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The Early History

Pre Columbus & Pre Slavery Years

Compiled By Amir Muhammad

In Dr. Barry Fell’s book Saga America, he reports that the southwest Pima people possessed a vocabulary which contained words of Arabic origin. Dr. Fell also reports that in Inyo County, California, there exits an early rock carving which stated in Arabic:"Yasus ben Maria" ("Jesus, Son of Mary"). Dr. Fell discovered the existence of Muslim schools in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Indiana dating back to 700-800 CE.

By 1312, Mansa Musa’s brother Sultan Abu Bakri II of Mali made his second expedition on the Atlantic ocean. In 1324 on his famous journey to Hajj, Mansa Musa reported in Cairo that his brother had left him in charge of Mali. Anthropologists have proven that the Mandinkas under Abu Bakri explored many parts of North America via the Mississippi and other river systems. At Four Corners, Arizona writings show that they even brought elephants from Africa to the area.

In 1492, Columbus had two captains of Muslim origin during his first voyage, one named Martin Alonso Pinzon the captain of the Pinta, and his brother Vicente Yanex Pinzon the captain of the Nina. They were wealthy expert ship outfitters who helped organize Columbus’ expedition and repaired the flagship Santa Maria. The Pinzon family was related to Abuzayan Muhammad III, the Moroccan Sultan of the Marinid Dynasty (1196-1465).

October 21, 1492, Columbus admitted in his papers that while his ship was sailing near Gibara on the northeast coast of Cuba, he saw a Mosque on the top of a beautiful mountain. Ruins of Mosques and minarets with inscriptions of Qur’anic verses have been discovered in Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Nevada.

In 1527, the Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narva’ez left Spain for the Americas. In his fleet he had five ships and six hundred people in his company. The expedition met with many hardships. Several ships were destroyed by a West Indies, hurricane and a group of Indians killed a large number of the remaining members of the party. Afterward, when only a few members of the expedition were left, Cabeza de Vaca, the former treasurer of Narva’ez took up the leadership of the remaining members of the party with Estevanico being among them.

Estevanico was called an Arab Negro, a Muslim who came from Azamore on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco. He was among the first two persons to reach the west coast of Mexico in an exploring overland expedition from Florida to the Pacific Coast. It’s reported that Estevanico acted as a guide and it took them nine years to reach Mexico City where they told stories of their travels.

In 1538, Estevanico lead an expedition from Mexico with Friar Marco, in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibolia, in which time he discovered Arizona and New Mexico. He was the first member of a different race reported to have visited the North Mexican Pueblos. He was killed in the city of Cibolia, one of the Seven Cities of the Zuni Indians, which is now New Mexico. Friar Marco, while following Estevanico’s trail to Cibolia, learned of his murder from an Indian messenger.

In the 1550s
Nassereddine, the Egyptian, settled near the Hudson River in the Catskills region of upstate New York. He was called Prince Nassereddine. He fell in love with a Native American princess named Lotwana, who married someone else of her choice and tribe. The report has it that he poisoned Lotwana on her wedding night by giving a gift with a poison snake inside. The warriors of the Mohawk tribe captured him and burned Nassereddine at the stake.
 
In Puerto Rico, found in the 1500 era ‘Fort of the Moors’ Arabic writings are found on one of the walls of the fort. Even in downtown old San Juan we found a restaurant storefront decorated in Arabic tiles, centuries old.

From 1566-1587 Spain kept and maintained a military outpost and settlement called Santa Elena on the southern tip of Parris Island, SC. Portuguese were known to be among the Spaniards at Santa Elena. In Spain 1568 the Alpujarra uprising of the Moriscos (Muslims’ who were forcibly converted to Catholicism) gave cause to another wave of Portuguese Moriscos to leave Spain.

