December 30, 2016

Feliz from Guinea - An Enslaved Man in 1773 in Puerto Rico

One of the regions I see many Africans that were enslaved and listed in church records in Puerto Rico is a West African coastal country, Guinea.  While I see many other African countries listed, this one stands out because I also have plenty of ancestry from this region.

Guinea today is a far cry from where it started. Today the people speak french and the major religion practiced for centuries is the Muslim faith.  This country or region was known for its trade and was once part of the Ghana Empire.  I recommend that you read up on the Sosso Kingdom that existed in the 12th Century, well before the invasion of Europeans or even on Kaya Magan Cissé, who was a king around c. 350 and founder of the Cissé Tounkara dynasty.

Below I provide the baptism of a Guinean man taken from his homeland, enslaved, and made to live on a foreign island.  It saddening that many like him never got to see their homeland or family again. While most records indicate whom the person has been sold to, in this record, it is clear that he had not been sold.  We do not know if he survives his time on the island of Puerto Rico, whether he gains his freedom, gets to build a family, or even what last name he takes on.  We will only be able to deduce if we find a marriage record with his name and it indicating that he is from Guinea that he potentially survived.  His record is located in Book 1 of Baptisms for San Matheo Apostolic Church in Cangrejos (Santurce) and is the 11th entry.  He was baptized on May 31st, 1773.

Feliz from Guinea
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