The largest number
of Africans in the lowlands (34 percent) came from
Bantu-speaking regions of west-central Africa.
Twenty percent were transported from Senegambia, while
the Gold Coast and Sierra Leone each accounted for about 15 percent of the
total number. Others came from the Bight of Biafra and the
The enslaved population of Virginia/Maryland was composed mostly of
Africans from the Bight of Biafra, some 39 percent. Senegambia accounted for 21
percent of the Africans in this region. Another 17 percent were of Bantu
origin, and 10 percent were originally from the Gold Coast.
Therefore, nearly 90 percent of the Africans in these two major regions
came from only four zones in Africa. Most came from the west-central area of
Angola and Congo where languages -
Kimbundu and culture (often referred to as Bantu) were
closely related. Many more ended up in the tidewater than in the lowlands, but
they comprised nearly a third of all migrants in both sectors.
The Senegambians were much more prominent in North America than in South
America and the Caribbean. Senegambia was strongly influenced by Islam, to a
greater degree than any other coastal region where enslaved Africans
originated. More Muslims were enslaved in North America - except for Brazil - than anywhere else in
the New World. Their presence was especially pronounced in Louisiana, to which
many Manding people - almost all males - had been transported.
This state also had a large presence of non-Muslim
Bambara from Mali.
Upper South had a considerable population of people from
the Bight of Biafra, as did lowland South Carolina and Georgia. In all
probability, a large number of the many Africans whose origins are not known
actually came from this area. These
Ibibio people would develop a distinct subculture. Women
made up a relatively high number among those groups. They gave birth to a new
generation, ensuring some transmission of their cultural values and
Men and women from Sierra Leone and the adjacent Windward Coast were
heavily concentrated in the low country, and most were involved in cultivating
Noticeably absent from North America's African population were
substantial numbers of people from the
Slave Coast (
Togo, Benin, and western Nigeria). Contrary to Brazil and Cuba, the United States received very few Yoruba.