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Ancient Israel
From Africa To The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Present Day Israel
from africa to the trans-atlantic slave trade
Israelites of Nigeria
Israelites of Ethiopia
Israelites of S. Africa
israelites of nigeria
israelites of ethiopia
israelites of South Africa

For centuries Israelites have dwelt in the African Interior. Tribes of Israelite descent such as the Lemba of Southern Africa and the Falasha of Eithiopia are a present day testament to the vast ancient Israelite migrations into the African continent. Literature from the ancient Israelite community of Elephantine located in southern Egypt has been recovered providing proof of a thriving Israelite population. Also the Israelite population in Cyrene which was located in Lybia were also well known and historically documented. *The historian Philo (40 BCE-40 CE), who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, stated that "One million Hebrews resided in Libya and Egypt from the Catabathmos, to the border of Ethiopia."

Many of the Israelite communities located in the north and east of Africa began to become less populated and other disappeared altogether. The rise of Christianity in the 4th and 5th centuries C.E. and the rise of Islam in the 8th century C.E. caused the oppression, slavery and death of many non-converts. The Israelites who were well known for non-compliance and defiance of forced religion, ideology and culture, were forced to migrate in effort to avoid Christian and Islamic persecution. The Arab/Islamic invasion of North-East Africa prompted the migration of Israelites to flee to Central and West Africa.

The ancestors of African Americans came from West Africa during the era of slavery. That particular region of Africa was once home to a number of Israelite tribes that migrated from North and East Africa over many centuries. In speaking of these migrations, Dr. Yoseph A. A. ben-Yochannan writes that: "In North Africa, just before the period of Christianity's legal entry into Rome - due to Constantine "the Great" conversion in the 4th century - there were many Hebrew (Jewish) 'tribes' that are of indigenous African (the so-called 'Negroes') origin.

These African Jews, as all other Romanized-African of this era, were caught in a rebellion in Cyrene (Cyrenaica) during 115 C.E. against Roman imperialism and colonialism. This rebellion also marked the beginning of a mass Jewish migration southward into Soudan (Sudan or West Africa) along the way of the city Aer (Air) and into the countries of Futa Jalon and Senegal (Sene-Gambia) which lie below the curve of the Niger River's most northern reaches, where the City of Tumbut (Timbuktu, Timbuctoo, etc.), Melle (Mali) presently stands." ("African Origins of the Major Western Religions," 1970, p. 76).

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Dr. Ben goes on to relate that Israelite immigrants from northern and eastern Africa merged with indigenous groups in western Africa to become the Fulani of Futa Jalon, Bornu, Kamen, and Lake Chad. They also formed the parent-stock of groups such as the Ashanti, the Hausa, the B'nai Ephraim (mentioned in earlier posts), and the Bavumbu (Mavumbu or Ma-yomba). All of these groups suffered tremendous population decreases during the years the Atlantic slave trade was in operation, others were completely eliminated. Thus, every so-called African American has Israelite ancestry in their family tree whether he or she knows it or not. Even in the very crucible of slavery the descendants of West African Hebrew captives in America struggled to keep their heritages from being obliterated by forced assimilation and acculturation. Their distinctive traditions became submerged in Christianity but always remained a part of the oral tradition via the so-called Negro Spirituals which praise the memory of ancestors and kinsmen like Moshe (Moses), Dawid (David), Yehoshua (Joshua), and Dahnniel (Daniel). 

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