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The Development of the Trade
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division

Aleksander Pushkin

In contrast to the Americas, in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, some enslaved Africans reached high positions.

One of the great-grandfathers of Russia's most celebrated poet was Abraham Petrovich Hannibal, an enslaved African who arrived in Russia in 1704, at the age of eight. He was said to be the son of an Eritrean prince, but recent research has placed his birthplace in northern Cameroon. Hannibal-whose Muslim name, Ibrahim, was changed to Abraham-became the godson and collaborator of Tsar Peter the Great. As general of the Russian army and chief of the corps of engineers, Hannibal contributed immensely to the technical and military development of Russia in the eighteenth century. The author of a geometry treatise, he introduced the study of civil architecture in the military engineering schools in Russia. He married a woman from the Swedish nobility and his son Joseph was Aleksandr Pushkin's grandfather.

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