The Races of Man: An Outline of Anthropology and Ethnography By Joseph Deniker

Trarza Moor of the Senegal


“The nomadic or settled Moors of the western Sahara, extending from Morocco to the Senegal (the Traza, the Brakna, etc.) speak Arabic and “Zenagha,” which is a Berber dialect.” “These are Berbers more or less crossed with Negro blodd. It must further be observed that the name of Moors is very wrongly applied to the Mussulmun inhabitants of the towns of Algeria and Tunis and to the Riffians of Morocco.”” The Fellaheen, Mussulmans (635,600 in 1894) of the lower valley of the Nile (as far as the first cataract), mixed descendants of the ancient Egyptians, must be included among the Arabo-Berbers because they have preserved intact the type of the primitive Egyptians, fundamentally Ethiopian, so well represented on various monuments in the valley of the Nile.”



“The ancient Egyptian language is preserved, however, under the form of the Coptic dialect which, until quite recent times, served as the liturgicial language to the Christian section of the inhabitnts of lower Egypt, known by the name of the Copts (5000,000 in 1894; cephalic index 76, according to Chantre). We must likewise add to the Arabo-Berber group the Barabara (in the singular Berberi) inhabiting to the number of about 180,000 the part of the Nile Valley situated between the first and fourth cataract.” 



“The peoples living between the Hausa on the east and the Mandingans on the west are still little known, and seem to be much mixed. Quite to the north, in the bend of the Niger, below Timbuctoo, are found the Songhai or Sonrhays, who speak a language apart, and in the north are mixed with the Ruma “Moors,” emigrants from Morocco, and in the south with the Fulahs.



“The true zone in which the cowry circulates is, however, tropical Africa; the fact is explained by its rarity, for the shell not being known in the Atlantic, it is only by commercial relations that it could have been propagated from east to west across the continent, from Zanzibar to the Senegal, and these commercial relations must have existed for a long period, for Cadmosto and other Portuguese travellers of the fifteenth century mention the use of the cowry as money among the “Moors” of the Senegal.”

Source: The Races of Man: An Outline of Anthropology and Ethnography By Joseph Deniker

Abdel Kader Kane: Moorish Abolitionist (1770s-1800s)

“Abdel Kader Kane was a Moorish leader of the Futa Toro region in Northern Senegal is renowned for having resisted the slave trade.”

Source: The Untold Story of African Resistance Against the Slave Trade

“In the 18th century, Senegambia was bitterly contested for slave-trading purposes by France and Great Britain. But a third power, the Islamic theocracy of Futa Toro on the Senegal River, rose to prominence and opposed both foreign powers while seeking to put an end to the transatlantic slave trade and slavery.Among other compelling topics, Ware discussed the fierce resistance to the enslavement and deportation to the Americas of the so-called “Walking Qur’an”, the memorizers of the Holy Book; and how the Almamy –the Muslim ruler– Abdul Kader Kane of Futa Toro preceded Western abolitionists in his efforts to end the slave trade and slavery, and was acknowledged as a pioneer in that regard by British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.”

Source: European Powers, Islamic Movements, and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The army of Futa Tooro, 1820, by Ambroise Tardieu (1788-1841), engraving, France, 19th century.

“In 1776 they established the independent theocracy of Futa Toro. Kane was elected as almami, and in July the vibrant movement in the islamic states of Bundu and Futa Toro were determine to put an end to the selling of their coreligionists  and subjugated the French slave convoys.  in 1788, Abdel Kader Kane in particular was determined to make sure he was determined to force the law. A French slave convoy was stopped by his men and ultimately freed 90 men. Furthermore  the persistence of the French in the region he wrote a letter that would strike terror in the hearts of the people. The letter was directed to the governor in Saint-Louis, dated March 1789.”

