An intellectual and academic examination of Statement # 86, as found within the Koran Questions For Moorish-Americans

By Brother A. Hopkins-Bey, Grand Sheik, D.M.

“Negro, a name given to a river in West Africa by Moors, because it contains black water”

We deem this work an intellectual and academic examination being that its contents are is based upon sound research, which serves as a confirming mechanism of the teachings of the Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali. In our quest to explicate the teachings of the Holy Prophet, we must leave out our emotions, for an emotional approach will stagnate and idle cutting-edge research of Moorish scholars. The era of standing exclusively on the statement “the Prophet didn’t bring that” has been declared out. We must seek to present academic standard scholarly and erudite information which shall command the respect of the Divine Message brought/taught by Prophet Noble Drew Ali. There is no doubt that statement #86 of the Koran Questions For MoorishAmericans, is inextricably connected to question #85 as well as questions 87-91. The Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali is clearly elucidating why man cannot be negro, black, colored, or Ethiopia. However within the sequence of questions and answer (85-91), there is profound information of a spiritual, historical, and geographical nature. We shall in this terse or rather brusque opus confirm ourselves to statement #86 of the Koran Questions For Moorish-Americans. The following question shall be answered in this work: What language does the term “negro” derive? Where exactly is the “Negro River” located? Who exactly were the “Moors” who named the river Negro (i.e. black)? What is a “blackwater” River and where are they predominantly located?

Part I What language does the term “negro” derive?
The term “negro” which means “black” is of Spanish and Portuguese extract and origin. The languages of Portuguese and Spanish are in no way native or indigenous to Africa, consequently prior to colonization, the idiom “negro” was not in usage as a manner of describing the appearance of things. Typically when a nation has been colonized/conquered, the nation which has been colonized usually adopts the language of the conquering nation. That being stated, we can actually approximate the date of initial utilization of the Portuguese/Spanish expression “negro” in Africa. The Portuguese Empire (Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire (Ultramar Português) or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (Império Colonial Português), was the longest-lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost six centuries, beginning with the capture of Ceuta (A city of northwest Africa, an enclave in Morocco on the Strait of Gibraltar) in 1415. After the conquest, in 1415, of the Moorish stronghold of Ceuta in Morocco, the Portuguese were the first Europeans, to explore the coast of Africa. In the 1460’s they built the first fort in Arguin (Mauritania); later in 1482 they were in the Gold Coast (Ghana). The Portuguese practically ruled undisputed on the coast of Africa during the 15th and 16th centuries. Portuguese sailors began exploring the coast of Africa in 1419, leveraging the latest developments in navigation, cartography and maritime technology such as the caravel, in order that they might find a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice trade. Portuguese territories eventually included the modern nations of Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique. Portuguese explorer Prince Henry, known as the Navigator, was the first European to methodically explore Africa and the oceanic route to the Indies. From his residence in the Algarve region of southern Portugal, he directed successive expeditions to circumnavigate Africa. In 1420, Henry sent an expedition to secure the uninhabited but strategic island of Madeira. In 1425, he tried to secure the Canary Islands as well, but these were already under firm Castilian control. In 1431, another Portuguese expedition reached and annexed the Azores.

Between 1415 and 1521, Portugal occupied six Moroccan coastal towns (Ceuta, 1415; Ksar as-Saghir, 1458; Arzilla and Tangier, 1471; Safi and Azemmur, 1507– 1513), and built six new strategic forts along Morocco's Atlantic shore. European traders first became a force in the region in the fifteenth century, with the 1445 establishment of a Portuguese trading post at Arguin Island, off the coast of present-day Senegal; by 1475, Portuguese traders had reached as far as the Bight of Benin. The slave trade began almost immediately after, with the Portuguese taking hundreds of captives back to their country for use as slaves. It was during the mid-fifteenth century that Portugal established trading relations along the West African coast, and discovered that it was able to purchase huge numbers of Asiatic slaves at a low cost. According to Anthony T. Browder in: From 'The Browder File: 22 Essays on the African-American Experience' (2000), “...the Portuguese were the first to enslave Afrikans and they were the first to call them Negroes. When the Spanish became involved in the slave trade, they also used the word Negro to describe Afrikans. Negro is an adjective which means Black in Portuguese and Spanish.” The following is a timeline of the Portuguese/Spanish colonization/occupation of Africa: • • • • • • • • • 1415 - Portuguese forces conquer Ceuta and gain a foothold in Africa 1418 - Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator establishes a naval exploration base at Sagres on Cape Saint Vincent and begins to sponsor explorations of Africa's coasts. 1419 - Portuguese navigators reach the Madeira Islands. 1434 - Portuguese sailor and explorer Joao Diaz rounds Africa's Cape Bojador. 1441 - Portuguese forces capture Moors near Cape Blanc, south of Morocco, and sell them into slavery. 1448 - 1975 - - This is the time span generally ascribed to the Portuguese Empire, which includes colonies in Africa. 1470 - Spain acknowledges Portugal's monopoly on the trade in enslaved Moors in African 1470 - Portuguese sailors reach the Gulf of Guinea, on Africa's west coast. 1494 - In the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed at Tordesillas, Spain, emissaries of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns "divide" the nonChristian world between the two countries along a line similar to that of the papal bull issued a year earlier. Under that edict, Spain controls all of the Americas and Portugal receives Africa. The new treaty moves the dividing marker just enough to give Portugal "legal" right to colonize Brazil. Since much of the world is unknown to those making this agreement, it comes to carry little weight as exploration by several European countries increases.

• • • • • •

• • •

1505 - Established Portuguese communities exist on both the east and west coasts of the southern peninsula of Africa. 1521 - Spain's holdings in North and Central America and the West Indies are loosely organized. Mexico City becomes the center of colonial rule. 1521 - Spanish colonists in Mexico and the native Moorish inhabitants begin intermarrying. The offspring of these marriages are the first mestizos, ancestors of today's Mexicans. 1521 - Portuguese people begin the colonization of Brazil. 1538 - The first known shipment of enslaved Moors arrives in Brazil. By the 1550s, people from the Dahomey, Yoruba, Hausa, and Bantu groups are working sugar plantations in Brazil. 1575 - Portuguese merchants establish a permanent community at Luanda (northwest Angola), on the western coast of Africa, in a vain attempt to locate salt and silver mines. Instead they begin to build the slave trade. Angola supplies most of Brazil's enslaved Moors for the next 250 years. 1575 - 1591 - - During this time, more than 50,000 enslaved Moors are exported to Brazil from Angola. 1600 - Records indicate there are approximately 900,000 enslaved Moors in so-called Latin America. Between 1580 and 1640 Portugal became the junior partner to Spain in the union of the two countries' crowns.

In lieu of the aforementioned information, there is no record of the Portuguese or Spanish language being independently utilized by Moors in West Africa, nor by Moors in the pre-Columbian Americas. Consequently, the Portuguese/Spanish term “negro” could not have been in common usage prior to the 15th century. If there was a river referred to as “negro” in West Africa proper, it could be traced back to the 15th or 16th century. However, there is no record of a “Negro River” in West Africa proper, between the 15th century and the 20th century. We include the 20th century due to the fact that the Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali published the pamphlet entitled: Koran Questions For Moorish Americans, in the 20th century, and it is this pamphlet which contains statement 86, “Negro, a name given to a river in West Africa by Moors, because it contains black water.”

Part II Where exactly is the “Negro River” located?
In light of the information presented in the previous chapter, their was and is no river in West Africa proper, under the appellation “Negro.” The only river in world which carries the name “Negro” is found in South America. Some may be under the impression that the “Negro River” referenced by Prophet Noble Drew Ali, signifies the “Niger River,” however they are two distinct river systems. The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending over 2500 miles. It runs in a crescent through Guinea, Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, discharging through a massive delta, known as the Oil Rivers, into the Gulf of Guinea. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River (also known as the Zaïre River). The origin of the name Niger is unknown. One hypothesis is that it comes from the Tuareg phrase ‘gher n gheren’ meaning "river of rivers" (shortened to ngher), originating in the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu. The nations of Nigeria and Niger are named after the river. It would have been more likely for Portuguese explorers and Spanish speaking explorers to have used their own word, “negro” (in the stead of Niger), as they did elsewhere in the world, but in any case the Niger is not a blackwater river, therefore the Niger is distinct from the Negro River mentioned in statement #86 of the Koran Questions For Moorish Americans. The Niger River is a relatively "clear" river. The Negro River is called “Rio Negro” meaning “Black River.” It is the largest left tributary of the Amazon and the largest blackwater river in the world. It has its sources along the watershed between the Orinoco and the Amazon basins, and also connects with the Orinoco by way of the Casiquiare canal. Its main affluent is Vaupés, which disputes with the headwaters of the Guaviare branch of the Orinoco, the drainage of the eastern slope of the Andes of Colombia. The Rio Negro flows into the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon River near Manaus, Brazil.

The perplexing mission is reconciling the fact that the Holy Prophet stated the Negro River was in “West Africa,” and we have at present, discovered that the Negro River is presently in what is known as South America. To elucidate this quandary, we offer data which proves that America was once an extension of Africa, specifically West Africa:

Africa-America split: back to the suture - evidence that Florida was once part of Africa
Science News, August 10, 1985 by Jennie Dusheck

Earth scientists mapping the United States at considerable depths have located the "suture" between North America and an African fragment -now called Florida -- that was left behind when the two continents parted 190 million years ago, according to two papers to be published in GEOLOGY. This connecting seam, which runs roughly east-southeast beneath southern Georgia,…says Douglas Nelson, an associate researcher for the Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling (COCORP) at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Because Florida's oldest rocks and fossils more closely resemble those of Africa than those of the rest of the United States, earth scientists have long suspected that Florida might have once been part of Africa. But no one knew until now exactly where the fragment's geologic boundary was. Using sonar like technique called seismic reflection profiling (Science News: 12/8/84, p. 364); Nelson and his colleagues have detected the suture and mapped its course beneath the sedimentary layers of Georgia's coastal plain. The 68-kilometer-wide, wedge-shaped suture ranges from 5 to 35 kilometers deep and is inclined 15 to 25 degrees toward the south.

