|c. 140 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Brazil||55,900,000, including multiracial people|
|Haiti||10,104,000, including multiracial people|
|Dominican Republic||9,192,000, including multiracial people|
|Trinidad and Tobago||452,536|
|Lingua franca: English (American and Caribbean), French (Canadian and Haitian), Haitian Creole, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch|
|Christianity, Islam, Traditional African religions, Afro-American religions|
The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from Africa's peoples, predominantly in the Americas. Historically[when?], ethnographers, historians, politicians, and writers have used the term particularly to refer to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with their largest populations in Brazil, the United States, and Haiti. Some[quantify] scholars identify "four circulatory phases" of migration out of Africa.
The phrase African diaspora was coined[by whom?] during the 1990s, and gradually entered common usage at the turn of the 21st century. The term diaspora originates from the Greek (diaspora, literally "scattering") which gained popularity in English in reference to the Jewish diaspora before being more broadly applied to other populations.
Less commonly, the term has been used in scholarship to refer to more recent emigration from Africa. The African Union (AU) defines 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". For prehistoric and recent migration from Africa, see recent African origin of modern humans and emigration from Africa respectively.
Much of the African diaspora was dispersed throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia during the Atlantic and Arab slave trades. Beginning in the 8th 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, the Indian subcontinent, and the Far East. Beginning in the 15th century, Europeans captured or bought African slaves from West Africa and brought them to the Americas and Europe. The Atlantic Slave Trade ended in the 19th century, and the Arab Slave Trade ended in the middle of the 20th century (although pockets of slavery still exist into the 21st century, such as the Haratin in Mauritania). The dispersal through slave trading represents the largest forced migrations in human history. The economic effect on the African continent was devastating, as generations of young people were taken from their communities and societies were disrupted. Some communities created by descendants of African slaves in the Americas, Europe, and Asia have survived to the modern day. In other cases, blacks intermarried with non-blacks, and their descendants are 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, indigenous American, 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 European colonial population in relation to African slaves, especially in the Northern Tier. There was considerable racial intermarriage in colonial Virginia, and other forms of racial mixing during the slavery and post-Civil War years. Racist Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws passed after the Reconstruction era in the South in the late nineteenth century, plus waves of vastly increased immigration from Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, maintained some distinction between racial groups. In the early 20th century, to institutionalize racial segregation, most southern states adopted the "one drop rule", which defined and recorded anyone with any discernible African ancestry as black, even of obvious majority white or Native American ancestry. One of the results of this implementation was the loss of records of Native-identified groups, who were classified only as black because of being mixed race.
See Emigration from Africa for a general treatment of voluntary population movements since the late 20th century.
From the very onset of Spanish exploration and colonial activities in the Americas, Africans participated both as voluntary expeditionaries and as involuntary laborers.Juan Garrido was such an African conquistador. He crossed the Atlantic as a freedman in the 1510s and participated in the siege of Tenochtitlan. Africans had been present in Asia and Europe long before Columbus's travels. Beginning in the late 20th century, Africans began to emigrate to Europe and the Americas in increasing numbers, constituting new African diaspora communities not directly connected with the slave trade.
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. Their descendants are now found around the globe, but because of intermarriage they are not necessarily readily identifiable.
Many scholars have challenged conventional views of the African diaspora as a mere dispersion of black people. For them, it is a movement of liberation that opposes the implications of racialization. Their position assumes that Africans and their descendants abroad struggle to reclaim power over their lives through voluntary migration, cultural production and political conceptions and practices. It also implies the presence of cultures of resistance with similar objectives throughout the global diaspora. Thinkers like W. E. B. Dubois and more recently Robin Kelley, for example, have argued that black politics of survival reveal more about the meaning of the African diaspora than labels of ethnicity and race, and degrees of skin hue. From this view, the daily struggle against what they call the "world-historical processes" of racial colonization, capitalism, and western domination defines blacks links to Africa.
In the last decades, studies on the African diaspora have shown an interest in the roles that blacks played in bringing about modernity. This trend also opposes the traditional eurocentric perspective that has dominated history books showing Africans and its diasporans as primitive victims of slavery, and without historical agency. According to historian Patrick Manning, blacks toiled at the center of forces that created the modern world. Paul Gilroy describes the suppression of blackness due to imagined and created ideals of nations as "cultural insiderism." Cultural insiderism is used by nations to separate deserving and undeserving groups and requires a "sense of ethnic difference" as mentioned in his book The Black Atlantic. Recognizing their contributions offers a comprehensive appreciation of global history.