“We are warning you that all those who will come to our land to trade in slaves will be killed or massacred if you do not send our children back. Would not somebody who was very hungry abstain from eating if he had to eat something cooked with his blood?  We absolutely do not want you to buy Muslims under any circumstances. I repeat that if your intention is to always buy Muslims you should stay home and not come to our country anymore. Because all those who will come can be assured that they will lose their life”

Source: Islam, Arabs and Slavery part 2

“Khaly Amar Fall, founded the Islamic school of higher learning, Pir, in 1611. It trained many of the elite Islamic scholars in the sub-region, including the Almamy of Futa Toro Abdel Kader Kane, who mounted a vigorous opposition to the slave trade in the late-eighteenth century.”

Source: An Interview with Sylviane A. Diouf


“In 1831, Omar ibn Said, a Senegalese trader and Qur’anic teacher enslaved in North Carolina,  wrote his autobiography in Arabic. It is the only known surviving slave narrative written in that language in the Americas. Like another 92,000 Senegambian victims of the transatlantic slave trade, Omar ibn Said—born in 1770 in a wealthy and erudite family—was transported to the United States. He landed in Charleston in the last months of 1807, just before the official (if not effective) end of the trade. He ran away and was captured in North Carolina where he spent the rest of his life.”Omar was made a prisoner during a war to depose Abdul Kader Kane, the Almamy (Muslim leader) of the northern region of Futa Toro. Like other rulers, scholars—a number of whom were later enslaved in the Americas—and 19th century combatants against French colonization, Kane had studied at Pir.  

Source: The Autobiography in Arabic of a Senegalese Enslaved in North Carolina


Moors In Colonial Louisiana

“When the African slave trade to Lousiana began, the Company of the Indies’ control over its Senegal concession was weak and was challenged by African nations as well as by its European rivals. During the early and mid-1720s, the French and the Dutch fought over Arguin Islan, the center of the trade of Arabic gum collected in the forests of Morocco. The gum trade was considered far more profitable than the trade in slaves. The Moors sided with the Dutch. The English had a trading post at Fort James in the Gambia River and were quite active there. The Portuguese had a long tradition of control at Bissau, and the Company of the Indies’ trading post there was under great pressure.” 

“The Bambara brought to Lousiana during the 1720s had been captured during warfare among Bambara kingdoms at the early stage of the formation of the Segu empire under Mamari Kulubali, who ruled from 1712 to 1755. The export of Bambara slaves peaked during warfare in Bambara. In contrast, when peace reigned, the slave trade from Galam to St. Louis was badly disrupted. In 1721, Galam sent few slaves, and those have been of poor quality, even though the trading post had received good and adequate trade merchandise. St. Robert explained that “no slave caravans arrived… the Bambara who are almost always at war among themselves…were all obliged to unite to protect their country against the Moors of Morocco whom they chased out of their country after having defeated them twice. The said Moors, upon withdrawing, boasted that they would soon come back with an army big enough to destroy the Bambara entirely. This obliges the countries of Bambara to live in harmony and join forces to oppose the Moroccans whom they expect.”

“If the slave trade from Senegal to Lousiana got a late start, it was not for lack of trying. As soon as the Company of the Indies took control of Lousiana, it devoted serious attention to supplying the colony with slaves from the Senegal concession. In October 1720, its directors informed Senegal that it had sent le Comte de Toulouse with well-assorted trade goods, principally to strengthen Galam and stimulate trade there. Le Comte de Toulouse was to be sent quickly to Lousiana with a “cargo” of slaves. Le Marechal d Estrees had picked up its cargo of wine, liquor, and foods at Bordeaux, and this vessel was also to be sent to Lousiana with slaves. Any ship seized from interlopers was to be likewise sent to Lousiana with slaves and its papers sent to France for confiscation proceedings. After retaking Fortd‘ Arguin, the French were to enslave any Moors taken prisoner, send them to Senegal, keep them in shackles, and transport them to Lousiana on the first available ship. Aside from the four ships sent to Juda during 1720, three ships were reportedly sent to Madagascar in June of the same year to load slaves for Louisiana.”

