Africans Abroad: A Documentary History of the Black Diaspora in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean during the Age of Slavery

By Graham W. Irwin | Go to book overview

THE REVOLT OF THE ZANJ

MOST BLACK SLAVES in the Muslim world were household servants, artisans, traders, musicians, and the like. The majority shared intimately in the lives of the families to which they were attached, and they were generally well treated. They had little occasion to associate together in large numbers. Thus the opportunity, as well perhaps as the motivation, for revolt were not often present.

Outbreaks by black slaves, however, did occur. In Medina in Arabia in 762 the soldiers of the city's garrison angered the local storekeepers, many of whom were Africans, by commandeering goods without paying for them, and tension between the two groups began to rise. One day, when a soldier tried to "buy" meat from a black butcher without offering money in exchange, the butcher and his assistants attacked the soldier and killed him. Immediately a trumpet- call sounded--it must have been a prearranged signal--and a general assault on the military began. The insurgents were eventually pacified by the "earnest persuasion" of the nonblack inhabitants of the city, who acted as mediators not because they favored the soldiers but because they feared punishment by the government of the Caliph. 20

The Medina incident of 762 was a revolt by blacks, but it was not a "slave revolt" in the usual sense of the term. The blacks who at-

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Africans Abroad: A Documentary History of the Black Diaspora in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean during the Age of Slavery
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction - Africa and the Ancient World 1
  • Egypt 3
  • Ethiopia 16
  • Africans in Classical Antiquity 25
  • Part One Africans in Asia 37
  • The Middle East Before Islam 39
  • Blacks in the Islamic World 57
  • The Revolt of the Zanj 73
  • Muslim Attitudes Toward Africa and Africans 108
  • Africans in India 137
  • Africans in China 168
  • Part Two: Africans in Latin America and the Caribbean 177
  • The Experience of Slavery 185
  • Maroons 283
  • Revolts 322
  • Free Blacks 352
  • Notes 383
  • For Further Reading 391
  • Index 401
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