Black History Month: Africans in Asia

February 20, 2011 at 11:48 PM | Posted in Abs Fab, Education | 1 Comment

This series examines the African Diaspora on different regions and continents even before the slave trade. Aside from humans evolving from the Motherland, there are groups on every continent whose ancestry is unequivocally from Africa. More or less invisible for whatever conspiracy theory you choose, they undoubtedly tell a larger story of world history. Sources for this entry are listed at the end of the post.

Phillipines
Although the great majority of the people of the Philippines are Tagalog, the country is not ethnically homogeneous. In spite of their small numbers the original inhabitants of the Philippines are the Agta (diminutive Africoids), who still live there in some numbers and are commonly and pejoratively called Pygmies, Negritos and Aeta, and a variety of other names based upon their specific locale. In regards to phenotype, broadly speaking, the Agta can be described as physically small and unusually short in stature, dark-skinned, spiral-haired and broad-nosed. They are an extremely ancient people and, I believe, close representatives of the world’s earliest modern humans.

"Filipino Negritos"

Very similar groups of Black people in Asia reside in relative small numbers in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand in Southeast Asia. In Thailand they are commonly called Sakai. In Malaysia they have been called Orang Asli (Original Man). Pejoratively they are known as Semang, with the connotation of savage. It is very unfortunate that the contributions of these small Black people to monumental high-cultures characterized by urbanization, metallurgy, agricultural science and scripts remain essentially unexamined.

China
The presence of diminutive Africoids (whom Chinese historians called “Black Dwarfs”) in early southern China during the period of the Three Kingdoms (ca. 250 C.E.) is recorded in the book of the Official of the Liang Dynasty (502-556 C.E.). In Taiwan there are recollections of a group of people now said to be extinct called “Little Black Man.”

“They were described as short, dark-skinned people with short curly hair….These people, presumably Negritos, disappeared about 100 years ago. Their existence was mentioned in many Chinese documents of the Ching Dynasty concerning Taiwan.”

Similar groups of Black people have been identified in Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, and it seems almost certain that at one time a belt of Black populations of this type covered much of Asia.

Source: The Global African Community

India
Some historians think millions of Africans crossed the ocean. The African-Indians are called Sidis. Compared to the fate of Africans taken as slaves to the New World, the history of Africans in India is still largely unknown.

One of the strongest remaining links they have to their roots is the damaal or drum. Otherwise Sidi culture is not significantly different to that of other poor, rural Indians.

“The damaal comes from Africa,” explains Yunus, a blind man who is the chief drummer of Jambur. “The skill of playing has been passed down from father to son. It is a gift from God,” he says.

“A little like an image embedded in a hologram, the African presence in the history and politics of India remains generally obscured from view. It is only when the parchment that is the past is taken in the hand and lightly moved, in the manner of a ‘beam of coherent light’ needed to train upon a hologram, that this presence reveals itself. Then names begin to emerge, some historical developments start to make sense, and the role of a number of emphatic figures can be seen in true perspective”….N. Goswamy,Tribune newspaper

Source: BBC: In picture’s India’s African Communities

Original inhabitants of India
The Tamils are an important branch of the Dravidians. So who are the Dravidians? The Dravidians are among the earliest, perhaps the first, people to inhabit India. The early Greeks and Romans referred to them as Eastern Ethiopians. The term “Ethiopian” is a Greek work and means “people with faces burnt by the sun.” There were Eastern Ethiopians and Western Ethiopians. The Eastern Ethiopians were in Asia and the Western Ethiopians were in Africa. They were both Black people with the only real distinction being the texture of the hair. The Eastern Ethiopians had straight to wavy hair and the Western Ethiopians had tightly curled or kinky hair. The Eastern Ethiopians lived in ancient Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and probably other parts of South Asia.

Madagascar
Many anthropologists believe that the people of Madagascar descended from Africans and Indonesians who mixed before their arrival on the island. There is obviously a fusion of Bantu and Asian culture on Madagascar.

Source: The African-Asian Connection

Why do you think we don’t learn about this history in the classroom? Would you be interested in learning more about how the people of the ancient world traveled and what became of their descendants?

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1 Comment »

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  1. Great post! And very eye opening!


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