African diaspora

The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world - predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe.[1][2][3] The term has been historically applied in particular to the descendants of the Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas by way of the Atlantic slave trade, with the largest population in Brazil (see Afro-Brazilian). In modern times, it is also applied to Africans who have emigrated from the continent in order to seek education, employment and better living for themselves and their children. People from Sub-Saharan Africa, including many Africans, number at least 800 million in Africa and over 140 million in the Western Hemisphere, representing around 14% of the world's population.[4][5] It is believed that this diaspora has the potential to revitalize Africa. Primarily, many academics, NGOs, and websites such as Social Entrepreneurs of the African Diaspora[6] view social entrepreneurship as a tool to be used by the African diaspora to improve themselves and their ancestral continent.

Contents

History

Dispersal through slavery

Much of the African diaspora was dispersed throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas during the Atlantic and Arab Slave Trades. Beginning in the 9th century, Arabs took African slaves from the central and eastern portions of the continent (where they were known as the Zanj) and sold them into markets in the Middle East and eastern Asia. Beginning in the 15th century, Europeans captured or bought African slaves from West Africa and brought them to Europe and later to the Americas. Both the Arab and Atlantic slave trades ended in the 19th century.[7] The dispersal through slave trading represents one of the largest forced migrations in human history. The economic effect on the African continent was devastating. Some communities created by descendants of African slaves in Europe and Asia have survived to the modern day, but in other cases, blacks intermarried with non-blacks and their descendants blended into the local population.

In the Americas, the confluence of multiple ethnic groups from around the world created multi-ethnic societies. In Central and South America, most people are descended from European, American Indian, and African ancestry. In Brazil, where in 1888 nearly half the population was descended from African slaves, the variation of physical characteristics extends across a broad range. In the United States, there was historically a greater colonial population in relation to African slaves, especially in the northern tier. Racist Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws after the Civil War, plus waves of vastly increased immigration from Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, maintained some distinction between racial groups. In the 20th century, to institutionalize racial segregation, most southern states adopted the "one drop rule", which defined anyone with any discernible African ancestry as African.[8]

Dispersal through migration

From the very onset of Spanish activity in the Americas, black Africans were present both as voluntary expeditionaries and as involuntary laborers.[9][10] Juan Garrido was one such black conquistador. He crossed the Atlantic as a freedman in the 1510s and participated in the siege of Tenochtitlan.[11]

Emigration from Sub-equatorial Africa has been the primary reason for the modern diaspora. People have left the subcontinent because of warfare and social disruption in numerous countries over the years, and also to seek better economic opportunities. Scholars estimate the current population of recent African immigrants to the United States alone is over 600,000, some of whom are Black Africans from the Sub-equatorial region.[12] Countries with the largest recorded numbers of immigrants to the U.S. are Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and mostly West African Countries. Some immigrants have come from Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique (see Luso American), Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, and Cameroon. Immigrants typically congregate in major urban areas, moving to suburban areas over time.

There are significant populations of recent African immigrants in many other countries around the world, including the UK[13] and France, both nations that had colonies in Africa.[14][15]

Definitions

The African Union defined the African diaspora as "[consisting] of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union." Its constitutive act declares that it shall "invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in the building of the African Union."

Between 1500 and 1900, approximately four million enslaved Africans were transported to island plantations in the Indian Ocean, about eight million were shipped to Mediterranean-area countries, and about eleven million survived the Middle Passage to the New World.[16] Their descendants are now found around the globe. Due to intermarriage and genetic assimilation, just who is a descendant of the African diaspora is not entirely self-evident.

African diasporan populations outside of Sub-equatorial Africa include:

Estimated population and distribution

Continent or region Country population Afro-descendants [18] Black and black-mixed population
Caribbean 39,148,115 73.2% 22,715,518
Haiti 9,719,932 95% (black) + 4.9% (Mulatto) 9,233,935 + 476,277
Dominican Republic [19][20] 10,090,000 11% (black) + 73% (mixed) 1,109,900 + 7,365,700
Cuba[21] 11,239,363 10.08% (black) + 24.86 (mixed - Mulatto) 1,132,928 + 2,794,106
Jamaica[22] 2,847,232 76.3% (black) + 18.5% (mixed) 2,172.438 + 526,738
Puerto Rico[23] 3,725,789 12.4% (black) + 3.3% (mixed) 461,998 + 122,951
Trinidad and Tobago 1,047,366 58.0% 607,472
The Bahamas[24] 307,451 85.0% 209,000
Barbados 281,968 90.0% 253,771
Netherlands Antilles 225,369 85.0% 191,564
Saint Lucia 172,884 82.5% 142,629
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 118,432 85.0% 100,667
Virgin Islands 108,210 79.7% 86,243
Grenada 110,000 91.0% 101,309
Antigua and Barbuda 78,000 94.9% 63,000
Bermuda 66,536 61.2% 40,720
Saint Kitts and Nevis 39,619 98.0% 38,827
Cayman Islands 47,862 60.0% 28,717
British Virgin Islands 24,004 83.0% 19,923
Turks and Caicos islands[25] 26,000 > 90.0% 18,000
South America 388,570,461 28.70% 111,511,261
Colombia [20] 45,925,397 4.0% (black) + 3.0% (Zambo) + 14.0% (Mulatto) 1,837,015 + 1,377,762 + 6,429,556
Venezuela[26][27] 29,105,632 ~10% (black) 2,910,563
Guyana 770,794 36.0% 277,486
Suriname 475,996 47.0% 223,718
French Guiana 199,509 66.0% 131,676
Brazil 190,732,694 6.84% (black) + 43.80% (multiracial) 13,046,116 + 83,540,920
Ecuador[28] 13,927,650 4.9% 680,000
Peru 29,496,000 2.0% 589,920
Bolivia 10,907,778 ~0.5% 54,539
Chile 17,094,270 < 0.1% 0*
Paraguay 6,349,000 3.5% (Mulatto) 222,215
Argentina 40,091,359 ~0.12% ~50,000
Uruguay 3,494,382 4.0% 139,775
North America 491,829,020 9.02% 44,361,299
United States[29] 308,745,538 13.6% 42,020,743
Canada[30] 33,098,932 2.7% 783,795
Mexico 108,700,891 < 0.1% 103,000
Belize 301,270 31.0% 93,394
Guatemala 13,002,206 < 1.0% 100,000
El Salvador 7,066,403 < 0.1% 0*
Honduras 7,639,327 2.0% 152,787
Nicaragua 5,785,846 9.0% 520,726
Costa Rica 4,195,914 3.0% 125,877
Panama 3,292,693 14.0% 460,977
Europe 738,856,462.00 0.95% ~7,034,1000
France[31][32] 62,752,136 5% (inc. overseas territories) 3,000,000
Italy[33] 60,020,805 ~0.44% ~264,500
United Kingdom 60,609,153 3.3% (inc. partial) 2,015,400
Netherlands[34] 16,491,461 3.1% 507,000
Spain 40,397,842 0,5% ~200,000
Germany 82,000,000 0.6% 500,000 [35]
Russia[36] 141,594,000 0.03% 40,000
Portugal 10,605,870 2.0% 201,200
Norway[37] 4,858,199 1.4% 67,000
Sweden 9,263,872 0.8% > 70,000
Belgium 10,666,866 0.4% 45,000
Republic of Ireland[38] 4,339,000 1.1% 45,000
Switzerland[39] 7,790,000 0.5% > 40,000
Austria 8,356,707 0.2% 14,223
Finland 5,340,783 0.37% 20,000
Poland 38,082,000 0.01% 4,500
Hungary[40] 10,198,325 0.0% 321
Asia 3,879,000,000 0.0% ?
Israel[41] 7,411,000 2.8% 200,000
Japan[42] 127,756,815 0.0% 10,000 –
India[43] 1,132,446,000 0.0% 40,000
Pakistan 172,900,000 0.0% 10,000
China[44] 1,321,851,888 0.0% 8,000+
Oceania
Australia[45] 21,000,000 ?% ?

(*)Note that population statistics from different sources and countries use highly divergent methods of rating the "race", ethnicity, or national or genetic origin of individuals, from observing for color and racial characteristics, to asking the person to choose from a set of pre-defined choices, sometimes with an Other category, and sometimes with an open-ended option, and sometimes not, which different national populations tend to choose in divergent ways. Color and visual characteristics were considered an invalid way to determine the genetic "racial" branch in anthropology (the field of science that original conceived of "race", as a genetic branch of people who could have a relative success together compared with other branches, now considered invalid) as of 1910, thus not fully reflecting the percentage of the population who actually are of African heritage.

