George W. Williams.

History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens online

. (page 52 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

from ebony black, as in the Joloffers, to the light tint of the
mulattoes, as in the Wakilema, and Barth even describes
copper-coloured negroes in Marghi. As to the skull in many tribes, as
in the above mentioned Joloffers, the jaws are not prominent, and the
lips are not swollen. In some tribes the nose is pointed, straight, or
hooked; even "Grecian profiles" are spoken of, and travellers say with
surprise that they cannot perceive anything of the so-called negro
type among the negroes.

According to Paul Broca, the upper limbs of the negro are
comparatively much shorter than the lower, and therefore less ape-like
than in Europeans, and, although in the length of the femur the negro
may approximate to the proportions of the ape, he differs from them by
the shortness of the humerus more than is the case with Europeans.
Undoubtedly narrow and more or less high skulls are prevalent among
the negroes. But the only persistent character which can be adduced as
common to all is greater or less darkness of skin, that is to say,
yellow, copper-red, olive, or dark brown, passing into ebony black.
The colour is always browner than that of Southern Europe. The hair is
generally short, elliptic in section, often split longitudinally, and
much crimped. That of the negroes of South Africa, especially of the
Kaffirs and Betshuans, is matted into tufts, although not in the same
degree as that of the Hottentots. The hair is black, and in old age
white, but there are also negroes with red hair, red eye-brows, and
eye-lashes, and among the Monbuttoo, on the Uelle, Schweinfurth even
discovered negroes with ashy fair hair. Hair on the body and beards
exist, though not abundantly; whiskers are rare although not quite

The negroes form but a single race, for the predominant as well as the
constant characters recur in Southern as well as in Central Africa,
and it was therefore a mistake to separate the Bantu negroes into a
peculiar race. But, according to language, the South Africans can well
be separated, as a great family, from the Soudan negroes.[643]


[642] Prichard's Physical History of Mankind, vol. i. pp. 247-249.

* * * * *


We shall now find, on comparing these several departments with each
other, that marked differences of physical character, and particularly
of complexion, distinguished the human races which respectively
inhabit them, and that these differences are successive or by

First, Among the people of level countries within the Mediterranean
region, including Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, Moors, and the
Mediterranean islanders, black hair with dark eyes is almost
universal, scarcely, one person in some hundreds presenting an
exception to this remark with this colour of the hair and eyes is
conjoined a complexion of brownish white, which the French call the
colour of brunettes. We must observe, that throughout all the zones
into which we have divided the European region, similar complexions to
this of the Mediterranean countries are occasionally seen The
qualities, indeed, of climate are not so diverse, but that even the
same plants are found sporadically, in the North of Europe as in the
Alps and Pyrenees. But if we make a comparison between the prevalent
colours of great numbers, we can easily trace a succession of shades
or of different hues.

Secondly, In the southernmost of the three zones, to the northward of
the Pyreno-Alpine line, namely, in the latitude of France, the
prevalent colour of the hair is a chestnut brown, to which the
complexion and the colour of the eyes bear a certain relation.

Thirdly, In the northern parts of Germany, England, in Denmark,
Finland and a great part of Russia, the xanthous variety, strongly
marked, is prevalent The Danes have always been known as a people of
florid complexion, blue eyes, and yellow hair The Hollanders were
termed by Silius Italicus, "Auricomi Batavi," the golden haired
Batavians, and Linnæus has defined the Finns as a tribe distinguished
by "capillis flavis prolixis."

Fourthly, In the northern division we find the Norwegians and Swedes
to be generally tall, white haired men, with light gray eyes
characters so frequent to the northward of the Baltic, that Linnæus
has specified them in a definition of the inhabitants of Swedish
Gothland. We have then to the northward of Mount Atlas, four well
marked varieties of human complexion succeeding each other, and in
exact accordance with the gradations of latitude and of climate from
south to north. The people are thus far nearly white in the colour of
their skin, but in the more southerly of the three regions above
defined, with a mixture of brown, or of the complexion of brunettes,
or such as we term swarthy or sallow persons.

Fifthly, In the next region, to the southward of Atlas, the native
inhabitants, are the "gentes sub fusci coloris" of Leo, and the
immigrant Arabs in the same country are, as we have seen by abundant
testimonies, of a similar high brown hue, but varying between that and
a perfect black.