The late cultural and political theorist Richard Iton suggested that diaspora be understood as a "culture of dislocation." For Iton, the traditional approach to the African diaspora focuses on the ruptures associated with the Atlantic slave trade and Middle Passage, notions of dispersal, and "the cycle of retaining, redeeming, refusing, and retrieving 'Africa.'":199 This conventional framework for analyzing the diaspora is dangerous, according to Iton, because it presumes that diaspora exists outside of Africa, thus simultaneously disowning and desiring Africa. Further, Iton suggests a new starting principle for the use of diaspora: "the impossibility of settlement that correlates throughout the modern period with the cluster of disturbances that trouble not only the physically dispersed but those moved without traveling.":199-200 Iton adds that this impossibility of settlement--this "modern matrix of strange spaces--outside the state but within the empire,"--renders notions of black citizenship fanciful, and in fact, "undesirable." Iton argues that we citizenship, a state of statelessness thereby deconstructing colonial sites and narratives in an effort to "de-link geography and power," putting "all space into play" (emphasis added):199-200 For Iton, diaspora's potential is represented by a "rediscursive albeit agonistic field of play that might denaturalize the hegemonic representations of modernity as unencumbered and self-generating and bring into clear view its repressed, colonial subscript".:201
African diaspora populations include:
|Continent or region||Country population||Afro-descendants|| Black and black-mixed population|
|Haiti||9,719,932||95%||9,233,935 + 476,277|
|Dominican Republic||10,090,000||84%||1,109,900 + 7,365,700|
|Cuba||11,239,363||35%||1,132,928 + 2,794,106|
|Jamaica||2,909,714||97%||2,653,659 + 180,402|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1,328,019||34% ||454,182|
|Puerto Rico||3,725,789||16%||461,998 + 122,951|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||118,432||85%||100,667|
|US Virgin Islands||108,210||80%||86,243|
|Dominica||71,293||96% (87% Black + 9% Mixed)||61,882 + 9,411|
|Antigua and Barbuda||78,000||95%||63,000|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||39,619||98%||38,827|
|British Virgin Islands||24,004||83%||19,923|
|Turks and Caicos islands||26,000||90%||18,000|
|Brazil||190,732,694||8% (black) + 21% (mulatto pardos)||14,517,961 (black)|
|Colombia||45,925,397||10.6% (inc. mulattoes, palenqueros and other groups)||4,944,400|
|France||62,752,136||8% (inc. overseas territories)||3,800,000|
|United Kingdom||60,609,153||3% (inc. partial)||2,015,400|
|Republic of Ireland||4,339,000||1%||45,000|
|Hong Kong||7,200,000||nil||< 20,000|
(*)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.
|Brazil||55,900,000||including multiracial people, 6.84% (black) + 20.6% (mulatto pardos)|
|United States||46,350,467||including people citing both black and another race|
|United Kingdom||2,497,373||including mixed people (White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||607,472|
African ancestry has contributed to the formation of Brazil, along with European and Native American ancestries.
A 2015 autosomal genetic study, which also analysed data of 25 studies of 38 different Brazilian populations concluded that: European ancestry accounts for 62% of the heritage of the population, followed by the African (21%) and the Native American (17%). The European contribution is highest in Southern Brazil (77%), the African highest in Northeast Brazil (27%) and the Native American is the highest in Northern Brazil (32%).
An autosomal study from 2013, with nearly 1300 samples from all of the Brazilian regions, found a pedigree of European ancestry combined with African and Native American contributions. "Following an increasing North to South gradient, European ancestry was the most prevalent in all urban populations (with values up to 74%). The populations in the North consisted of a significant proportion of Native American ancestry that was about two times higher than the African contribution. Conversely, in the Northeast, Center-West and Southeast, African ancestry was the second most prevalent. At an intrapopulation level, all urban populations were highly mixed, stemming from the large mixed ancestry population rather than a heterogenous distribution of groups of individuals with single ethnic ancestry. "
A 2011 autosomal DNA study, with nearly 1000 samples from all over the country ("whites", "pardos" and "blacks"), found out a major European contribution, followed by a high African contribution and an important Native American component. "In all regions studied, the European ancestry was predominant, with proportions ranging from 60.6% in the Northeast to 77.7% in the South". The 2011 autosomal study samples came from blood donors (the lowest classes constitute the great majority of blood donors in Brazil ), and also public health institutions personnel and health students. The study showed that Brazilians from different regions are more homogenous than previously thought by some based on the census alone. "Brazilian homogeneity is, therefore, a lot greater between Brazilian regions than within Brazilians region".