Largest 15 African diaspora populations

The African diaspora in the Americas: Black, Black African ancestry; Brown, Black African & European ancestry; Wine-red, Multiracial.
Country Population Rank
 Brazil 85,783,143 1
 United States 38,499,304 2
 Colombia 9,452,872 3
 Haiti 8,788,439 4
 Dominican Republic 7,985,991 5
 France 4,200,000 6
 Jamaica 2,731,419 7
 Venezuela 2,641,481 8
 United Kingdom 2,080,000 9
 Cuba 1,126,894 10
 Italy 1,100,000 11
 Puerto Rico 979,882 12
 Peru 875,427 13
 Canada 783,795 14
 Ecuador 680,000 15

The Americas

  • African Americans – There are an estimated 40 million people of Black African descent in the US. Note that this figure (here, and in the chart, above) directly conflicts with information in this same article that says that 30% of US people have genetic content from the [post 1400] African diaspora.
  • Afro-Latin American – There are an estimated 100 million people of African descent living in Latin America, making up 45 % of Brazil's population.[46] There are also sizeable African populations in Cuba, Haiti, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
  • The population in the Caribbean is approximately 23 million. Significant numbers of African-descended people include Haiti – 8 million, Dominican Republic – 7.9 million, and Jamaica – 2.7 million,[47]

North America

Several migration waves to the Americas, as well as relocations within the Americas, have brought people of African descent to North America. According to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the first African populations came to North America in the 16th century via Mexico and the Caribbean to the Spanish colonies of Florida, Texas and other parts of the South.[48] Out of the 12 million people from Africa who were shipped to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade,[49] 645,000 were shipped to the British colonies on the North American mainland and the United States; another 1,840,000 arrived at other British colonies, chiefly the West Indies.[50] In 2000, African Americans comprised 12.1 percent of the total population in the United States, constituting the largest racial minority group. The African American population is concentrated in the southern states and urban areas.[51]

In the construction of the African Diaspora, the transatlantic slave trade is often considered the defining element, but people of African descent have engaged in eleven other migration movements involving North America since the 16th century, many being voluntary migrations, although undertaken in exploitative and hostile environments.[48]

In the 1860s, people from sub-Saharan Africa, mainly from West Africa and the Cape Verde Islands, started to arrive in a voluntary immigration wave to seek employment as whalers in Massachusetts. This migration continued until restrictive laws were enacted in 1921 that in effect closed the door on non-Europeans, but by that time, men of African ancestry were already a majority in New England’s whaling industry, with African Americans working as sailors, blacksmiths, shipbuilders, officers, and owners, eventually bringing their trade to California.[52]

1.7 million people in the United States are descended from voluntary immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. African immigrants represent 6 percent of all immigrants to the United States and almost 5 percent of the African American community nationwide. About 57 percent immigrated between 1990 and 2000.[53] Immigrants born in Africa constitute 1.6 percent of the black population. People of the African immigrant diaspora are the most educated population group in the United States — 50 percent have bachelor's or advanced degrees, compared to 23 percent of native-born Americans.[54] The largest African immigrant communities in the United States are in New York, followed by California, Texas, and Maryland.[53] The states with the highest percentages of Africans in their total populations are Mississippi (36.3%), and Louisiana (32.5%). While not a state, the District of Columbia is 60.0% black. Refugees represent a minority.

U.S. Bureau of the Census categorizes the population by race based on self-identification.[55] The census surveys have no provision for a "multiracial" or "biracial" self-identity, but since 2000, respondents may check off more than one box and claim multiple ethnicity that way.

Canada

Much of the earliest black presence in Canada came from the United States; comprising African Americans who came as Loyalists, or escaped to locations in Nova Scotia and Southwestern Ontario via the Underground Railroad. Slavery had begun to be outlawed in British North America as early as 1793. Later black immigration to Canada came primarily from the Caribbean, in such numbers that fully 70 per cent of all blacks now in Canada are of Caribbean origin.

As a result of the prominence of Caribbean immigration, the term "African Canadian", while sometimes used to refer to the minority of Canadian blacks who have direct African or African American heritage, is not normally used to denote black Canadians. Blacks of Caribbean origin are usually denoted as "West Indian Canadian", "Caribbean Canadian" or more rarely "Afro-Caribbean Canadian", but there remains no widely used alternative to "Black Canadian" which is considered inclusive of the African, Afro-Caribbean, and African-American black communities in Canada.