“Few of these projects materialized. There is no record of any interloper seized and sent to Louisiana with slaves. There is no evidence that any ships from Madagascar arrived in Louisiana. The Moors taken at For d’Arguin were not deported and enslaved: They were needed there to cut wood and to make salt. The French were afraid of antagonizing all the Moors if they enslaved those who had turned Arguin Island over to the Dutch. The Moors (called “cette Morvaille“) still had not forgotten the affair of M. Ducas, who had taken Moorish captives to French islands. Instead of enslaving Moorish captives, the French decided to try to win over that nation with kindness. In order to attract and control the Moors, it was proposed to hire Boaly, a great Marabout (Muslim holy man) and an interpreter at Portendic. Le Ruby was the first slave trade ship that arrived in Lousiana from the Senegal concession. It left Le Havre in December 1719, and Goree in May 1720, with 130 slaves, arriving in Louisiana in July 1720, with 127 slaves.”

“The French had great difficulties with the Moors along the coast. The pilot of le St. Louis wrote, “The Moors there behave very badly, and we can never land without risking several attacks by this bunch of Moors who are without pity when they can take advantage of us, whom they hate more than the other nations.” Before leg St. Louis left Senegal, a war had broken out in Galam with King Braque and had extended all along the Senegal River.”

See Africans In Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Revised Edition


Iberian Moors migrated into West Africa 1492

Moor, 1) Muslim of North Africa. Although often assumed to be a black race, in fact, the Moors were of Berber and Arab descent, mixed with considerable Negroid and Iberian blood. The word probably derives from Mauri, L. by way of Gr. for ‘dark men.’ Their native lands constituted parts of Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania. One theory is that the name originally derives from Berber Amazigh, ‘freemen,’ referring to their nomadic existence, and in Greek times came to mean anyone with dark skin. By the Middle Ages the term came to be applied to any Muslims (similarly, all Europeans were called Franks in the Mohammadean world). Since Moors were thought of as being dark skinned, the word was also used generally to apply to blacks, although light-skinned Moors were well known. The word ‘blackamoor’ was also common, which implies a distinction from lighter-skinned Moors.

In any case, attitudes to race were much different then because there had been so little direct contact between the population of England and the ‘exotic races. There was also no long history of the disgusting racist theories which still burden the modern world. There were celebrity Moors in London, but the overall awareness would be of a faraway people, who to a greater or lesser degree were allied with the enemies of Christendom. After their early history (see Mauritania), the Moors were overrun by the Arabs in the 7th c., who replaced their religion and language and formed a dynamic culture. In the 8th c. the Moors defeated the Visigoths and conquered Spain.

Their attempt to move north into France was turned back by Charles Martel in 732, though they conquered Sicily in 827. Gradually the Christian reconquest drove them back until the only Moorish stronghold in Spain, Granada, fell in 1492.“The Iberian Moors, who had considerably intermarried, returned to Africa where they were known as Andalusians, and scattered over the enormous range of the Moors, from the Mediterranean to the Senegal river, and from the Atlantic to Timbuktu.” 

Source:  The Shakespeare Name Dictionary By J. Madison Davis, Daniel A. Frankforter

“Ever since the Andalusians had turned on alMutawakkil, however, al-Mansur had held them in suspicious respect, even going so far as to have a spy monitor them at the Battle of Wadi al-Makazin. After having their leader, al-Dughali, disposed of he retained substantial Andalusian troops, but drew his senior commanders from the ranks of the renegados, who commanded what was essentially a standing professional army of twenty-six thousand troops, with another twenty-five thousand scattered throughout the country.  Smith, Ahmad al-Mansur, 52. This of course changed over time. By 1602, according to Weston F. Cook, something resembling a standing national army consisted of some fifty thousand men under al-Mansur’s direct command stationed around Marrakech. Discrete units made up of Turks, Algerians, and Andalusians remained, with commanders drawn from their ranks and well as from those of renegados. Most of the cavalry were Moroccans organized by region or as jaysh tribes. By the end of his reign al-Mansur had also introduced black Sudanese slaves to the army. Cook, The Hundred Years War, 261.”

Source: MOROCCO IN THE EARLY ATLANTIC WORLD, 1415-1603 A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History By Earnest W. Porta, Jr., J.D