Sixthly, With the tropic and the latitude of the Senegal, begins the
region of predominant and almost universal black, and this continues,
if we confine ourselves to the low and plain countries, through all
inter tropical Africa.

Seventhly, Beyond this is the country of copper coloured and red
people, who, in Kafirland, are the majority, while in inter-tropical
Africa there are but few such tribes, and those in countries of
mountainous elevation.

Lastly, Towards the Cape are the tawny Hottentots, scarcely darker
than the Mongoles, whom they resemble in many other particulars
besides colour.

It has long been well known, that as travellers ascend mountains, in
whatever region, they find the vegetation at every successive level
altering its character, and assuming a more northern aspect, thus
indicating that the state of the atmosphere, temperature and physical
agencies in general, assimilate as we approach alpine regions, to the
peculiarities locally connected with high latitudes. If therefore,
complexions and other bodily qualities belonging to races of men
depend upon climate and external conditions, we should expect to find
them varying in reference to elevation of surface, and if they should
be found actually to undergo such variations, this will be a strong
argument that these external characters do, in fact, depend upon local
conditions. Now, if we inquire respecting the physical characters of
the tribes inhabiting high tracts within either of the regions above
marked out, we shall find that they coincide with those which prevail
in the level or low parts of more northern tracts. The Swiss, in the
high mountains above the plains of Lombardy, have sandy or brown hair.
What a contrast presents itself to the traveller who descends into the
Milanese, where the peasants have black hair and eyes, with
strongly-marked Italian and almost Oriental features. In the higher
parts of the Biscayan country, instead of the swarthy complexion and
black hair of the Castilians, the natives have a fair complexion with
light-blue eyes and flaxen or auburn hair. And in Atlantica, while the
Berbers of the plains are of brown complexion with black hair, we have
seen that the Shuluh mountaineers are fair, and that the inhabitants
of the high tracts of Mons Aurasius are completely xanthous, having
red or yellow hair and blue eyes, which fancifully, and without the
shadow of any proof, they have been conjectured to have derived from
the Vandal troops of Genseric.

Even in the inter-tropical region, high elevations of surface, as they
produce a cooler climate, seem to occasion the appearance of light
complexions. In the high parts of Senegambia, which front the
Atlantic, and are cooled by winds from the Western Ocean, where, in
fact, the temperature is known to be moderate and even cool at times,
the light copper-coloured Frelahs are found surrounded on every side
by Negro nations inhabiting lower districts; and nearly in the same
parallel, but at the opposite side of Africa, are the high plains of
Enarea and Kaffa, where the inhabitants are said to be fairer than the
natives of southern Europe. The Galla and the Abyssinians themselves
are, in proportion to the elevation of the country inhabited by them,
fairer than the natives of low countries; and lest an exception should
be taken to a comparison of straight-haired races with woolly Negroes
or Shungalla, they bear the same comparison with the Danakil, Hazorta,
and the Bishari tribes, resembling them in their hair and features,
who inhabit the low tracts between the mountains of Tigre and the
shores of the Red Sea, and who are equally or nearly as black as

We may find occasion to observe that an equally decided relation
exists between local conditions and the existence of other characters
of human races in Africa. Those races who have the Negro character in
an exaggerated degree, and who may be said to approach to deformity in
person - the ugliest blacks with depressed foreheads, flat noses,
crooked legs - are in many instances inhabitants of low countries,
often of swampy tracts near the sea-coast, where many of them, as the
Papels, have scarcely any other means of subsistence than shell fish,
and the accidental gifts of the sea. In many places similar Negro
tribes occupy thick forests in the hollows beneath high chains of
mountains, the summits of which are inhabited by Abyssinian or
Ethiopian races. The high table-lands of Africa are chiefly, as far as
they are known, the abode or the wandering places of tribes of this
character, or of nations who, like the Kafirs, recede very
considerably from the Negro type. The Mandingos are, indeed, a Negro
race inhabiting a high region; but they have neither the depressed
forehead nor the projecting features considered as characteristic of
the Negro race.[644]


[643] Peschel, The Races of Man, pp. 462-464.

