History of American Muslims (1)


The Early History

Pre Columbus & Pre Slavery Years

Compiled By Amir Muhammad
In Dr. Barry Fell’s book Saga America, he reports that the southwest Pima people possessed a vocabulary which contained words of Arabic origin. Dr. Fell also reports that in Inyo County, California, there exits an early rock carving which stated in Arabic:”Yasus ben Maria” (“Jesus, Son of Mary”). Dr. Fell discovered the existence of Muslim schools in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Indiana dating back to 700-800 CE.

By 1312, Mansa Musa’s brother Sultan Abu Bakri II of Mali made his second expedition on the Atlantic ocean. In 1324 on his famous journey to Hajj, Mansa Musa reported in Cairo that his brother had left him in charge of Mali. Anthropologists have proven that the Mandinkas under Abu Bakri explored many parts of North America via the Mississippi and other river systems. At Four Corners, Arizona writings show that they even brought elephants from Africa to the area.

In 1492, Columbus had two captains of Muslim origin during his first voyage, one named Martin Alonso Pinzon the captain of the Pinta, and his brother Vicente Yanex Pinzon the captain of the Nina. They were wealthy expert ship outfitters who helped organize Columbus’ expedition and repaired the flagship Santa Maria. The Pinzon family was related to Abuzayan Muhammad III, the Moroccan Sultan of the Marinid Dynasty (1196-1465).

October 21, 1492, Columbus admitted in his papers that while his ship was sailing near Gibara on the northeast coast of Cuba, he saw a Mosque on the top of a beautiful mountain. Ruins of Mosques and minarets with inscriptions of Qur’anic verses have been discovered in Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Nevada.

In 1527, the Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narva’ez left Spain for the Americas. In his fleet he had five ships and six hundred people in his company. The expedition met with many hardships. Several ships were destroyed by a West Indies, hurricane and a group of Indians killed a large number of the remaining members of the party. Afterward, when only a few members of the expedition were left, Cabeza de Vaca, the former treasurer of Narva’ez took up the leadership of the remaining members of the party with Estevanico being among them.

Estevanico was called an Arab Negro, a Muslim who came from Azamore on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco. He was among the first two persons to reach the west coast of Mexico in an exploring overland expedition from Florida to the Pacific Coast. It’s reported that Estevanico acted as a guide and it took them nine years to reach Mexico City where they told stories of their travels.

In 1538, Estevanico lead an expedition from Mexico with Friar Marco, in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibolia, in which time he discovered Arizona and New Mexico. He was the first member of a different race reported to have visited the North Mexican Pueblos. He was killed in the city of Cibolia, one of the Seven Cities of the Zuni Indians, which is now New Mexico. Friar Marco, while following Estevanico’s trail to Cibolia, learned of his murder from an Indian messenger.

From 1566-1587 Spain kept and maintained a military outpost and settlement called Santa Elena on the southern tip of Parris Island, SC. Portuguese were known to be among the Spaniards at Santa Elena. In Spain 1568 the Alpujarra uprising of the Moriscos (Muslims’ who were forcibly converted to Catholicism) gave cause to another wave of Portuguese Moriscos to leave Spain.

In 1600, the first Melungeons were reported in the southern Appalachian valleys. As English and Scotch-Irish settlers moved in, they pushed the Melungeons into the mountains of North Carolina, and into Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The Melungeons were the first people, aside from Native Americans to penetrate so deeply into the Appalachian region. Many of the Melungeons were of primarily Portuguese ancestry, with North African and Indian traits. Among the early Portuguese were the Moriscos of Spain who were escaping persecution. Today there are still some Melungeons living secretively and many have assimilated into the American culture.

The Melungeons had operated rich silver mines in the area of Straight Creek in the Cumberland Plateau, near Pineville, Kentucky. They minted silver coins in the area for their own use. By the time Kentucky joined the Union and became a Commonwealth, the independent secretive life of the Melungeons came to an end.

In 1600, The Indians told Jamestown residents that with only a six-day walk to the west, there were”people like you,” who wore their hair short and built log houses.

In 1639, The First black recorded by name on the Delmar va Peninsula was called Anthony. He was delivered near present day Wilmington. He was often described as”an Angoler or Moor,” and called”Blackamoor.” From the”Delaware’s Forgotten Folk” The Story of the Moors & Nanticokes by C.A. Weslager

In 1654, English explorers from Jamestown reported finding a colony of bearded people”Moors” wearing European clothing, living in cabins engaging in mining, smelting silver and dropping to their knees to pray many times daily in the mountains of what is now, North Carolina.

