African Presence in Asia

 

This is a  Tony Brown’s Journal  interview of Dr. Runoko Rashidi. He is a historian and author who examines the African Diaspora with a focus on Asia. The African presence in Asia has been a relatively unexplored area of scholarship Rashidi reveals there has been an African presence in India,Cambodia, Japan,  China, and the wider Pacific island region. Much of the focus in historical research focuses on West Asia. The modern day contact and diplomatic exchange between Asian and African nations is not a new phenomenon. It has been occurring throughout history. Ethiopians served as mercenaries in Indian kingdoms. Asian and African contact was made in both Madagascar and the Andaman Islands. The vital network of trade was both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Ethiopia became so powerful that it once colonized Yemen. The Aksum empire as it was known dominated most of East Africa. The movement of African peoples was both voluntary and involuntary. Africans were enslaved by Iraqis, Iranians, and Indians in some cases. The Arab slave trade predates the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  The Zanj  of Iraq revolted in one of history’s longest slave rebellions ( they were a series of revolts in the 7th and 9th century ). Africans were not just slaves, but contributed to the communities in which they lived.

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