* * * * *



_Carthage_. The foundation of this celebrated city is ascribed to
Elissa, a Tyrian princess, better known as Dido; it may therefore be
fixed at the year of the world 3158; when Joash was king of Judah; 98
years before the building of Rome, and 846 years before Christ. The
king of Tyre, father of the famous Jezebel, called in Scripture
Ethbaal, was her great grandfather. She married her near relation
Acerbas, also called Sicharbas, or Sichæus, an extremely rich prince,
Pygmalion, king of Tyre, was her brother. Pygmalion put Sichæus to
death in order that he might have an opportunity to seize his immense
treasures, but Dido eluded her brother's cruel avarice, by secretly
conveying away her deceased husband's possessions. With a large train
of followers she left her country, and after wandering some time,
landed on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Africa, and located her
settlement at the bottom of the gulf, on a peninsula, near the spot
where Tunis now stands. Many of the neighboring people, allured by the
prospect of gain, repaired thither to sell to those foreigners the
necessities of life, and soon became incorporated with them. The
people thus gathered from different places soon grew very numerous.
And the citizens of Utica, an African city about fifteen miles
distant, considering them as their countrymen, as descended from the
same common stock, advised them to build a city where they had
settled. The other natives of the country, from their natural esteem
and respect for strangers, likewise encouraged them to the same
object. Thus all things conspiring with Dido's views, she built her
city, which was appointed to pay in annual tribute to the Africans for
the ground it stood upon, and called it Carthage - a name that in the
Phoenician and Hebrew languages, [which have a great affinity,]
signifies the "New City." It is said that in digging the foundation, a
horse's head was found, which was thought to be a good omen, and a
presage of the future warlike genius of that people. Carthage had the
same language and national character as its parent state - Tyre. It
became at length, particularly at the period of the Punic War, one of
the most splendid cities in the world, and had under its dominion 300
cities bordering upon the Mediterranean. From the small beginning we
have described, Carthage increased till her population numbered
700,000, and the number of her temples and other public buildings was
immense. Her dominion was not long confined to Africa. Her ambitious
inhabitants extended their conquest into Europe, by invading Sardinia,
seizing a great part of Sicily, and subduing almost all of Spain.
Having sent powerful colonies everywhere, they enjoyed the empire of
the seas for more than six hundred years and formed a State which was
able to dispute pre-eminence with the greatest empire of the world, by
their wealth, their commerce, their numerous armies, their formidable
fleets, and above all by the courage and ability of their commanders,
and she extended her commerce over every part of the known world. A
colony of Phoenicians or Ethiopians, known in Scripture as Canaanites,
settled in Carthage. The Carthaginians settled in Spain and Portugal.
The first inhabitants of Spain were the Celts, a people of Gaul, after
them the Phoenicians possessed themselves of the most southern parts
of the country, and may well be supposed to have been the first
civilizers of this kingdom, and the founders of the most ancient
cities. After these, followed the Grecians, then the Carthaginians.

Portugal was anciently called Lusitania, and inhabited by tribes of
wandering people, till it became subject to the Carthaginians and
Phoenicians, who were dispossessed by the Romans 250 years before
Christ. (ROLLIN.)

The Carthaginians were masters of all the coast which lies on the
Mediterranean, and all the country as far as the river Iberus. Their
dominions, at the time when Hannibal the Great set out for Italy, all
the coast of Africa from the Aræ Phileanorum, by the great Syrtis, to
the pillars of Hercules was subject to the Carthaginians, who had
maintained three great wars against the Romans. But the Romans finally
prevailed by carrying the war into Africa, and the last Punic war
terminated with the overthrow of Carthage (NEPOS, _in Vita Annibalis_,

The celebrated Cyrene was a very powerful city, situated on the
Mediterranean, towards the greater Syrtis, in Africa, and had been
built by Battus, the Lacedæmonian. (ROLLIN.)

_Cyrene_ - (Acts xi. 20.) A province and city of Libya. There was
anciently a Phoenician colony called Cyrenaica, or "Libya, about
Cyrene." (Acts ii. 10.).

_Cyrene_ - A country west of Egypt, and the birthplace of Callimachus
the poet, Eratosthenes the historian, and Simon who bore the Saviour's
cross. Many Jews from hence were at the Pentecost, and were converted
under Peter's sermon (Acts ii.). The region, now under the Turkish
power, and has become almost a desert. It is now called Cairoan. Some
of the Cyrenians were among the earliest Christians (Acts xi. 20); and
one of them, it is supposed, was a preacher at Antioch (Acts xiii. 1).
We find also, that among the most violent opposers of Christianity
were the Cyrenians, who had a synagogue at Jerusalem, as had those of
many other nations. It is said there were four hundred and eighty
synagogues in Jerusalem.