In 1670, Virginia General Assembly 1670 Act declared who will be slaves, excluding Turks & Moors, whose countries were in amity with the King of England. Page 491 of Virginia General Assembly 1733 and 1752 records.

In 1684, Moors are reported to have arrived in Delaware near Dover, and in Southern New Jersey near Bridgeton.

The descendants of many of the Muslim visitors of North America are members in many of our present day Indian tribes. Some of the tribes are the Alibamu tribe of Alabama, the Apaches, Anasazi, Arawak, Arikana, the Black Indians of the Schuylkill River area in New York, the Cherokees, Creeks, the Makkahs, Mahigans, Mohanets, the Nanticokes, the Seminoles, the Zulus, and the Zuni.

Many other Muslims and their descendants came to America’s shores after being marooned, such as the Moors of Delaware near Dover, and of Southern New Jersey near Bridgeton, and in parts of Southern Maryland; the Melungeons of Tennessee and Virginia; the Guineas of West Virginia; the Clappers of New York; the Turks of South Carolina; and the Laster Tribe near Hertford, NC. It is reported that the Laster Tribe was descendants from a Moorish captain who married a white woman and settled in the area.

There are more than 500 names of places, villages, streets, towns, cities, lakes, rivers, etc . . . in the United States which are derived from Islamic and Arabic roots. Like Mecca, Indiana; Medina, N Y; Medina, OH; Medina, TX; Toledo, OH; Mahomet, IL; Islamorada, FL, and Tallahassee, FL.

The 1700’s

In 1713, the Reverend John Sharpe reported from New York the existence of what he called “Negro marriages” he described a situation familiar to New Englanders. The marriages of the blacks, he explained, “are performed by mutual consent without the blessing of the Church,” Some slaves, he went on, were kept from Christian marriage “because of polygamy contracted before baptism where none or neither of the wives will accept a divorce.
From Black Kings and Governors of New England.

In 1719 The Reverend Peter Thatcher of Milton, Massachusetts complained about his slave woman Hagar sexual life. She was a slave that was married to Sambo, a slave of Mr. Brightman of Boston, in 1716. She apparently had another child after Sambo’s death or departure from the area by 1719. Hagar had three children Sambo, Jimmie, and Hagar.
From Black Kings and Governors of New England.

In 1730 Ayuba (Job) Suleiman Diallo, a well educated Muslim merchant was kidnaped and enslaved from 1730-1733. Job ibn Solomon Dgiallo (Jallo) came from Bundu, Senegal. He was captured in 1730 in Gambia and brought to Annapolis, MD in 1731, where he was delivered to Mr. V. Denton, factor to Mr Hunt. Mr Denton sold Job to Mr. Alexander Tolsey in Kent Island in Maryland. He was a Fulani who lived near the banks of the Gambia river in Senegal. Job was one of the first Muslims written about in America. While in Maryland Job wrote a letter to his father, which came to the attention of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, who helped purchase his freedom and sent him to London where he was finally set free and sent back home to work for the Royal African Company of London in his homeland. While in London Job wrote down three copies of the Quran from memory.

In 1730 Lamine Jay came from Futa-Toro, Senegal. He was captured along with Job ibn Soliman ibn Dgiallo (Jallo) trading on the lower part of the Gambia river. Lamine was also brought to Annapolis, Maryland where he became known as a Linguist. In less than five years Jay was able to win his freedom and return home with the help of his friend Job.

In the winter of 1741 in New York City, three Moorish crewmembers of a captured Spanish ship were sold into bondage and protested their condition, swearing revenge. After several fires flared across town during March and April of 1742, hysterical residents feared that a slave revolt was imminent and suspected that the Spanish Negroes “Moors” were deeply concerned and active in the protest. The episode ended with the public executions of twenty-three people and the exile of seventy-one others.
From the Seaport New York’s History Magazine.

