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Black Jews in the Kingdom of Loango/Angola

Updated: May 8, 2020

An older map showing the Bight of Biafra/Gulfo do Judeus

In this translation, it is stated that there were black Jews in the Kingdom of Loango/Angola

Recent BHIA translation selection from the French book, West and Central Africa in our time, by Mr Savorgnan de Brazza. In this translation, it is stated that there were black Jews in the Kingdom of Loango/Angola, and that they were despised by the Hamitic Negroes living among them at the time. (BHIA Comment:These Jews were some of the expelled Jews of Spain and Portugal). Negroes whom one can meet: well made, very black, with a pleasant physiognomy, they have teeth of an admirable beauty. The Montiquès are beautiful, but they spoil their teeth by filing them to make them sharp; they also have long scars on both cheeks and sometimes on the body. But a fact worthy of the attention of travelers is that, according to Allendorp, the Kingdom of Loango contains black Jews living scattered throughout the country; they are despised by native negroes, who even scorn to eat with them; they are engaged in commerce, and celebrate the Sabbath so strictly that they forbid themselves even to speak; they have a particular cemetery and very far from the dwellings. They decorate their tombs, built in masonry, with Hebrew inscriptions whose singularity excites the laughter of the Negroes, who see only snakes, lizards and other reptiles.

(BHIA Comment: Possible description of Paleo Hebrew writing?) Mr. Erhmann, in the impossibility of explaining the origin of these Jews, doubts the reality of the fact; but Busching, Michaélis, and Zimmermann do not hesitate to admit its existence.

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