In 1519 the Spanish Governor Pedrarias the Cruel, moved his capital away from the debilitating climate and unfriendly AmerIndians of the Darién to a fishing village on the Pacific coast called Panama, meaning “plenty of fish.” It was resettled and until the end of the sixteenth century served as the Caribbean port for trans-isthmian traffic. A trail known as the Camino Real, or royal road, linked Panama and Nombre de Dios. Along this trail, traces of which can still be followed, gold from Peru was carried by muleback to Spanish galleons waiting on the Atlantic coast.
The increasing importance of the isthmus for transporting treasure and the delay and difficulties posed by the Camino Real inspired surveys ordered by the Spanish crown in the 1520s and 1530s to ascertain the feasibility of constructing a canal. The idea was finally abandoned Continue reading →
5 things you didn’t know about the Suez Canal
By Nina Awad, 2015
On Nov. 17, 1869, the historic Suez Canal officially started operating and forever changed international shipping by allowing vessels to sail through 101 mile long waterway. The Suez Canal took a little more than 15 years to be planned and built. The construction was repeatedly interrupted by political disputes, shortages in laborers and a cholera outbreak.
Check out these fascinating facts about the Suez Canal.
1. The idea of a canal originated from ancient Egypt
According to History In The Headlines, the Suez Canal is one of the most recent of multiple man-made waterways in Egypt. Senusret III, an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, reportedly built a canal to connect the Red Sea and the Nile River in 1850 B.C. Another Egyptian Pharaoh, Necho II, and the Persian conqueror Darius began and later abandoned work on a similar project. Continue reading →
15 Things You Did Not Know about the History of Black People in London before 1948
By Charmaine Simpson, December 2012
The presence of Africans in England dates back to at least the Roman period when African soldiers who served as part of the Roman army were stationed at Hadrian’s Wall during the 2nd century CE. Septimus Severus, the emperor who was born in Libya, spent his last three years in Britain before he died in York in 211 CE.
I will present 15 facts aimed at raising the level of knowledge, and uncovering the hidden histories, of people of African and Caribbean descent who have contributed to London before 1948.
1. The earliest known [public] record of a Black person living in London is of “Cornelius a Blackamoor” whose burial on 2nd March 1593 was recorded in the parish register at St Margaret’s Church in Lee. Continue reading →
White [r]acists have been funding black activists’ ‘Back to Africa’ movements
By Keisha N. Blain, 2016
One man’s GoFundMe dares racists to put their money where their mouth is
In a new twist on the age old racist call to “go back to Africa,” a black man in Indiana just created a GoFundMe page daring racists to cover his travel expenses to the continent. “If you want me to go back to Africa,” Larry Mitchell says, “I will gladly go.” Telling white racists to “put their money where their mouth is,” Mitchell called on members of the [Klan] and anyone else who shared their views to submit a donation.
It sounds like a stunt (and according to Mitchell it started as one), but for many years this kind of move was a real political strategy employed by black activists. Continue reading →
THE MEMOIRS OF ABD-ALLAH AL-GHADEMISI OF KANO, 1903-1908. PART I: THE BRITISH CONQUEST OF KANO
By MUHAMMAD SANI UMAR AND JOHN HUNWICK, in: Sudanic Africa, 7, 1996, 61-96
These native servants are the quintessence of loyalty, and devotion, and as time goes on, I am to find out that without them Nigeria would have been untenable by the white man. – F.P. Crozier, Five Years Hard, London 1932, 72-3.
Some time in 1902 a young man named Abd-Allah arrived in Kano, ‘from the north’, presumably from Ghadames. We know nothing of the circumstances of his arrival, or of his ancestry. The document translated below is currently our only source of information on him. In it he describes himself as a ‘student’, but it is not clear in what sense he uses that term. There is no indication that he came to Kano to study, but we know that some years later he was acting as a clerk for his paternal uncles in Kano, who were evidently merchants.Continue reading →
Alternative Titles: Great Colombia, Republic of Colombia, Republic of Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia, formal name Republic of Colombia, a short-lived republic (1819–30) formerly the Viceroyalty of New Granada, including roughly the modern nations of Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador.
In the context of their war for independence from Spain, revolutionary forces in northern South America, led by Simón Bolívar, in 1819 laid the basis for a regular government at a congress in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela).
Their republic was definitely organized at the Congress of Cúcuta in 1821. Before then the government had been military and highly centralized with direct executive power exercised by regional vice presidents while President Bolívar was campaigning. Continue reading →