In 1750, true to legend, the Melungeons were already in the area of Knoxville, TN; Camden, SC; and Marion, NC when the first Europeans arrived.
Mahomet Tombstone

In 1750 in the royal burial ground of the Mohegans Indians in Norwich, CT one of the memorial state’s “In memory of  Elizabeth Joquib, the daughter of Mahomet, great-grandchild to the first Uncas, great sachem of Mohegan, who died July 5th, 1740 at 38 years old. Mamohet was the rightful heir of Qwenoco but Ben, the youngest son of Uncas, of illegitimate birth, succeeded Caesar, the successor as sachem after Owenoco.

From Indian Races of America / The New England Coast.

March 3, 1753 Muslims from North Africa, appear in the records of South Carolina. In the South Carolina Council Journal, No. 21, Pt. 1, pp. 298-299. Two men by the name Abel Conder and Mahamut (Mahomet) petitioned the South Carolina royal authorities in Arabic for their freedom. They came from Asilah (Sali) on the Barbary Coast of Morroco. Their story is that they were in a battle in 1736, with the Portuguese when they lost the battle and was captured. An officer named Captain Henry Daubrib, asked them would they be willing to serve him for five years in Carolina. When they arrived in South Carolina they were transferred to Daniel LaRoche, who then enslaved them for fifteen years until 1753.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.


Chicken George, Kunta’s Grandfather

In 1767, Kunta Kinte was captured and enslaved. Kunta Kinte was a Muslim born in 1750, in the village of Juffure in Gambia. He was shipped to Annapolis, Maryland on the ship Lord Ligonier and sold to a Virginia planter. Kunta Kinte fought hard to hold on to his Islamic heritage. Having learned the Qur’an as a boy Kunta scratched Arabic phrases in the dirt and tried to pray every day after he arrived in America. Kunta Kinte was Alex’s Haley Mandingo forbearer, who he talks about in his book Roots.

In 1768 a Muslim named Charno, living in South Carolina, wrote four Surahs from the Quran. He was the slave of Captain David Anderson. There are at least nine different people reported to have written Arabic text during this period.

In 1769 Savannah Georgia Gazette advertises for three runaway Muslim women from Guinea by the names of Jamina, Belinda, and Hagar.

From 1774-1775 many runaway slave advertisements were of Muslim runaway slaves. Like the one in the Savannah Georgia Gazette, in September 7, 1774 for a runaway Negro fellow named Mahomet.

On June 17, 1775, Peter Salem (Saleem) born (1750?-1816) a former slave who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. The battle was fought at Breed’s Hill according to one story, the colonial troops were near defeat, and British Major John Pitcairn ordered them to surrender. Salem then stepped forward and shot Pitcairn. Pitcairn later died of the wound. Peter Salem got awarded for fighting in the Revolutionary War, and he also fought at Lexington. Peter Salem and Salem (Saleem) Poor were honored for their bravery.

Peter Salem was born a slave in Framingham, Massachusetts. He had at least two owners in his lifetime. The first owner was Jeremiah Belknap. Belknap sold him to Lawson Buckminister of Framingham. Buckminister allowed Salem to enlist in the colonial army. In exchange for enlisting in the army, Salem received his freedom.

After receiving his freedom “Peter Buckminister” changed his name to Salem. He was also known as “Salem Prince.” Local legend has it that the name Salem came from a Massachusetts privateering port where all of the sailors went during the Revolutionary War when people were fighting on their boats. History reports that an old Jewish man told the people that the word was like “shalom” which means peace. The name for peace in Arabic is Salaam and Saleem in Arabic means one who is peaceful.

Salem (Saleem) remained in the army for several years, long enough to fight in the battles of Saratoga and Stony Point. After the war he settled in Leicester, Massachusetts where he barely earned a living weaving cane seats for chairs. He died in the poor house in Framingham in 1816. Postage stamps have been made of Peter Salem and Salem Poor as American Revolutionary war heros.

In 1777 Morocco becomes the first country to acknowledge America’s independence as a new country.

In 1784
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams was commissioned to negotiate a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco.

In 1786 Morocco became the sixth and the first Muslim country to sign a Peace Treaty with the United States in 1786. Algeria in 1795, Tripoli in 1796, Tunis in 1797, and Muscat (Oman) in 1833 followed.

In 1786 two Muslim men appeared in Charleston, SC “dressed in the Moorish habit” and aroused a great deal of suspicion by their strange ways. An officer of the law attempted to question them and found they were Moors who did not speak English. They were taken to an interpreter who found out they came from Algeria and sailed to Virginia were they had been arrested. Then they traveled overland to South Carolina.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.

