In this and the next series of articles on black history, I will show without any shadow of doubt; the true identity of African-Americans and black people from the Caribbean by revealing the identity of their ancestors who originated from West Africa.
About three hundred years ago during the Trans Atlantic Trade many black people were uprooted from West Africa and taken as slaves to the Americas. Since then, their descendants in the Caribbean and in both North and South America, have not stopped searching for their roots. These black people have wondered about the slave trade, why it happened and which people they belong to in Africa. Because of this gap in their black history, descendants of the slaves who are conscious of their identity have worried about their true identity for the longest time.
To find answers, many have turned to DNA profiling to trace their roots back to Africa. Unfortunately, this scientific tool is not foolproof and therefore, not provided the answers hoped for. Because of this, the answers to finding out what their true roots are, continue to elude these conscious brothers and sisters.
I have some good news for these searching for answers to their identity. You don’t have to worry about where in Africa your ancestors came from anymore. In the next few paragraphs, I will give you the answers to your identity and tell you where your ancestors came from. Therefore, save your money on all the genetics and DNA research or tests.
However, it is not only the descendants of the slaves who are about to learn about their true identity. Millions of people in West Africa, from whom, most of the black people in the Americans originated from, are about to discover to their shock; they also lack knowledge of their true identity. Therefore, just as the information will help our brothers across the Atlantic to discover their true identity so will it help millions in West Africa get to know their origins, their proper names and identities as well.
To begin providing these answers, come with me as we travel back in time to West Africa during the slave trade. We will focus our attention in a stretch of West Africa called the Slave Coast. The trans-Atlantic slave trade is the name for the slave trade that took place between West Africa, the Americas and Europe. During the trade, the European traders named parts of West Africa based on what commodities they traded with the locals. One such trading area was the Gold Coast. I am sure you have heard of the Gold Coast. In the Gold Coast, the main traded commodity was gold, therefore the name: Gold Coast. You may also have heard of the Ivory Coast. In the Ivory Coast, Ivory was the main commodity the Europeans traded with the local people. What you may not have heard of is an area bigger than the Gold Coast and Ivory Coast combined. This was the Slave Coast. Going by the naming tradition of the Europeans, it means, in the Slave Coast, as you may have guessed, the main commodity was slaves. Thus most of the slaves taken to the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean were all from the Slave Coast. Even though you may never have heard of it, the Slave Coast covered a big chunk of West Africa. To give you an idea of the size of the Slave Coast, the best way is to look at a modern map of West Africa shown below.
The Slave Coast extended from the Volta River in Ghana all the way to present day Nigeria. So as you can see, it covered a significant large part of West Africa. It is the people living in this area of West Africa; that are the subject of discussion in this article. However, despite slavery being the biggest trade the Europeans engaged in with the Africans, many people have never heard of the name Slave Coast. Even descendants of slaves in the Americas have not heard of it. Because of this, some descendants of the slaves in America and the Caribbean mistakenly associate the Gold Coast, present day Ghana, as the main source of slavery to America. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear many Caribbean and black Americans claim Ghana as their ancestor’s home. Because of this error, black people from the Americas in their search to find their roots, travel to Ghana (Gold Coast) hoping to fill the missing gaps in their ancestry. They spend the time visiting the forts and castles where their captors held the slaves, hoping to find a connection. Unfortunately, they are going to the wrong place for the answers they seek. Even though the forts and castles in Ghana (Gold Coast) were the prisons or holding cells and last embankment point for the slaves, before their captors shipped them to the Americas. It does not mean the slaves were locals and came from the same vicinity of the forts and castles. Hardly, any slaves came from around where those forts and castles were on the coast. The slaves held in these forts and Castles in the Gold Coast were people their captors brought from elsewhere. These places were usually hundreds of miles away. Those forts and castles are no different from modern prisons. Buildings designed purposely to hold prisoners brought from all over the country. However, just as a modern prison keeps records of where in the country the inmates come from. So did those European traders. According to their records, most of the slaves taken to America came from the Slave Coast. Therefore, since most of the slaves came from this area in West Africa, that is where I will concentrate the search to show the identity of the slaves and their descendants. Throughout this article on black history, it is the people living in the area formerly called the Slave Coast that I will be discussing. This is logical, because searching for answers from the people living around the forts and castles in Ghana (Gold Coast) would be a waste of time.
