Mes: septiembre 2012

Negroland and Guinea with the European Settlements, Explaining what belongs to England, Holland, Denmark, etc’


Full title: ‘Negroland and Guinea with the European Settlements, Explaining what belongs to England, Holland, Denmark, etc’.

By H. Moll Geographer (Printed and sold by T. Bowles next ye Chapter House in St. Pauls Church yard, & I. Bowles at ye Black Horse in Cornhill, 1729, orig. published in 1727).

The Slave Coast is the name of the coastal areas of present Togo, Benin (formerly Dahomey) and western Nigeria, a fertile region of coastal Western Africa along the Bight of Benin.

In pre-colonial times it was one of the most densely populated parts of the African continent. It became one of the most important export centers for the Atlantic slave trade from the early 16th century to the 19th century.

Other West African regions historically known by their prime colonial export are Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana), Ivory Coast (modern-day Côte d’Ivoire), and Pepper Coast (or Grain Coast, in modern-day Liberia).

According to most research, the beginnings of the slave trade in this area are not well documented. It is difficult to track the development of trade in this area and its integration into the Atlantic slave trades before about 1670, when European sources begin to document this interaction.

The slave trade became so extensive in the 18th and 19th centuries that an “Atlantic community” was formed.

The slave trade was facilitated on the European end by the Portuguese (mostly by Portuguese Empire’s Brazilians), the Dutch, the French and the British. Slaves went to the New World, mostly to Brazil and the Caribbean. Ports that exported these slaves from Africa include Ouidah, Lagos, Aného (Little Popo), Grand-Popo, Agoué, Jakin, Porto-Novo, and Badagry.

These ports traded in slaves that were supplied by African communities, tribes and kingdoms, including the Alladah and Ouidah, which were later taken over by the Dahomey kingdom.

Researchers estimate that between 2 and 3 million slaves were exported out of this region and were traded for goods like alcohol and tobacco from the Americas and textiles from Europe.

This complex exchange fostered political and cultural as well as commercial connections between these three regions. Religions, architectural styles, languages, knowledge, and other new goods were mingled at this time. Slaves as well as free men used the exchange routes to travel to new places which aided in hybridizing European and African cultures.

Intermarriage has been documented in ports like Ouidah where Europeans were permanently stationed. Communication was quite extensive between all three areas of trade, to the point where even individual slaves could be tracked.

After slavery had been abolished by European countries, the slave trade continued for a time with independent traders (instead of government agents). Cultural integration had become so extensive that the defining characteristics of each culture were increasingly broadened.

In the case of Brazilian culture—which had differentiated itself from Portuguese culture through its combination of African, Portuguese and New World traditions—Brazilian-style dress, cuisine and speaking Portuguese had become the main requirements for Brazilian identity, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or geographic location.

Emperor Norton


Emperor Norton

Joshua Abraham Norton, the self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco, California, who in 1859 proclaimed himself “Emperor of these United States.”

Born in England, Norton immigrated to San Francisco in 1849 after receiving a bequest of $40,000 from his father’s estate. He lost his fortune investing in Peruvian rice. After losing a lawsuit in which he tried to void his rice contract, Norton left San Francisco.

He returned a few years later, apparently mentally unbalanced, claiming to be the Emperor of the United States. Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented.

Norton spent his days inspecting San Francisco’s streets in an elaborate blue uniform with gold-plated epaulets. Although penniless, he regularly ate at the finest restaurants in San Francisco; restaurateurs took it upon themselves to add brass plaques in their entrances declaring “[b]y Appointment to his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States.” Such “Imperial seals of approval” were prized and a substantial boost to trade. No play or musical performance in San Francisco would dare to open without reserving balcony seats for Norton.

On January 8, 1880, Norton collapsed at a street corner, and died before he could be given medical treatment. The following day, nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage to Norton.

[Thanks to lexgurst]

The Kanem-Bornu Empire

The Court at Kanem-Bornu, ca. 1700 people of North Eastern NigeriaBritish view of a


The Kanem-Bornu Empire was a large African state which existed from the 9th century through the end of the 19th century and which spanned a region which today includes the modern-day countries of Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria. The empire was founded by the Zaghawa nomadic people, who may have been the first in the central Sudan to acquire and make use of iron technology and horses.

Kanem was situated north east of Lake Chad. Its early origins are thought to lie in the 7th century with the settlement of the Zaghawa people. In the early 11th century, the Kanuri-speaking Sefawa dynasty was established, displacing the Zaghawa.

The empire was first mentioned by Arab chroniclers in the 9th century, and by the 10th century the ruler of Kanem had control of the Kawar Oases, a vital economic asset. The political structure of the  Kanem empire had most likely grown out of rival states coming under the control of the Zaghawa. In the 11th century the Zaghawa clans were driven out by Humai ibn Salamna, who founded the kingdom of Kanem with a capital at Njimi. The Saifwa dynasty was established, a dynasty which ruled for 771 years—-the longest known reign in history.

Saifwa rulers (known as mais) claimed they were descended from a heroic Arabic figure, and the dynasty greatly expanded the influence of Islam, making it the religion of the court. Wealth came largely through trade, especially in slaves, which was facilitated by the empire’s position near important North-South trade routes.

