What’s In Your dna?

A few months ago I decided to get a DNA test to learn a little bit more about my ancestory. What I learned about taking DNA testing is that it gives you the region to  which your ancestors came from and, sometimes identify the exact ethnic group or tribe to which they were born. I plan to dig a little deeper in to my own perssonal history by getting a swab of my mother, and father to have their DNA tested, and gain a little bit more knowledge about my forefathers, and the matriarchs in my family.

Before I took the DNA test what I knew about my ancestors was based on oral histories passed down from my mother who is 78 going on 79, and my father who is now 81 years old, who lived with his grandfather in his teenage years who was born a slave, died at 108 years old, and was 11 when the emancipation proclamation came in 1865.

Both my parents were born, and raised in rural Mississippi in communities in which they called settlements where most of the people are related, own lots of land, and at one point in time where farmers, and lived next to their neighbors for generations, and everybody knows each other. I now live on my mothers settlement, where I wake up to cows mooing in the morning, and sometimes hear them in the late night hour, and where wild turkeys run across my front yard, while fresh cool breeezes blow through my window everyday regardless to how hot it is, the air is fresh, and its so dark at night that you can’t see out your own window, except when you look up at the sky, that is so blue it looks like light, and the stars are so bright that you can see the constellatons, and the sunsets in the windows  are so  beautiful they look like a painted picture or somethng that you see in the movies.

I knew on my mother side of the family I had European ancestory. My mothers grandmother on her father side was said to be white and her great grandmother on her mother side was said to white  also in which my mother knew and met. Both her grandfathers where considered to be Native Americans. Her fathers, father never married his mother because of the miscegenation laws in Mississippi, and her mothers father was considered to be Black Creek Indian meaning that he had a mixture of African and Indian blood. I came across several U.S. Census of my mothers parents, and the earlier census had them listed as Mulatto, then Black and later African American as the term of people of African descent changed with time. To give you an idea of the era in which my mothers parents where born. Her father was born in 1888 and her mother in 1895. They both was raised in intergarated communities where blacks and whites lived side by side on land that they owned, although public spaces where segregated. Neither of my mothers parents where born into slavery or came from plantation communities. It is interesing to me that the people I have spoke with black and white a like in the community consider themselves to be tri-racial, and are aware of their European and African ancestors. However, little is known or have been discussed about what ethnic groups they are from.

My DNA test however, revealed that my ancestors are from four out of the seven continents which include South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa along with several different ethnic groups, broken down in this manner:

81.2% African: 47.2% Nigerian, 21.7% West African, 10% Sierra Leonean, 2.5% Central African.

15.8% European: 9.6 % Scandinavian (North and West Europe), 3.5% Eastern European, 2.7% Sardinian who are Italians from Southern Europe

1.1% Central Asian

1.0% South American, Indigenous Amazonians who where considered to be Ameridian Indians, and this is the only Native Indian I have.

The results of my DNA has caused me to start digging just a little bit deeper in researching what African tribe I might be from and to learn more about the regions in which my ancestors are from.

 

People of African Descent

People of African descent have a rich, and diverse history, and come from some of the oldest civilizations in the world. Although the continent is often talked about as a country it is in fact a continent. According to Scientific America, Africa is larger than the U. S., most of Europe, China, Japan and India combined together.

Very few people know the rich history of Africa and its people, and their contributions to the world and its history. Historically, Africa has been depicted as war torn, and diseased ridden, with hungry babies with flies in their eyes, and the people uncivilized, and inferior to other races, ethnic groups, and cultures with Europeans being their savior.

 

Slavery is one of those things that people generally do not like to talk about, or would like to forget about all together, its stain, and impact on people of African descent, native indigenous people, and the European lower class can be seen, and felt around the world today, whether it be poverty, social injustice, inequality or racism.

However, doing business in the trading of enslaved Africans was a complex system, it was financially risky, dangerous, yet very profitable. Religion was used to justify it, laws was instituted to protected it, and slave patrols were created to enforce it.