In 1586
the English pirate Sir Francis Drake proceeded to raid his Spanish and Portuguese enemies on the coast of Brazil. During the raid Drake liberated or captured 400 Portuguese and Spanish held prisoners, including an estimated 300 Moorish and Turkish galley slaves who were captured in Mediterranean Sea battles, as well as several dozen South American Indians, a smaller group of West African Muslims, and a few Portuguese soldiers. Drake had planned to arm and release the Turks and Africans on Cuba, but heavy storms forced them to continue up the coast of North Carolina. Drake finally landed on Roanoke Island, North Carolina where he met some stranded English settlers pleading for a ride home. Reports have it that he left at least 200 of the Moors, Turks, West Africans, Portuguese soldiers, and South American Indians there on the Island.

The word Melungeon has both Arabic and Turkish roots, meaning ‘cursed soul.’ In Portuguese ‘Melungo’ means shipmate. In Arabic ‘Mudajjan’ ‘Melun’ means one that carries bad luck and ill omen, and “Can” in the Turkish language means soul. In the Turkish language “Melun-can,” means one whose soul is a born loser. The Melungeons lived in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. In William Harlen’s report “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States: Annual Report Smithsonian Institution,” he states that the principal family names of the Melungeons of Virginia and Tennessee are Adams, Adkins, Bell, Bolen, Collins, Denham, Fields, Freeman, Gann, Gibson, Goins, Gorvens, Graham, Lawson, Maloney, Mullins, Melons, Noel, Piniore, Sexton, and Wright. The Melungeons operated rich silver mines in the Straight Creek area in the Cumberland Plateau near Pineville, Kentucky. They minted silver coins in the area for their own use. By the time Kentucky joined the Union the independent and secretive life of the Melungeons came to an end.

In 1600, the first Melungeons were reported in the southern Appalachian valleys. As English and Scotch-Irish settlers moved in, they pushed the Melungeons into the mountains of North Carolina, and into Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The Melungeons were the first people, aside from Native Americans to penetrate so deeply into the Appalachian region. Many of the Melungeons were of primarily Portuguese ancestry, with North African and Indian traits. Among the early Portuguese were the Moriscos of Spain who were escaping persecution. Today there are still some Melungeons living secretively and many have assimilated into the American culture.

The Melungeons had operated rich silver mines in the area of Straight Creek in the Cumberland Plateau, near Pineville, Kentucky. They minted silver coins in the area for their own use. By the time Kentucky joined the Union and became a Commonwealth, the independent secretive life of the Melungeons came to an end.

In 1600, The Indians told Jamestown residents that with only a six-day walk to the west, there were"people like you," who wore their hair short and built log houses.

In 1638 Anthony Janszoon van Salee(1607-1676) was an original settler of and prominent, ealthy landholder, merchant, and creditor in the New Netherlands colony. Anthony was Jan Janszoon's fourth child, born in 1607 in Cartagena, Spain, from his second wife. In 1624 Anthony was in Salè with his father, and by the 1630s had immigrated to New Netherlands, purchasing a farm on the island of Manhattan in 1638, and becoming one of the original settlers.
 
Following numerous legal disputes, including with the church (he was a Muslim), Anthony was ordered to leave New Netherlands, but on appeal to the Dutch West India Company, allowed him to settle on 200 acres in what would become New Utrecht and Gravesend. In 1643 he purchased a house on Bridge Street in New Amsterdam, in defiance of the court order restricting him. He would go onto become a successful merchant and creditor in New Amsterdam, while owning several properties throughout the region. He married Grietse Reyniers Grietse died in 1669, and Anthony married Metje Grevenraet, before dying in 1676. He had four daughters with Reyniers.
 
Anthony's appearance and race was always the subject of much debate. He was of a mixed-ethnic background, and he was incredibly tall with superior strength. Other descriptions of him was that he was a "former black slave who was a "mulatto”; others said he was "half-Moroccan", "Turk", or a "Berber."
 
Anthony was considered "European" enough to be credited, in 1862 for building the first "European" settlement in New Utrecht. He had four daughters who married into respectable, colonial New Amsterdam families of European origin.