Kanem converted to Islam under the ruler Hu or Hawwa (1067-71). There is some speculation that this ruler might have been a woman. The faith was not widely embraced until the 13th century. Certainly, Muslim traders would have played a role in bringing Islam to Kanem.

The wealth of Kanem derived from the ability of its rulers to control trade in the region. Their main exports were ostrich feathers, slaves and ivory. Their exports were crucial to their power and ability to dominate their neighbour. They rode horses, which they imported from the north.

Kanem reached the height of its power under the long rule of Mai Dunama Dibalami (1210-1248). His cavalry numbered over 40,000. But over the next hundred years, a combination of overgrazing, dynastic uncertainties and attacks from neighbours led the rulers of Kanem to move to Borno, which had previously paid tribute to Kanem. At this point, the state is sometimes referred to as Kanem-Borno.

Bornu expanded territorially and commercially, but increasing threats from other rival states, drought, trade problems, and rebellious Fulani groups eroded state control. Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi, a Muslim cleric, eventually defeated the rebellious Fulani and built a new capital at Kukawa in 1814.

His successors ended the Saifwa dynasty and the Kanem-Bornu Empire when they killed the last mai in 1846. Al-Kanemi’s Shehu dynasty was short-lived, and succeeded by slaver and warlord Rabih Zubayr, who was defeated by the French in 1900.

(sources 1, 2)

Latinos In The United States Civil War (Part II)


Latinos In The United States Civil War (Part II)

Today we visit the story of Loreta Janeta Velázquez (aka Lt. Harry T. Buford), cross dressing Cuban Confederate soldier and spy. Born to a wealthy family in Havana in 1842 and educated in New Orleans, she married a Texan military officer who joined the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Velázquez also went on to join the Army, disguising herself as a man and taking the name Harry T. Buford. The only source of her story is the book The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velázquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T Buford, Confederate States Army, which she herself published in 1876. There she claimed to have met both Abraham Lincoln and Brigham Young and detailed her participation in various Civil War battles, including Bull Run, Ball’s Bluff, and Fort Donelson. Velázquez also claimed to have worked as a spy, in both male and female disguises, during and after the war. The veracity of her claims have been called into question from the time of her book’s publication. Nevertheless, her story has endured over the years, even being featured on a History Channel documentary and on the official website for the United States Army.



Sinbad was a beloved mascot and formal member of the crew of the US Coast Guard cutter Campbell, from 1938 to 1949, complete with enlistment forms and official paperwork, uniform and his very own bunk. The dog saw action during WWII at sea and in port. He earned the total affection of the crew when the Campbell saw battle against the German submarine, U-606, on 22 February 1943 when the mascot stayed aboard the ship while all but necessary personnel to mend the cutter were evacuated.

Pictured here: Sinbad sits atop one of the guns aboard the cutter – 1944

Gilles Garnier: The Werewolf of Dole


Gilles Garnier: The Werewolf of Dole

Gilles Garnier was a French hermit and cannibalistic, serial murderer convicted of being a werewolf.

He was a recluse living outside the town of Dole in France. He had recently been married and moved his new wife out to his isolated home. Being unaccustomed to feeding more than just himself he found it difficult to provide for her. During this period several children went missing or were found dead and the authorities issued an edict encouraging and allowing the people to apprehend and kill the werewolf [they supposed] responsible. One evening a group of workers traveling from a neighboring town came upon what they thought in the dim light to be a wolf, but what some recognized as the hermit, with the body of a dead child. Soon after Garnier was arrested.

According to his testimony at trial, while Garnier was in the forest hunting one night trying to find food for himself and his wife, a spectre appeared to him offering to ease his troubles and gave him a magic ointment that would allow him to change into the form of a wolf, making it easier to hunt. Garnier confessed to have stalked and murdered at least four children between the ages of 9 and 12. In October 1572, his first victim was a 10-year-old girl whom he dragged into a vineyard outside of Dole. He strangled her, removed her clothes, and ate the flesh from her thighs and arms. When he had finished he removed some flesh and took it home to his wife. Weeks later Garnier savagely attacked another girl, biting and clawing her, but was interrupted by passersby and fled. The girl succumbed to her injuries a few days later. In November, Garnier killed a 10-year-old boy, again cannibalizing him by eating from his thighs and belly and tearing off a leg to save for later. Finally, he strangled another boy but was interrupted for the second time by a group of passersby. He had to abandon his prey before he could eat from it.

Garnier was found guilty of “crimes of lycanthropy and witchcraft” and burned at the stake.

[Image: is pretty much unrelated. It apparently shows a medieval werewolf hunt, so t’old Gilles is about a century out, but it looks nice if nothing else]

The Mystery of the Iron Pillar Of Delhi, 375-413 AD


The Mystery of the Iron Pillar Of Delhi, 375-413 AD

This Iron Pillar, also known as Ashokan pillar, is near the Outub Minar Complex in Delhi, India. It was commissioned by the emperor Kumara Gupta I of the Gupta Dynasty (320-540) and was transplanted to Delhi during the 10th century. The pillar weighs more than six tons.

This pillar is of great interest to people because of the fact that it is extremely resistant to corrosion. Weathering and harsh, alternating dry and wet conditions do not affect this pillar. It does not even rust. This is because of its curious chemical metallic nature made of 98% pure wrought iron. Its ability to withstand corrosion has confused many scientist for over 1,600 years.