African ethnonyms in Dominican historical sources: 1547-1606
Estimated number of Africans: 9,648 – 30,000
African origins specified: 79
TOP 3 BREAKDOWN OF AFRICAN BORN SLAVES
“Bran” (Guiné Bissau) 15 – 19% of African specified
“Zape” (Sierra Leone) 15 – 19% of African specified
“Biafara” (Guiné Bissau) 10 – 12% of African specified
Source: Deive (1980, p.239).
Even though this summary is based on a rather small sized dataset (n=79) and reflecting only a limited timespan, there are many indications from other Hispanic American countries to confirm these 3 ethnic groups from Upper Guinea having a significant presence in the Dominican Republic throughout the 1500’s. But they were not the only ones in that particular timeperiod of course and in later decades/centuries the ethnic compostion of Africans within Hispaniola would change constantly with other ethnic origins from Lower Guinea and Central Africa becoming more prevalent.
Mandinga/Mandingo is undoubtedly one of the best known African ethnonyms in the Afro-Diaspora. Not only in the USA but also in the Hispanic Americas, Brazil and Cape Verde the Mandinga name is still alive in popular imagination but with very different associations it must be noted 😉 Nowadays in Brazil it is used to refer to a distinct capoeira style. In Cape Verde the socalled Mandinga parades are part of carnival celebrations. While in some Hispanic countries (Peru, Puerto Rico) there still exists a popular saying which goes: “El que no tiene (de) Inga tiene Mandinga“, meaning Continue reading
In the previous posts i have established that:
- most of the slave trade that passed through Cape Verde took place in the 1500’s/1600’s
- involved people from the Upper Guinea region
- with destinations in the Hispanic Americas
- only northern Brazil had significant Upper Guinean slave imports in the 1700’s/1800’s
- a separate Cape Verdean diaspora arrived in the Americas out of their free will, most of them living in the USA but many also residing in Argentina.
This brings me to my next question: to what degree do African Americans and Cape Verdeans show overlap in their African ethnic/regional origins? Continue reading
It’s important to keep in mind that the slaves/captives reexported via Cape Verde mostly in the 1500’s/1600’s were almost always enslaved Africans born on the mainland and not born on the islands themselves. Cape Verde being known for turning African born slaves into “seasoned” Ladino slaves (baptism + basic Portuguese/Creole language skills). Besides the Ladino’s and the socalled Bozales (“fresh of the boat” slaves) a third distinction was made (according to Sandoval 1624) of socalled Naturales, that is Cape Verde born slaves. Continue reading
Cape Verde was used by the Portuguese in the 1500’s/1600’s as a midway station for collecting, “seasoning” and reexporting captives born in Upper Guinea to the labour-starved cities, mines and plantations of the Spanish Carribean, Central America, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Unlike what you might have expected very few slaves exported via Cape Verde were actually going to Brazil in this particular time period. Continue reading
This post is meant to be introductory as i intend to blog much more in future posts about Cape Verdean ethnic roots on the continent as well as its shared ancestral connections with other Afro-diasporeans in the Americas. In fact i’ve just recently created a separate website (www.cvraiz.com) focusing exclusively on specifying the African Ethnic Origins for Cape Verdeans. Here’s the link for it: