Bishop Ajayi Crowther: How Fulani Slave Raiders Sold Me To Portuguese Slave Traders In 1837

bishop ajayi crowther letter from 1837

June 27, 2016 – Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther: How Muslim Fulani Slave Raiders Sold Me To Portuguese Slave Traders In 1837

The first Bishop of the Anglican Church was 12 years when he was captured alongside his mom and younger brother and other family members with his entire village by Fulani Slave raiders in 1821 and sold to Portuguese slave traders on February 22nd 1837.

In his letter to then Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, Reverend Williams Jowett, Ajayi Crowther narrated his capture into slavery and rescue.

The educative letter written by Bishop Ajayi Crowther reads:

Rev. and dear Sir,

As I think it will be interesting to you to know something of the conduct of Providence in my being brought to this Colony, where I have the happiness to enjoy the privilege of the Gospel, I give you a short account of it, hoping I may be excused if I should prove rather tedious in some particulars.

I suppose sometimes about the commencement of the year 1821, I was in my native country, enjoying the comforts of father and mother, and affectionate love of brothers and sisters. From this period I must date the unhappy, but which I am now taught, in other respects, to call blessed day, which I shall never forget in my life.

I call it unhappy day, because it was the day in which I was violently turned out of my father’s house, and separated from relations; and I which I was made to experience what is called to be in slavery – with regard to its being called blessed, it being the day which Providence had marked out for me to set out on my journey from the land of heathenism, superstition, and vice, to a place where His Gospel is preached.

For some years, war had been carried on in my Eyo (Oyo) country, which was always attended with much devastation and bloodshed; the women, such men as had surrendered or were caught, with the children, were taken captives. The enemies who carried on these war were principally the Oyo Mahomendans, with whom my country abounds- with the Foulahs (Fulbe), and such foreign slaves as had escaped from their owners. Joined together, making a formidable force of about 20,000, who annoyed the whole country. They had no other employment but selling slaves to the Spaniards and Portuguese on the coast.

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