|Northeast of Brazil||60%||29%||9%|
According to an autosomal DNA study from 2010, "a new portrayal of each ethnicity contribution to the DNA of Brazilians, obtained with samples from the five regions of the country, has indicated that, on average, European ancestors are responsible for nearly 80% of the genetic heritage of the population. The variation between the regions is small, with the possible exception of the South, where the European contribution reaches nearly 90%. The results, published by the scientific magazine American Journal of Human Biology by a team of the Catholic University of Brasília, show that, in Brazil, physical indicators such as skin colour, colour of the eyes and colour of the hair have little to do with the genetic ancestry of each person, which has been shown in previous studies (regardless of census classification). "Ancestry informative SNPs can be useful to estimate individual and population biogeographical ancestry. Brazilian population is characterized by a genetic background of three parental populations (European, African, and Brazilian Native Amerindians) with a wide degree and diverse patterns of admixture. In this work we analyzed the information content of 28 ancestry-informative SNPs into multiplexed panels using three parental population sources (African, Amerindian, and European) to infer the genetic admixture in an urban sample of the five Brazilian geopolitical regions. The SNPs assigned apart the parental populations from each other and thus can be applied for ancestry estimation in a three hybrid admixed population. Data was used to infer genetic ancestry in Brazilians with an admixture model. Pairwise estimates of F(st) among the five Brazilian geopolitical regions suggested little genetic differentiation only between the South and the remaining regions. Estimates of ancestry results are consistent with the heterogeneous genetic profile of Brazilian population, with a major contribution of European ancestry (0.771) followed by African (0.143) and Amerindian contributions (0.085). The described multiplexed SNP panels can be useful tool for bioanthropological studies but it can be mainly valuable to control for spurious results in genetic association studies in admixed populations". It is important to note that "the samples came from free of charge paternity test takers, thus as the researchers made it explicit: "the paternity tests were free of charge, the population samples involved people of variable socioeconomic strata, although likely to be leaning slightly towards the "pardo" group".
An autosomal DNA study from 2009 found a similar profile "all the Brazilian samples (regions) lie more closely to the European group than to the African populations or to the Mestizos from Mexico".
According to another autosomal DNA study from 2008, by the University of Brasília (UnB), European ancestry dominates in the whole of Brazil (in all regions), accounting for 66% of the heritage of the population, followed by the African contribution (25%) and the Native American (9%).
The archipelagos and islands of the Caribbean were the first sites of African dispersal in the western Atlantic during the post-Columbian era. Specifically, in 1492, Pedro Alonso Niño, a black Spanish seafarer, piloted one of Columbus's ships. He returned in 1499, but did not settle. In the early 16th century, more Africans began to enter the population of the Spanish Caribbean colonies, sometimes as freedmen, but most often as enslaved servants and workers. Demand for African labour increased in the Caribbean because of the massive deaths among the Taino and other indigenous populations, resulting primarily from Eurasian infectious diseases to which they had no immunity, as well as conflict with the Spanish, and harsh working conditions. By the mid-16th century, slave trade from Africa to the Caribbean was so profitable that the Englishmen Francis Drake and John Hawkins engaged in piracy and violated Spanish colonial laws, in order to forcibly transport approximately 1500 enslaved people from Sierra Leone to Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic).
During the 17th and 18th centuries, European colonialism in the Caribbean became increasingly reliant on plantation slavery, so that, by the end of the 18th century, on many islands, enslaved Afro-Caribbeans far outnumbered their European masters. A total of 1,840,000 slaves arrived at other British colonies, chiefly the West Indies in the Caribbean.
Beginning in the late 18th century, harsh conditions, constant inter-imperial warfare, and growing human rights goals resulted in the Haitian Revolution in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, led by Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines. In 1804, Haiti, with what had been an overwhelmingly black slave population and leadership, became the second nation in the Americas to win independence from a European state and create a republic. Continuous waves of rebellion, such as the Baptist War led by Sam Sharpe in Jamaica, created the conditions for the incremental abolition of slavery in the region, with Great Britain abolishing it in 1838. Cuba (under the Spanish Crown) was the last island to emancipate its slaves.
During the 20th century, Afro-Caribbean people began to assert their cultural, economic and political rights on the world stage. The Jamaican Marcus Garvey formed the UNIA movement in the U.S., continuing with Aimé Césaire's négritude movement, which was intended to create a pan-African movement across national lines. From the 1960s, the former slave populations in the Caribbean began to win their independence from British colonial rule. They were pre-eminent in creating new cultural forms such as calypso, reggae music, and rastafarianism within the Caribbean. Beyond the region, a new Afro-Caribbean diaspora, including such figures as Stokely Carmichael and DJ Kool Herc in the United States, was influential in the creation of the black power and Hip Hop movements. Influential political theorists such as Walter Rodney, Frantz Fanon and Stuart Hall contributed to anti-colonial theory and movements in Africa, as well as cultural developments in Europe.
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. Out of the 12 million people from Africa who were shipped to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade, 645,000 were shipped to the British colonies on the North American mainland and the United States. 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.
In the establishment 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.
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. 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. The internationalism of whaling crews, including the character Daggoo, an African harpooneer, is recorded in the 1851 novel Moby-Dick. They eventually took their trade to California.
