Bermuda’s African legacy to be discussed

  • Noted historian: Clarence Maxwell (Photograph by Leah Furbert)

    Noted historian: Clarence Maxwell (Photograph by Leah Furbert)

The crucial role Africans played in the early days of Bermuda is to be explored tonight at Bermuda College.

Bermudian historian Clarence Maxwell said people taken from Africa “helped define a lot of the foundation for what ended up happening later in Bermuda”.

Dr Maxwell said African skills were vital in helping Bermuda avoid the famines that often affected colonial settlements in their early years.

Dr Maxwell added: “Their most significant contribution is to agriculture. Bermuda fed itself largely because of them.”

The lecture on the African influence on Bermuda covers the period from 1616 to 1680 and will be delivered in the college’s Blue Room at Hallett Hall from 5.30pm to 8pm.

Slaves from Central West Africa brought centuries of experience to the Atlantic world and were skilled at growing staples like yams, plantains and cassava.

Dr Maxwell explained high-protein crops such as ground nuts were “key to sustainability”.

He said: “My focus will be on the question of how a people adapted to a particular environment and shaped it.”

The lecture is organised by the college journal’s Voices in Education committee and Dr Maxwell’s article can be read online.

Dr Maxwell said he planned to explore other African contributions to the island’s culture, including Bermuda’s distinctive dialect.

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Published Mar 8, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 8, 2018 at 6:54 am)

Bermuda’s African legacy to be discussed

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