_Lybia_, or Libya (Acts ii. 10), was anciently among the Greeks, a
general name for Africa, but properly it embraced only so much of
Africa as lay west of Egypt, on the southern coast of the
Mediterranean. Profane geographers call it Libya Cyrenaica, because
Cyrene was its capitol. It was the country of the Lubims (2 Chron.
xii. 3), or Lehabims, of the Old Testament, from which it is supposed
to have derived its name.

The ancient city of Cyrene is now called Cyreune, Cairoan, or Cayran
and lies in the dominion of Tripoli. This district of the earth has
lately occasioned much interest among Italian and French geographers.
Great numbers of Jews resided here (Matt. xxvii. 32).

_Libya_, a part of Africa, bordering on Egypt, famous for its armed
chariots and horses (2 Chron. xvi. 8).

_Ophir_, the son of Joktan, gave name to a country in Africa, famous
for gold, which was renowned even in the time of Job (Job xxi. 24,
xxviii. 16); and from the time of David to the time of Jehoshaphat the
Hebrews traded with it, and Uzziah revived this trade when he made
himself master of Elath, a noted port on the Red Sea. In Solomon's
time, the Hebrew fleet took up three years in their voyage to Ophir,
and brought home gold, apes, peacocks, spices, ivory, ebony and
almug-trees (1 Kings ix. 28, x. 11, xxii. 48, 2 Chron. ix. 10).

_Tarshish_ (Isa. xxiii. 1), or Tharsish (1 Kings x. 22). It is
supposed that some place of this name existed on the eastern coast of
Africa or among the southern ports of Asia, with which the ships of
Hiram and Solomon traded in gold and silver, ivory, and apes and
peacocks (2 Chron. ix. 21). It is said that once in every three years
these ships completed a voyage, and brought home their merchandise.
Hence, it is inferred, the place with which they traded must have been
distant from Judea.

The vessels given by Hiram to Solomon, and those built by Jehoshaphat,
to go to Tarshish, were all launched at Eziongeber, it the northern
extremity of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, now called the Gulf of
Ahaba (2 Chron xx. 36). The name of Tarshish was from one of the sons
of Javan (Gen. x. 4).

_Phut_ (Gen. x. 6), or Put (Nah. iii. 9), was the third son of Ham,
and his descendants, sometimes called Libyans, are supposed to be the
Mauritanians, or Moors of modern times. They served the Egyptians and
Tyrians as soldiers (Jer. xlvi. 9; Ezek. xxvii. 10, xxx. 5, xxxviii.

_Pul_. A district in Africa, thought by Bochart to be an island in the
Nile, not far from Syene (Isa. lxvi. 19).

_Seba_ (Isa. xliii. 3) A peninsular district of African Ethiopia,
deriving its name from the eldest son of Cush (Gen. x. 7), who is
supposed to have been the progenitor of the Ethiopians. It is called
Seba by the Hebrews.


[644] Prichard. vol. ii pp. 334-338.


_Ethiopian_ is a name derived from the "land of Ethiopia," the first
settled country before the flood. "The second river that went out of
Eden, to water the garden, or earth, was Gihon; the same that
encompasseth the whole land, or country, of _Ethiopia_" (Gen. ii. 13).
Here Adam and his posterity built their tents and tilled the ground
(Gen. iii. 23, 24).

The first city was Enoch, built before the flood in the land of Nod on
the east of Eden, - a country now called Arabia. Cain the son of Adam,
went out of Eden and dwelt in the land of Nod. We suppose, according
to an ancient custom he married his sister and she bare Enoch. And
Cain built a city and called the name of the city after the name of
his son, Enoch, (Gen. iv. 16, 17). We know there must have been more
than Cain and his son Enoch in the land of Nod to build a city but who
were they?... (MALCOM'S _Bible Dictionary_.)

The first great city described in ancient and sacred history was built
by the Cushites, or Ethiopians. They surrounded it with walls which,
according to Rollin, were eighty-seven feet in thickness, three
hundred and fifty feet in height and four hundred and eighty furlongs
in circumference. And even this stupendous work they shortly after
eclipsed by another, of which Diodorus says, "Never did any city come
up to the greatness and magnificence of this."

