JaJa was born in 1821 in Igboland Nigeria, information suggests that his birth name is Mbanaso Okwaraozurumbaa, and at the age of twelve he was sold to the slave trader Chief Allison of the city of Bonny, Nigeria. Jaja’s name was changed from his birth name to Jubo Jubogha by Chief Allison. He would be sold again to Chief Madu, the head of the Poubo Annie Pepple Royal House; because he was an imported slave he was regarded as a lower class slave. Jaja was the name the British gave him and it is also the name that would stick with him to longest. The slave systems of Bonny were classified as socio-political institutions where a person can be a slave and work their way to becoming the head of state; this slave system was vastly different from the chattel slave systems of North America. Jaja began working as a peddler on the trade canoes of Chief Madu, he would also show how knowledgeable he was about business and trade. Chief Madu was so impressed that he promoted Jaja from a peddler on the trade canoe to an actual successful tradesman.
According to Hawaiian legend a great king would unite the Islands, when a comet appears in the sky. 1758 Hailey’s comet was visible from the Hawaiian Islands; shortly after was the birth of Paiea (Kamehameha). He was born to parents Keoua his father and Keku’Iapoiwa his mother; his father was ali’i (Chief) of a region of the Island of Hawai’i. Kamehameha was the great grandson of Keaweikekahiali`iokamoku, the ruler of a large portion of the Island, after his death war broke out between his son’s Ke`eaumoku, Kalaninui`amamao, and a rival chief, Alapa`inuiakauaua. After the battle Alapa`inuiakauaua emerged victorious, and seized control of the island. After the birth of Kamehameha, Alapa`inuiakauaua ordered the death of Kamehameha because he was afraid of the legend.
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Hannibal Barca was born in 247 BCE as a son of the Empire of Carthage, which encompassed all of North Africa and Southern Spain. Hannibal was the son of the great Carthaginian military leader Hamilcar Barca. Hamilcar lead the Carthaginian army in the First Punic War against Rome. Carthage suffered an embarrassing loss to the Romans which included loss of control the city of Sicily. It is widely stated that as a youth Hannibal’s father instilled within him an unrelenting hatred for Rome. When Hannibal was 17 Carthage was able to conquer Hispania which is now the modern day Iberian Peninsula. During the conquest Hamilcar drowned and Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal the Fair became the commander of the army. This victory was able to expand the Carthaginian Empire which remained a formidable opponent for Rome. Hasdrubal further strengthened the numbers of Carthage by intermarrying the Carthaginians with the conquered Iberians.
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The Freedom Train Network is celebrating black women for the entire month of May. So we will be celebrating and teaching you about great black women of the African diaspora. This episode we are focusing on "4 Women of Virtue": Queen Nefertiti, Sojourner Truth, Carlota Lukumi, and Marie-Joseph Angélique.
Nefertiti was an Egyptian woman born around 1390 BCE who would become the Queen to Pharaoh Akhenaten. The name Nefertiti means "a beautiful woman has come," which was fitting because she was well known for her beauty. The identity of her parents is unknown in most circles, and little is known about her early life. She became the wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who would change his name to Akhenaten because they were followers of Aten. Nefertiti would take on a name change as well, she was known as “Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti” which means “Beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a beautiful woman has come.” Akhenaten made a radical change in converting his kingdom to the following of Aten.
In 1797 a young girl named Isabella was born into slavery in Ulster County, New York. Her parents were James and Betsey and they were owned by Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh. As a young girls Isabella did not speak English, she only spoke what is called low Dutch and she could not read or write. Isabella would marry a man named Thomas who was also enslaved at the time; together the couple produced five children. Between 1815 and 1826 she was sold to four different slave owners on four different occasions. In 1826, Isabella had enough and decided to escape slavery and claim her freedom.
In the early 1800’s a young girl named Carlota was kidnaped from her Yoruba village in Nigeria and transported to Mantanzas, Cuba. While living in Cuba, she was sold to a sugarcane plantation in Triumvarato where the conditions were poor and inhumane. Carlota was strong willed and vigilant, she refused to let her conditions break her. In 1843 Carlota met a fellow slave girl named Fermina who planned an uprising. Carlota was willing and able to help Fermina raid the plantation to gain their freedom. Unfortunately, the plantation owners learned of Fermina’s plans, she was beaten and locked in jail. Carlota was not deterred by Fermia’s incarceration; she used the talking drum to communicate to the others of her plans. The slaves would often use their drums as safe way to communicate to each other. Using the drums Carlota organized a raid on the plantation which helped to free Fermina and others from jail.
During the 1730’s a young slave girl named Marie-Joseph Angelique would start a rebellion history would never forget. Angelique was the property of François Poulin of Montreal; little is known about the history of slavery in Canada. She was a slave girl who was being prepared to become a mating partner with a fellow slave. Angelique was a woman of sound mind and she was resistant to the demands of her master. She was also engaged in a relationship with a white indentured servant named Claude Thibault from France.
In April of 711 AD, Tariq led his army to what is now known as Gibraltar. The name “Rock of Gibraltar” derived from the Arabic name Jabal al Tariq; meaning rock of Tariq. The Straights of Gibraltar were also named after Tariq, the Moore who conquered Spain. Tariq’s army consisted of 12,000 soldiers and they met the Army of Roderick containing 100,000 soldiers at the Battle of Guadelete. Before battle Tariq gathered his troops and delivered one of history’s most motivating and soul stirring sermons; The Breath of Perfume. “If I perish after this, I will have had at least the satisfaction of delivering you, and you will easily find among you an experienced hero, to whom you can confidently give the task of directing you. But should I fall before I reach to Roderick, redouble your ardor, force yourselves to the attack and achieve the conquest of this country, in depriving him of life. With him dead, his soldiers will no longer defy you."
In 1474, Queen Anacaona was born in Yaguana, which is now modern day Leogane, Haiti. Yaguana was the capital of Xaragua, a heavily populated kingdom which was also very prosperous. Anacaona means “Golden Flower” in the native Taino language; she was the younger sister of the king of the Xaraguas’, Behechio. In 1494 Christopher Columbus visited the Xaragua kingdom for trade and was met by Anacaona and the king. Anacaona was seen as an equal negotiator with the king. She and her brother were able to successfully and peacefully negotiate trade with the Spaniards. She was held in high regard with her people even before she became queen, her legendary beauty and leadership made her popular and memorable. She would later marry the king of Maguana, Caonabo, which helped expand her influence over the Taino people of Xaragua and Maguana.
On the Shoulders of Giants
The mission of On the Shoulders of Giants, Inc. is to provide an innovative and informative approach to educating middle school, high school, college age and young adults, about the history , culture, influence and impact of the heroes and culture of the African diaspora.