Latin America

At an intermediate level, in Latin America and in the former plantations in and around the Indian Ocean, descendants of enslaved people are a bit harder to define because many people are mixed in demographic proportion to the original slave population. In places that imported relatively few slaves (like Argentina or Chile), few if any are considered "black" today.[56] In places that imported many enslaved people (like Brazil or Dominican Republic), the number is larger, though most identify themselves as being of mixed, rather than strictly African, ancestry.[57]

In Peru, the African population was very mixed with the other white, Indian and mestizo population, so someone is identified as negro if he or she has visible African features. Some mestizos and whites have a degree of African admixture.

Europe

In Europe Union countries, Black African immigrants are neither specifically identified nor described in national statistics by the colour of their skin. At best, both first and subsequent generations are described in national statistics as "foreign born citizens". Of 42 countries surveyed by a European Commission against Racism and Intolerance study in 2007, it was found that 29 collected official statistics on country of birth, 37 on citizenship, 24 on religion, 26 on language, 6 on country of birth of parents, and 22 on nationality or ethnicity. The major result of this routine is that even though people of Black African descent may outnumber other ethnic minorities in some European countries, there is no statistical evidence to support the notion that they may qualify for special measures as minorities where they live. They are, in a word, invisible.[58] It also means that EU countries do not differentiate their inhabitants by skin color.

United Kingdom

2 million (not including British Mixed) split evenly between Afro-Caribbeans and Africans.

France

Estimates of 2 to 3 million of African descent, although 1/4 of the Afro-French or French African population live in overseas territories.[59]

Italy

There are an estimated 755,000 to 1.2 million immigrants from Africa in Italy, with only a minority of Sub-Saharan Africans. Most of the latter come from West African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Ivory Coast.

Netherlands

There are an estimated 500,000 black people in the Dutch Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. They mainly live in the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and Saint Martin, the latter of which is also partly French-controlled. Many Afro-Dutch people reside in the Netherlands.

Russia

The first blacks in Russia were the result of the slave trade of the Ottoman Empire[60] and their descendants still live on the coasts of the Black Sea. Czar Peter the Great was recommended by his friend Lefort to bring in Africans to Russia for hard labor. Alexander Pushkin's great grandfather was the African princeling Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who became Peter's protege, was educated as a military engineer in France, and eventually became general-en-chef, responsible for the building of sea forts and canals in Russia.[61][62]

During the 1930s fifteen Black American families moved to the Soviet Union as agricultural experts.[63] As African states became independent in the 1960s, the Soviet Union offered them the chance to study in Russia; over 40 years, 400,000 African students came, and many settled there.[60][64]

Note that there are also non-African people within the former Soviet Union who are colloquially referred to as "the blacks" (chernye). Gypsies, Georgians, and Chechens fall into this category.[65]

Abkhazia

Some blacks of unknown origin once inhabited the southern Abkhazian, today are assimilated to Abkhaz.

Turkey

Beginning several centuries ago, a number of sub-Saharan Africans, usually via Zanzibar and from places like Kenya, Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria were brought by Turkish slave traders during the Ottoman Empire to plantations around Dalaman, Menderes and Gediz valleys, Manavgat, and Çukurova.

Indian and Pacific Oceans

There are a number of communities in South Asia that are descended from African slaves, traders or soldiers.[66] These communities are the Siddi, Sheedi, Makrani and Sri Lanka Kaffirs. In some cases, they became very prominent, such as Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut, Hoshu Sheedi or the Murud-Janjira fort. The Mauritian creole people are the descendents of African slaves similar to those in the Americas.

Some Pan-Africanists also consider other peoples as diasporic African peoples. These groups include, among others, Negritos, such as in the case of the peoples of the Malay Peninsula (Orang Asli);[67] New Guinea (Papuans);[68] Andamanese; certain peoples of the Indian subcontinent,[69][70] and the aboriginal peoples of Melanesia and Micronesia.[71][72] Most of these claims are rejected by mainstream ethnologists as pseudoscience and pseudoanthropology as part of ideologically motivated Afrocentrist irredentism, touted primarily among some extremist elements in the United States who do not reflect on the mainstream African-American community.[73] Mainstream anthropologists determine that the Andamanese and others are part of a network of Proto-Australoid and Paleo Mediterranean ethnic groups present in South Asia that trace their genetic ancestry to a migratory sequence that culminated in the Australian aboriginals rather than from African peoples directly (though indirectly, they did originate from prehistoric groups out of Africa as did all human beings on this planet).[74][75][76][77]

See also

  • List of topics related to the Black Diaspora
  • Afro-Anglo American
  • Afro-Latin American
  • Afro-Hispanic people
  • Afro-Brazilians

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  72. ^ Micronesians
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