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Despite an Islamic presence in the Western hemisphere for over half a millennium, the history of this portion of the Muslim Diaspora is gravely under-researched. There is evidence that Muslims had reached and interacted with Native Peoples long before Columbus made the ‘New World’ known to Europe. Nevertheless, it was Columbus’ voyage and the resultant European onslaught that forever changed the history of Native Peoples, Africans, and consequently African Muslims.For 400 years, millions of Africans were forced into chattel slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean.
The precise estimates of enslaved Africans of the Islamic faith vary greatly, but the notion that a significant percentage was Muslim is unquestioned. Unfortunately, precious few resources related to these African Muslims have been unearthed or fully examined. Over the past three decades more research has been written on the subject and it is becoming an acknowledged phenomenon in the histories of many countries including the United States. From Muslim-led rebellions in Brazil to Islamic scholars and gentry toiling in bondage in Georgia and Maryland, the history of how the West African arm of the Muslim ummah slowly bled is finally coming to light.
This select bibliography provides an introduction to the research tracing the plight of enslaved African Muslims in the Americas and the Caribbean. The included works are books, book chapters, and journal articles published through 2001, as well as a small number of significant unpublished dissertations. The majority of citations represent scholarly research on the topic in English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian, and German, but also included are several published primary resources in many languages including Arabic. Incorporated sources were limited to those that focus on the topic or contain discrete chapters or sections on enslaved Muslims. Nineteenth and twentieth century newspaper and magazine accounts of enslaved Muslims have been omitted. After a general literature category, the works are arranged geographically and further broken down by country and subtopics within the country when applicable.