Today 1.7 million people in the United States are descended from voluntary immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, most of whom arrived in the late twentieth century. 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. 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. The largest African immigrant communities in the United States are in New York, followed by California, Texas, and Maryland.
The states with the highest percentages of people of African descent are Mississippi (36%), and Louisiana (33%). While not a state, the population of the District of Columbia is more than 50% black. Recent African immigrants represent a minority of blacks nationwide. The U.S. Bureau of the Census categorizes the population by race based on self-identification. 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.
Much of the earliest black presence in Canada came from the newly independent United States after the American Revolution; the British resettled African Americans (known as Black Loyalists) primarily in Nova Scotia. These were primarily former slaves who had escaped to British lines for promised freedom during the Revolution.
Later during the antebellum years, other individual African Americans escaped to Canada, mostly to locations in Southwestern Ontario, via the Underground Railroad, a system supported by both blacks and whites to assist fugitive slaves. After achieving independence, northern states in the U.S. had begun to abolish slavery as early as 1793, but slavery was not abolished in the South until 1865, following the American Civil War.
Black immigration to Canada in the twentieth century consisted mostly of Caribbean descent. 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.
At an intermediate level, in South 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 Chile), few if any are considered "black" today. 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. Behind America, Brazil has the largest population of black diasporic people outside of Africa. However, in places like Brazil and the Dominican Republic, blackness is performed in more taboo ways than it is in, say, the United States. The idea behind Trey Ellis Cultural Mulatto comes into play as there are blurred lines between what is considered as black.
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.
In Colombia, the African slaves were first brought to work in the gold mines of the Department of Antioquia. After this was no longer a profitable business, these slaves slowly moved to the Pacific coast, where they have remained unmixed with the white or Indian population until today. The whole Department of Chocó remains a black area. Mixture with white population happened mainly in the Caribbean coast, which is a mestizo area until today. There was also a greater mixture in the south-western departments of Cauca and Valle del Cauca. In these mestizo areas the African culture has had a great influence.
Some European countries make it illegal to collect demographic census information based on ethnicity or ancestry (e.g. France), but some others do query along racial lines (e.g. the UK). 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.
Estimates of 2 to 3 million of African descent, although one quarter of the Afro-French population live in overseas territories. This number is difficult to estimate because the French census does not use race as a category for ideological reasons.
There are an estimated 500,000 black people in the Netherlands and the Dutch 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.
As of 2005, there were approximately 500,000 Afro-Germans (not including those of mixed ethnicity). This number is difficult to estimate because the German census does not use race as a category.
Some blacks of unknown origin once inhabited southern Abkhazia; today, they have been assimilated into the Abkhaz population.
The first blacks in Russia were the result of the slave trade of the Ottoman Empire and their descendants still live on the coasts of the Black Sea. Czar Peter the Great was advised 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 protégé, 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.
During the 1930s fifteen Black American families moved to the Soviet Union as agricultural experts. As African states became independent in the 1960s, the Soviet Union offered their citizens the chance to study in Russia; over 40 years, 400,000 African students came, and some settled there.
Beginning several centuries ago, a number of Africans, usually via Zanzibar as Zanj and from places such as Niger, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kenya and Sudan, came to the Ottoman Empire settled by the Dalaman, Menderes and Gediz valleys, Manavgat, and Çukurova. African quarters of 19th-century ?zmir, including Sab?rta, Dolapkuyu, Tama?al?k, ?kiçe?melik, and Ball?kuyu, are mentioned in contemporary records.
There are a number of communities in South Asia that are descended from African slaves, traders or soldiers. 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 rulers of Janjira State. The Mauritian creole people are the descendants 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);New Guinea (Papuans);Andamanese; certain peoples of the Indian subcontinent, and the aboriginal peoples of Melanesia and Micronesia. 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. Mainstream anthropologists determine that the Andamanese and others are part of a network of authothonous ethnic groups present in South Asia that trace their genetic ancestry to a migratory sequence that culminated in the Australian Aboriginals rather than from Africa directly.
Although fragmented and separated by land and water, the African Diaspora maintains connection through the use of music. This link between the various sects of the African Diaspora is termed by Paul Gilroy as The Black Atlantic. The Black Atlantic is possible because black people have a shared history rooted in oppression that is displayed in Black genres such as rap and reggae. The linkages within the black diaspora formulated through music allows consumers of music and artists to pull from different cultures to combine and create a conglomerate of experiences that reaches across the world.
It is now estimated that 11,863,000 slaves were shipped across the Atlantic. [Note in original: Paul E. Lovejoy, "The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa: A Review of the Literature," in Journal of African History 30 (1989), p. 368.] ... It is widely conceded that further revisions are more likely to be upward than downward.