In 1788 Abrahim Abdul Rahman ibn Sori (1762-1829) born in Timbo, West Africa (In present day Guinea) was captured. He was known as the “Prince of Slaves.” He was a Fulbe from the land of Futa Jallon. Abrahim was captured by warring tribes and sold to slave traders in 1788 at the age of 26. He was bought by a Natchez, Mississippi cotton and tobacco farmer, where he eventually became the overseer of the plantation.

In 1788-1789 The Sultan Mohammed III and President George Washington exchanging letters about peace and asking the Sultan to intercede with authorities in Tunis and Tripoli to obtain the right of free navigation for American ships in the Mediterranean.

August 20, 1789 the Savannah Georgia Gazette, runs an advertisment for a Muslim women runaway describing her as “A Young Negro Wench, named Hagar, has on oznabrig clothes, and wears a handkerchief on hear head. She has been seen a day or two ago selling watermelons near town.”

In 1790 in South Carolina a group of “Moors” by the names of Francis, Daniel, Hammond, and Samuel, along with their wives four Muslim women named Fatima, Flora, Sarah, and Clarinda, asked the South Carolina House of Representatives to treat them as free whites. They stated that while they had been fighting for the emperor of Morocco against an African King they had been taken prisoners. A Captain Clark had the Moors delivered to him on the promise he would take them to England where the Ambassador from Morocco would purchase their freedom. Instead, Clark brought them to South Carolina where he sold them as slaves.
The Journals of the House of Representatives, 1789-1790.

In 1790 Joseph Benenhaly or Yusef Ben Ali from North Africa appears in the 1790 census in Sumter, county. General Thomas Sumter recruited Benenhaly, of Arab descent, and another man known as John Scott to fight with him in the American Revolution. Originally, it is believed that they were pirates. After the war, Sumter took them inland with him to near Stateburg where they settled down and many of their descendents have remained. His dark-skinned descendants, became known as the Turks of Sumter County because of their Moorish background.

In 1792 the South Carolina legislature passed a law which stopped the importation of slaves in the state. One provision stated that Moors could not be bound for terms of years of service and could not be brought into South Carolina from other states in the Union either by land or sea.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.
Yarrow Marmood
In 1796 Brooke Beall’s inventory listed Yarrow’s age at about 60 years old. Yarrow (Mamout) Marmood 1736-1844 was enslaved and brought from Guinea, Africa before the Revolutionary War.

Muslims In America.org



History of American Muslims (1) — 10 Comments

  1. Highly impressed, discovered your site on Ask.Happy I finally tested it out. Unsure if its my Opera browser,but sometimes when I visit your site, the fonts are really small? However, love your blog and will return.See Ya

  2. While I understand that Muslims have always been a part of “America” since it’s colonization by Europeans- you are mistaken about Melungeons. Melungeons are mixed race African, European and Native American people who are not Muslims. Sorry.

  3. Unreal. Please research the history of Islam in America for yourself and please do not believe anything that is written on this website. Christopher Columbus, as written in his “Book of Prophecies” came to America for the final crusade, to end Islam, the restoration of Jerusalem and the universal propogation of the Gospel. You forgot to include that the first international war America had was the Barbary War when Islamist terrorists attacked America’s merchant ships! Truth. Search for truth please.

  4. Sorry Shelly, Columbus came to get rich – his self-promotion may have said otherwise but your post couldn’t be farther from the truth.
    The Barbary Pirates (not terrorists – no definition of terrorist fits them) were also working at the behest of the British who viewed American trade as competition. They and other European nations also paid tribute to them as did the U.S. before the navy was finally strong enough to deal with them.
    The problem is not Islam – it’s fundamentalism – Islamic, Christian, Hindu or Jewish – founded on ignorance of one’s own faith and history and xenophobia.

  5. Okay. Now what gives you the idea that there was ever royalty in the North American Indian Nations?

    By the way, how much you want to bet I can speak with some authority on this subject?

    Rather than go to someone who does not know the history of these people why do you not ask the people who truly know the history of respective people.

    By the way, I have run into people who profess to know. I have also run into people who wanted to fill my shoes. They run like scared bunnies after they find out a few things. I do not know why. My load is light. Want to fill my shoes?

    I do not tell an Arab what or who they are, nor the British, nor the Irish on down the line. Why is it everyone assumes that the American Indian does not know who they are?

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