Enslaved African Royals

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was a tragic event that affected all strata of African Society including African Royals who also fell into Slavery.

Below are Five African Royals who were taken as Slaves.

Prince Abdul Rahman

The first African Royal is Prince Abdul Rahman al Rahim Abansuri.

Abdul Rahman’s was a Fulani Prince from the region of modern-day Guinea in West Africa. He was very intelligent and a well learned African who spoke four different languages.

He could also read and write in Arabic.

After he finished his studies he joined his father’s army, who made him the head of a 2,000 man army in charge of protecting the Coast.

it was during one of Abdul Rahman’s military campaigns that he was captured and sold into slavery to the British who brought him to Mississippi where he labored on the cotton plantation of Thomas Foster.

After 40 years, he was able to write letter to his relatives in Africa, and a Dutchman named Andrew Marschalk was kind enough to send it to a US Senator Thomas Reed of Mississippi Thomas who passed it onto the US Consulate in Morocco because the US government assumed Abdul Rahman was a Moor.

After the Sultan of Morocco read the letter, he requested Prince Abdul Rahman’s release.

Unfortunately, Prince Abdul Rahman could not return to to his homeland, and eventually settled in Liberia.

Princess Anne Tamo-Guna

The next African Royal is Princess Anne Tamo-Guna of Senegal. At the tender age of 13 she was captured and sent to Cuba where she was purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley, a slave trader and Plantation Owner of the Spanish Colony of Florida.

At the age of 18 she was officially freed, managed a large plantation and became the personal owner of 12 slaves in East Florida.

She defended her territory from invading Americans, and was awarded a land grant by the Spanish government.

She died in Jacksonville Florida at  77 years of age.

Prince William Ansah Sessarakoo

The next African royal is Prince William Ansah Sessarakoo.

Prince William Ansah Sessarakoo was the son of a Fante Chief in Southern Ghana whose father supplied Slaves to Europeans.

His Father wanted him to get educated in England, and more importantly to build relationships that would benefit the Kingdom.

In order to achieve this, he decided to send his to England in the care of Englishman John Conti who betrayed the King’s trust by selling the King’s Son into Slavery in Barbados.

Some years later, another Slave Trader saw the unfortunate Prince in Barbados, and quickly alerted the Father of his son’s fate.

The King petitioned the British to free his Son, who was freed and transported to England where he was received as a Prince in London’s High Society.

King Taki

Our next African royal is King Taki of Ghana, ruler of the Fonte people in central Ghana who had frequent military encounters with his enemies the Ashanti whom he regularly sold into Slavery.

He was sold into Slavery after he lost a battle against the Ashanti and was taken to Jamaica.

In Jamaica, his spirit of resistance led him to conspire with Queen Nani of Jamaicato take over the island of Jamaica in a war with the British.

in 1760 Chief Taki and his men started a revolt at their Plantation, killing the Owners and finding a lot of early success.

Many slaves joined the rebellion, however the rebellion was eventually suppressed after the leader was hunted down and executed. 

Ganga Zumba

Finally, our last African Royal is Ganga Zumba.

Ganga Zumba was the first leader of a massive runaway slave settlement in Brazil.

Zumba was an enslaved African who escaped bondage on a sugar plantation, and eventually rose to a position of high authority by literally creating his own Kingdom in Brazil.

This tremendous achievement gave him the title Ganga Zumba meaning Great Lord.

Ganga was said to be African royalty born to a Princess from the Congo Empire who was captured and sent to Brazil after losing in a battle against the Portuguese.

Ganga helped to form a rural community of former enslaved Africans in Brazil which later formed into a well organized Kingdom in which he became King.

By the 1670s, Ganga Zumba had a Palace with three wives, guards, ministers and devoted subjects at his Brazilian Royal compound.

Conclusion

From the above stories, its clear that Slavery affected all people and social classes in Africa.

In some instances, those of Royal lineage were able to regain some semblance of their old lives back in the New World, but its safe to say for the majority, it ended in tragedy.

In the words of the King of Congo to the Portuguese King in protest of the Slave Trade:

“each day the traitors are kidnapping our people.

Children of this country, Sons of our nobles and vassals and even people of our own family.

This corruption and depravity are so widespread that our land is entirely depopulated……..

it is our wish that this kingdom not be a place for the trade or transport of slaves.

Many of our subjects eagerly lust after Portuguese merchandise that your subjects have brought into our domains, and to satisfy this appetite they sieze many of our free subjectst and sell them after having taken them Prisoner secretly or at night…”