Anthony’s father Jan Janszoon van Haarlem (1570-1641) was the first President and Grand Admiral of the Corsair Republic of Salè, from 1619-1627, Governor of Oualidia, from 1640-1641 when he died. He was once a Dutch pirate who was considered one of the most notorious of the Barbary pirates from the 17th century; the most famous of the "Salè Rovers".
 
Jan Janszoon van Haarlem was born in Haarlem, North Holland, Netherlands in 1575. Little is known of his early life, except that he married young and had a child, Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem. His surname was toponymic, indicating his family was from the upper class.

Janszoon was captured in 1618 at Lanzarote (one of the Canary Islands) by Barbary corsairs and taken to Algiers as a captive. There he turned "Turk", or Muslim, after Janszoon's conversion to Islam and the ways of his captors, he sailed with the famous corsair Sulayman Rais, also known as Slemen Reis (originally a Dutchman named De Veenboer). After Sulayman Rais was killed by a cannonball in 1619, Janszoon moved to the ancient port of Salé and began operating from it as a Barbary corsair himself.

In 1639
, The First black recorded by name on the Delmar va Peninsula was called Anthony. He was delivered near present day Wilmington. He was often described as"an Angoler or Moor," and called"Blackamoor." From the"Delaware’s Forgotten Folk" The Story of the Moors & Nanticokes by C.A. Weslager

In 1654, English explorers from Jamestown reported finding a colony of bearded people"Moors" wearing European clothing, living in cabins engaging in mining, smelting silver and dropping to their knees to pray many times daily in the mountains of what is now, North Carolina.

In 1670, Virginia General Assembly 1670 Act declared who will be slaves, excluding Turks & Moors, whose countries were in amity with the King of England. Page 491 of Virginia General Assembly 1733 and 1752 records.

In 1684, Moors are reported to have arrived in Delaware near Dover, and in Southern New Jersey near Bridgeton.

The descendants of many of the Muslim visitors of North America are members in many of our present day Indian tribes. Some of the tribes are the Alibamu tribe of Alabama, the Apaches, Anasazi, Arawak, Arikana, the Black Indians of the Schuylkill River area in New York, the Cherokees, Creeks, the Makkahs, Mahigans, Mohanets, the Nanticokes, the Seminoles, the Zulus, and the Zuni.

Many other Muslims and their descendants came to America’s shores after being marooned, such as the Moors of Delaware near Dover, and of Southern New Jersey near Bridgeton, and in parts of Southern Maryland; the Melungeons of Tennessee and Virginia; the Guineas of West Virginia; the Clappers of New York; the Turks of South Carolina; and the Laster Tribe near Hertford, NC. in Perquimans County. It is reported that the Laster Tribe was descendants from a Moorish captain who married a white woman and settled in the area. They are known to be a mixed tribe who has a tradition and heritage from a Moorish sea captain who married a white woman and settled in the area. The Laster’s principal family names are the Coe Clan, Pools, Slaughters, Van Guilders, Goins, and Maleys.
 
According to William Harlen in “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States: Annual Report Smithsonian Institution” other known groups were the Arab’s of Summit, in Schoharie County, New York, The Mecca Indians, the Hassanamisco Nipmug of Massachusetts, the Turks of South Carolina, the Brass Ankles of South Carolina, and the Seminoles of Florida, who were among the many different groups found here in America.
 
History shows that some of the descendants of the early Muslims married and lived among Native American Indians like the Alibamu of Alabama, Apaches, Anasazi, Arawak, Arikana, Blackfoot, the Black Indians of the Schuylkill River area in New York, Cherokees, Creeks, Kickapoo, Lenapi, Makkahs, Meccans, Mahigans, Mohanets, Mohegan’s, Nanticoke’s, Seminoles, Zulus, and the Zuni Indians.
 
The early Moors were inhabitants of Dover, Delaware; Bridgeton in Southern New Jersey; Sumter, South Carolina, and in parts of the Delmarva area of Maryland. The Melungeons lived in parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, the Guineas lived in West Virginia, the Arab Clappers lived in upstate New York, the Laster Tribe lived near Hertford, North Carolina, and the Ben Ishmael Tribe lived in Kentucky, parts of Illinois and Indiana.
 
