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From African Slave to Russian General

Black History Quiz
From African Slave to Russian General
By Jim Stroud • Issue #100 • View online
Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays at 7:30 am EST. |www.blackhistoryquiz.com

This marks the 100th issue of Black History Quiz! THANK YOU for your continued support with your feedback, tips and sharing this newsletter with your networks. It all serves to keep me encouraged and producing more content. Truly, it takes more than a month to learn our history!
From African Slave to Russian General
Captured in Africa at the age of eight and sold to a Russian nobleman in Constantinople, this young slave was given to Czar Peter the Great of Russia. Peter the Great of Russia grew very fond of the young slave, who quickly became a favorite of his court. The young black captive was then taken to the Russian Orthodox Church, where he was baptized as given a new name.
After he had completed his schooling in 1716, the Czar sent the African to Paris to study military engineering in order to eventually join the Czar’s army. In Paris, the African repeated his earlier social success by becoming a preferred intimate of the Duc d’Orleans, the Regent.
During that time, the African joined the French Army as a Commander, taking part in the Spanish war of the Czar’s Guard as an engineer lieutenant. Peter died in 1725 and the African was immediately banished to Siberia. While in Siberia, he built the fortress of Selenchinsk, escaping only to be recaptured and returned to exile.
In 1741, a new ruler came to power, and the African was restored to honor in the army and quickly rose to the rank of General. The African illegally married a German girl, the daughter of a German officer, and together they had 11 children. In 1799, their granddaughter Nadezhda gave birth to Alexander Pushkin, a poet who became the father of modern Russian literature. The African died in 1782 (some historians say 1781) at the age of 90, owning vast estates and 2000 white slaves.
Q: What was this African’s name?
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ART AS PROPAGANDA
The etching above is a plate by Thomas Stothard from the third edition of Bryan Edwards’ ‘The history, civil and commercial, of the British colonies in the West Indies’, (1801). Thomas Stothard was a highly prolific artist and book illustrator. Inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s fifteenth-century masterpiece ‘The Birth of Venus’, Stothard presents an African woman (the ‘Sable Venus’) standing on a half-shell, attended by cherubs, being towed by dolphins to the Americas. To the left is Triton carrying the British flag and guiding the procession across the ocean, looking the woman. This depiction of the Middle Passage there is no reference to the horrors endured by those transported across the Atlantic on slave ships. Propaganda at its best.
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BHQ ANSWER
The African’s name was Abram Hannibal.
For further study:
  • D.M. Wallace: Russia, p. 271
  • Albert Parry: Abraham Hannibal, Journal of Negro History, October 1923
Abram Petrovich Hannibal (1696 - 1781) - Genealogy
Gannibal - African Son of Peter the Great of Russia
Gannibal - African Son of Peter the Great of Russia
Abram Gannibal, the African slave who became a military engineer, general of the Russian army and great-grandfather of the writer Alexander Pushkin
Abram Hannibal, the Favorite of Peter the Great
Abram Gannibal: The Slave Who Became a Legend
Abram Gannibal: The Slave Who Became a Legend
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jim Stroud

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays at 7:30 am EST. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

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