Before I continue, let me introduce to you a name: “Êυê.” Even though you are not aware of it, this is the true name of many of the people sold into slavery from West Africa. Thus the identity of the African-Americans and black people from the Caribbean is Êυê. Êυê is the name of our ancestors so please note it down and learn to pronounce it. Êυê is pronounced “Erh-verh” or “Eyverh.” The plural form is, “Êυêo,” that is, Êυê with an ‘O’ at the end. It is pronounced “Erh-verh-O” or “Eyverh-O.” The reason for writing the name with these strange characters is because the name has a sound that is not in English. This being the case, there are no letters in English to spell out the sound in the name. The following is my effort to help you get the right pronunciation.
The “Ê” transliterates as, “Erh” or “Ey.” The “υ” transliterates as “vav” or “vher” in English. When you put it altogether it sounds like Erh-verh or Eyverh. This is a difficult name to write in English and get the right pronunciation. Even in West Africa, the neighbours of the Êυê people struggle with the name and end up calling the people “EWE,” instead of “Êυê.” Because there are no characters in the alphabet to write the name in English, the Êυê people in Ghana came up with this novel way to denote their identity. When our people in Ghana and Togo see Êυê they automatically put in the necessary vowels to come up with the proper pronunciation of the name.
Elsewhere in the world, such as, in the Scandinavian and Germanic languages in Europe they have this sound in the language. In these countries when this sound occurs in their language, the letter ‘W,’ in English, is used for the “vher” sound. This means a name like William in English is υilhem in German and a Scandinavian name like υilly becomes Willy in English. During the colonial era, the British introduced the European way of representing the ‘vher’ sound with “W” to West Africa. Therefore, in Ghana, which was a colony of the British, because English is the national language, the people use the letter ‘W’ for the ‘vav’ or ‘vher’ sound.’ Thus Ghanaians call the Êυê people, ‘Ewe,’ instead of Êυê. However, ‘Ewe,’ means a female sheep, and it is wrong to call the people by such a name. To help you the readers pronounce the name Êυê in English, ‘Erh-verh’ or ‘Eyverh,’ is the closest I can come up with. It may not be perfect, but it is close to the real sound of how to pronounce the name. Don’t worry if you are struggling with the pronunciation. To help you get the pronunciation right, go to this article’s website and learn the proper pronunciation of the name.
Earlier, I said going by modern maps of West Africa. The geographical area of the Slave Coast stretched from the Volta River in Ghana to Nigeria. Currently, four countries namely, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey aka Benin, and Nigeria occupy this area.
However, it wasn’t always like that. During the slave trade, this was one sprawling territory to the people we are discussing in this article. To the people, their territory was Êυê-nyigba, which translates in English as the land of the Êυêo or Êυê-land (Erh-verh land). However, in the year 1844, Europeans changed the geographical boundaries and the name of Êυê-land aka the Slave Coast. The new face of the area became the four countries. I guess the name change of the area explains why many have never heard of the name, the Slave Coast. To regulate colonization and trade in the African continent, the European powers met in 1844 in Berlin, Germany to define their trading zones. By that conference, European powers’ trading in Africa divided the African continent between themselves. The result is the current Africa. Whereas before there were no boundaries and the people could move freely about on the continent and be at home, after 1844 all this changed. Africa became broken up into countries with new identities far removed from what was before. Forced together to form these new countries were people who did not belong to the same ethnic background. With Êυê-land aka the Slave Coast now divided into four different countries. People from the same ethnic background; now identifying themselves as French-speaking or English-speaking people because of the new national identity.
Despite the new man-made borders, which divided the people, the people’s ethnicity remains the same. It is important you bear this in mind as we delve further into the article. This is because when I talk about Êυêo or Êυê-land I am referring to all the people living in these four countries, which used to be the Slave Coast. It is the people collectively of these four countries that are the subject-matter for the discussion in this article. I will not be referring to them as Ghanaians, Togolese, Dahomians or Nigerians. Instead I will call them by their ethnic name Êυê (Erh-verh) in the singular, and Êυêo (Erh-verh-O) in the plural. Now that we have set the perimeter of which area in Africa we are focusing on in this identity search and the name of the people, the next thing is to tell you the significance of the name Êυê and how it spells out everything you need to know about your true identity. In the next article I will reveal the shocking meaning of the name Êυê and how the meaning explains so much about black peoples’ suffering in the world.
To be continued.
The Information is culled from the book below.“The Call to the Hebrews,” by Mawuli. Click the link below and get your copy now!