It is a fact well attested by history, that the Ethiopians once bore
sway, not only in all Africa, but over almost all Asia; and it is said
that even two continents, could not afford field enough for the
expansion of their energies.

"They found their way into Europe, and built a city on the western
coast of Spain, called by them Iberian Ethiopia." "And," says a
distinguished writer, "wherever they went, they were rewarded for
their _wisdom_."

THE TOWER OF BABEL - Nimrod, the son of Cush, an Ethiopian, attempted
to build the Tower of Babel (Gen. x. 8-10 xi. 4-9). One hundred and
two years after the flood, in the land of Shinar - an extensive and
fertile plain, lying between Mesopotamia on the west and Persia on the
east, and watered by the Euphrates, - mankind being all of one
language, one color, and one religion, - they agree to erect a tower of
prodigious extent and height. Their design was not to secure
themselves against a second deluge, or they would have built their
tower on a high mountain, but to get themselves a famous character,
and to prevent their dispersion by the erection of a monument which
should be visible from a great distance. No quarries being found in
that alluvial soil, they made bricks for stone, and used slime for
mortar. Their haughty and rebellious attempt displeased the Lord; and
after they had worked, it is said, twenty-two years, he confounded
their language. This effectually stopped the building, procured it the
name of _Babel_, or _Confusion_, and obliged some of the offspring of
Noah to disperse themselves and replenish the world. The tower of
Babel was in sight from the great city of Babylon. Nimrod was a hunter
and monarch of vast ambition. When he rose to be king of Babylon he
re-peopled Babel, which had been desolate since the confusion of
tongues, but did not dare to attempt the finishing of the tower. The
Scriptures inform us, he became "mighty upon earth;" but the extent of
his conquests is not known. (MALCOM'S _Bible Dictionary_.)

The private houses, in most of the ancient cities, were simple in
external appearance, but exhibited, in the interior, all the splendor
and elegance of refined luxury. The floors were of marble; alabaster
and gilding were displayed on every side. In every great house there
were several fountains, playing in magnificent basins. The smallest
house had three pipes, - one for the kitchen, another for the garden,
and a third for washing. The same magnificence was displayed in the
mosques, churches, and coffee houses. The environs presented, at all
seasons of the year, a pleasing verdure, and contained extensive
series of gardens and villas.

THE GREAT AND SPLENDID CITY OF BABYLON. - This city was founded by
Nimrod, about 2,247 years B.C., in the land of Shinar, or Chaldea, and
made the capital of his kingdom. It was probably an inconsiderable
place, until it was enlarged and embellished by Semiramis; it then
became the most magnificent city in the world, surpassing even Nineveh
in glory. The circumference of both these cities was the same, but the
walls which surrounded Babylon were twice as broad as the walls of
Nineveh, and having a hundred brass gates. The city of Babylon stood
on the river Euphrates, by which it was divided into two parts,
eastern and western; and these were connected by a cedar bridge of
wonderful construction, uniting the two divisions. Quays of beautiful
marble adorned the banks of the river; and on one bank stood the
magnificent Temple of Belus, and on the other the Queen's Palace.
These two edifices were connected by a passage under the bed of the
river. This city was at least forty-five miles in circumference; and
would, of course, include eight cities as large as London and its
appendages. It was laid out in six hundred and twenty five squares,
formed by the intersection of twenty-five streets at right angles The
walls, which were of brick, were three hundred and fifty feet high,
and eighty-seven feet broad. A trench surrounded the city, the sides
of which were lined with brick and waterproof cement. This city was
famous for its hanging gardens, constructed by one of its kings, to
please his queen. She was a Persian, and was desirous of seeing
meadows on mountains, as in her own country. She prevailed on him to
raise artificial gardens, adorned with meadows and trees. For this
purpose, vaulted arches were raised from the ground, one above
another, to an almost inconceivable height, and of a magnificence and
strength sufficient to support the vast weight of the whole garden
Babylon was a great commercial city, and traded to all parts of the
earth then known, in all kinds of merchandise, and she likewise traded
in slaves, and the souls of men. For her sins she has been blotted
from existence, - even her location is a matter of supposition. Great
was Babylon of old; in merchandise did she trade, and in souls. For
her sins she thus became blotted from the sight of men.