mali” score”.

      The Fula people are indeed originally nomadic people. However they were traditionally herdmen roaming the Sahel zone of West Africa with their cattle. While the nomadic people (the Biaka, Mbuti and Khoi-San) who were sampled for the “Africa South-Central Hunter Gatherers” region are traditionally living either in the rainforest zone of Central Africa or the semi-desert areas of Southern Africa. So there is no ancestral link between these people per se. From actual AncestryDNA results I have seen from Fula people they indeed tend to score practically zero % for this region. “Senegal” and “Africa North” are much more useful as possible markers of Fula ancestry (but not exclusively so!) see also this overview:

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_sjsM56m-0ewGu1RlWbg2MtEwhWJrcbc4sRnvpkUquU/edit#gid=1788753882

      You have done great research already and I agree that all those ethnic groups you mentioned could be plausible given your results, background and relevant history. Have you looked into your DNA matches yet to see if you have any African matches? I find that they can often be very helpful in pinpointing ethnic lineage, although you have to be careful (as always) and not jump to conclusions. I would love for you to try out this tutorial of mine. If you get stuck at any of the steps please feel free to let me know!

      https://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/how-to-find-those-elusive-african-dna-matches-on-ancestry-com/

      Like

  2. First off, I’d like to say thank you for this website! I’ll admit that it’s hard not to take away some of the information and try to claim the tribe as your own based on AncestryDNA results 🙂 I see you’ve done some research on Louisiana Creoles. My father is Creole and my mother’s family is from Kentucky/Tennessee with roots from Virginia. After this update that we just had with Ancestry, I believe my results make a lot more sense, especially for my Louisiana heritage.
    My new results are as follows:

    29% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe
    19% Cameroon, Congo and Southern Bantu Peoples
    18% Mali
    10% Benin/Togo
    5% Ireland and Scotland
    4% Ivory Coast/Ghana
    2% France
    2% NIGERIA! (Previously 17%!)
    2% Senegal
    1% Portugal
    1% Sweden
    1% Native American – North, Central, South
    1% Italy
    1% Eastern Afric
    1% Africa South-Central
    1% North Africa

    I’d like to get your opinion on these results. I’ve read that majority of the Louisiana slaves were either Congolese (unknown ethnicity) or Bambara. One of my direct ancestors (Marie Thereze CoinCoin) was said to have been Ewe from Togo. I’ve found an Igbo relative on my mother’s side who says his family has never been to America…in fact, he immigrated here a few years ago and does not know how he and I are connected (I found him through Gedmatch). Even though he says he’s FULL IGBO, his Gedmatch results have made him mostly Hausa. Obviously, it’s been easier pinpointing family origins on my father’s side due to all of the European mixing, but my mother’s has been quite difficult. Her initial results gave her 25% Nigerian but after this update Nigerian isn’t even in her results anymore and her top region is Cameroon/Congo at 31%.
    I can talk about this stuff all day! I hope to hear from you soon and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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