Today, the trading of enslaved Africans around the globe has been considered one of the greatest crimes against humanity, and the greatest forced migration in human history.  It was a martime business that specialized in African human commodities for the primary purpose of obtaining a free labor force, to build a settlement or colony in another country, where the land was abundant in natural resoures, and fit for European planters, and immigrant settlers to dwell, and create products that could be developed, and sent back to their mother country in Western Europe to build its economic base. This process was called colonization and known today as exploitation.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade also known as the African Slave Trade is an example of colonization, and global  trading on a large scale, which was started by the Portuguese in the mid 1500’s, and later dominated by Great Britain which included the countries of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was all about importing, and exporting goods. The Europeans would supply the West African government, and tribal leaders with guns, rum, and cowrie beads which was often used as money in exchange for gold, cloth, iron bars, and slaves. Keep in mind that the European governments, had contracts and ageements with West African governments and tribal leaders to conduct business in the region, and often hired private companies to act on the governements behalf. Only the wealthy, and goverments could afford  to participate in the slave trade which could be considered as a corporate venture today.

Now, the European traders were often ship captains who did business with African merchants who supplied the slaves. The Europeans built slave castles on the exterior  of the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of West Africa which was used as their administrative offices were slaves was sold in the market place, and held until their voyage to a new world, whether it be to South or Central America, the Caribbean better known as the West Indies, or North America in the United States or in Canada .

Europeans were not allowed in the interior of West Africa, neither did they know the land or the people, and had to depend on Africans to supply them with slaves. Often times than not Africans became enslaved by way of tribal wars or because of a debt they owed. At times the conflicts between tribes were initiated by Europeans, and the tribal leaders own greed. Some or the tribes were committed to Islam in which slavery was an acceptable way of life. Many Muslim tribes sold other Africans who were not Muslim into slavery in order to spread Islam. However, in Islam it was against the law to sell another Muslim, therefore many of the slaves who were sold here in the U.S and to other countries had vairous religious beliefs, and participated in different kinds of ancestrial worship.

Slavery in West Africa was a part of the culture, however, the way Africans dealt with slavery was very different than the Europeans who practiced chattel slavery which was considered by some to be barbaric, neither did they create the slave trade, for the Arab Slave Trade was in existence long before slavery became a part of the West African culture, neither did Africans call themselves or see themselves as Africans.

Africa, and Africans were terms that Europeans used when they made contact with the continent to describe it , and the people who lived there. For example; Nigeria is one of the largest country within the continent of Africa with over 250 ethnic groups, diverse cultures with multitudes of languages. The word Nigeria or Nigerian is a name given to the black people who lived along the Niger River by the Europeans. Niger means black. The blacks in the region identified themselves with the tribes to which they were born such Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani and so forth. Therefore when Africans captured and sold enslaved Africans to the Europeans, they were not selling a fellow African but a Igbo, a Fon, or a Yoruba.

According to Oxford University in England, colonization is a process whereby the mother country such as Great Britain sends out explorers to find land to exploit its resources, and then send planters or settlers there to develop a settlement or colony, force the people who live in the land to assimilate, wipe out their history, and give them rations to live on, so they would depend upon them. This is the process in which the United States was built. European traders  would leave Europe with products to trade in West Africa for slaves and other products, they would then take the cargo to the United States, the Caribbean, Brazil and other countries that were colonized by Europeans where they built plantation societies to cultivate cotton for clothing, tobacco for smokes, sugar for rum,  indigo for dye, and rice to be sold in the general market in Europe. Enslaved Africans were also used to clear timber, and build buldings.

Enslaved Africans were a product, and like any business there has to be a supply and a demand for it. Africa had the supply of free labour, and Europe had the need.

Scientist have concluded that Africa is the birthplace of humanity, and home to the oldest civilizations with organized governments in the world, pre-dating Rome and Greece by thousands of years. The continent in the day of slavery was rich in natural resources such as gold, diamonds, iron ore, oil, and abundant in forest, and savannahs. In West Africa it was known for its riches and wealth partiularly in gold, and home to the oldest learning institutions in the world. Many of the enlaved Africans who was sold into slavery and shipped to the U.S. came from tribes in West Africa that were masters in ironworks, craftmen in wood, and master builders, skilled in cultivating cotton, indigo, and rice which were major cash crops here in the U.S., with cotton becoming the leading cash crop that laid the foundation for capitailism, spurred the civil war, caused the Native Amercians to be forced off their land, and seal the fate of enslaved Africans while furthering the coarse of legalized racism.

As a result of slavery people of African descent live all over the world, with Brazil having the largest populations of people of African descent next to Africa. They have made great contributions to the countries to which they live especially in pop-culture.

People travel all over the world and know little about the African history, and culture in those regions where people of African descent resides. However, if you are a person of African descent and travel or like to travel abroad