In the book Pirate Utopias’ Moorish Corsairs & European Renegadoes, by Peter Lamborn Wilson, he sites that in 1627 Muslim pirates from as-Sali, Morocco in the Barbary Coast attacked Baltimore, Ireland and held it for 68 days. At the time the southern and western parts of Ireland were infested with pirates just as the Barbary Coast. A poem was also written about it called “The Sack of Baltimore.” There was also a famous woman pirate named Grace O’Malley who ruled her own little kingdom in Mayo. In B. Quinn’s book he points out that pre-Celtic tribes of Munster were called the Hibernii. They were assumed to be a branch of the Iberii from Spain.
 
The reason why I mentioned the Muslims in Ireland is because of three things; The Muslims from As-Sali Morocco, as well as the one’s found living in South Carolina, the fact that many African-Americans during slavery and right after slavery who married Irish indentured servants, including my own African enslaved ancestor. Lastly, we found more than a dozen people in the US 1850 census that came from Ireland with Islamic last names such as Islam and Mohamed.

There are more than 500 names of places, villages, streets, towns, cities, lakes, rivers, etc . . . in the United States in which there name are derived from African, Islamic, and Arabic words. Places like Mecca, Indiana; Morocco, Indiana; Medina, NY; Medina, OH; Medina, TX; Toledo, OH; Mahomet, IL; Mahomet, Texas; Yarrowsburg, MD; Islamorada, FL, and Tallahassee, FL are found throughout America. There are at least two cities in Illinois named after Nubian Cities Argo and Dongola, Illinois.
 
Other cities with possible Islamic and African root names are Allakaket, Alakanuk, and Soloman, Alaska; Ali Chuk, Ali Molina, Ali Oidak, Arizona; Cushman, Arkansas; Alameda, and Malcolm X Square, California; Abeyta, and Medina Plaza, Colorado; Liberia Historical, Connecticut; Medulla, and Sallee Heights, Florida; Mecca Historical, Tallulah Falls, and Zaidee, Georgia; Aliamanu, and Maili Hawaii; Hagerstown, Samaria, and Syria, Indiana; Cairo Junction, Egypt Shores, Egyptian Hills, Egyptian Acres, Hagarstown, Media, Medinah, and Shabbona, Illinois; Mingo, Ollie, Palestine Historical, Sabula, Salem, Tama, Makee, and Malak, Iowa; Assaria, Kansas; Gamaliel, Kentucky;  Jordan Hill, and Tallulah, Louisiana; Hagerstown, and Yarrowburg, Maryland; Egypt Beach, Massachusetts; Almira, Hagar Township, and Zilwaukee, Michigan; Amiret, Amor, Isanti, Mesaba, Kanaranzi, Quamba, and Suomi, Minnesota; Egypt Hill, and Itta Bena, Mississippi; Ameera Historical, Ebo, Egypt Grove, Egypt Mills, Sabula, and Yarrow, Missouri;  Madrid, Nebraska; Alhambra Historical, New Mexico; Cairo Junction, Hague, Nunda, Salem, Salamanc, and Unadilla, New York; Babylon Historical, Nevada, Amenia, North Dakota; Ashtabula, Damascus Historical, Kalida, Sabina, and Toledo, Ohio; Damascus Heights, Jordan Creek, Jordan Valley, and South Lebanon, Oregon; Aliquippa, Egypt Corners, Egypt Mills, Jordan Valley, and Media, Pennsylvania; Jordan Village, Utah; Bagdad Historical, Cairo Bend, Isham, Palestine Historical, and Zu Zu, Texas; Ahmedabad, Egypt Bend Estates, and Jordan Springs, Virginia; Bagdad Junction, Illahee, Shuwah, and Yarrow Point, Washington; Algeria Historical, Egypt Historical, Jordan Run, and Jumbo, West Virginia; Medina Junction, and Mecan, Wisconsin, and Holy Islamville, South Carolina.
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