Part III Who exactly were the “Moors” who named the river Negro (i.e. black)?
The term “Moor,” is often used in reference to those who are phenotypically Africoid. You’ll notice derivatives of the term Moor through the different languages of the world. In the Romance languages (Spanish, French, and Italian) of medieval Europe, Moor was translated as ‘Moro,’ ‘Muir,’ and ‘Mor.’ Even in the present, the Spanish word for blackberry is ‘mora’- a noun that originally meant ‘Moorish women.’ Also in Spanish, the adjective for dark-complexioned (olive hue) was ‘Moreno,’ but it currently means brunette. In modern colloquial Spanish language the term "Moro" (which means Moor) refers to any so-called “person of color” who practices Islam. This usage has also been maintained in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, where the local Moslem population in the Southern islands are called (and they refer to themselves) "Moros." In French “moricaud” means dark skinned (olive hue) or blackamoor, while “morillon” means black grape. In Italian ‘mora’ means ‘Moorish female,’ while ‘moraiola’ means ‘black olive.’ The Holy Koran of The Moorish Science Temple of America teaches that the dominion and inhabitation of the Moroccan empire extended from North-East and South-West Africa, across the great Atlantis even unto the present North, South and Central America and also Mexico and the Atlantis Islands before the great earthquake which caused the great Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, those native/indigenous tribes in the pre-Columbian Americans were in fact Moors who were subjects of the Moroccan empire. It is clear that “Moor” was a specific reference to those person’s within the dominions of the Moroccan Empire. One tribe in particular were the Nanticoke of Cheswold Delaware; they rejected the terms black and Indian, and clearly expressed that they were “Moors.” In lieu of the aforementioned information, there was a Moorish tribe in South America known as the Tupinamhas. The Tupinamhas (also known as The Tupinamba or Tupi), held residence near the “Negro River.” The Tupinamhas, were important in the initial formation of Brazilian culture because it was with

them that the Portuguese first made contact. The Tupinamhas were also the focus of the Jesuit missionaries. The Jesuits learned to speak their languages in order to preach Christianity to several different tribes. They subsequently taught the Tupi their language, Portuguse and Spanish. It must be properly understood that the “Negro River” existed long prior to the arrival of the conquistadors. The river was named by the Tupi Moors. Prior to the arrival of the European, the Tupi called the river, “Vruna,” which in their language meant, “black water.” Following their colonization by the Spanish and Portuguese, and the subsequent acceptance of their languages, instead of referring to the river as “Vruna” they began to refer to it as “Rio Negro,” i.e. Negro River.

Part IV What is a “blackwater” River and where are they predominantly located?
While the name “Rio Negro” means “Black River,” its waters aren't exactly black; they are similar in appearance to tea. The name arises from the fact that it looks black from afar. Most major blackwater rivers are in the Amazon River system and the Southern United States. A blackwater river is one with a deep, slowmoving channel that flows through forested swamps and wetlands. The shade results from the leaching of tannins (Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols
that bind and precipitate proteins; the tea plant is an example of a plant said to have a naturally high tannin content) from the decaying leaves of adjoining vegetation. Black and

white waters differ significantly in their ionic composition. Black waters have ionic concentrations not much greater than that of rainwater. They are, however, much more acidic and this results in black waters having an aluminum concentration greater than that of the more neutral waters. The major difference is the concentrations of sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium; these are very low in black waters. This has considerable ecological implications. Some animal groups, such as snails, need a lot of calcium with which to build their shells and so are not abundant in black waters. The lack of dissolved ions in black waters results in a low conductivity, similar to that of rainwater. Black Water Rivers are rarely found in Africa proper; they are found predominantly in the West, specifically the Americas, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, England, Scotland, and Ireland. It must be duly noted that there are a few blackwater rivers in Africa proper such as the Volta and the Bafing, however historically speaking, none have been given the appellation “negro.”

References: THE PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE HERITAGE IN AFRICA, by Marco Ramerini Birmingham, David. Central Africa to 1870: Zambezia, Zaire and the South Atlantic. Cambridge, U.K., 1981. Cook, Weston F. The Hundred Years War for Morocco: Gunpowder and the Military Revolution in the Early Modern Muslim World. Boulder, Colo., 1994. Garfield, Robert. A History of São Tomé Island, 1470–1655: The Key to Guinea. San Francisco, 1992. Isaacman, Allen F. Mozambique: The Africanization of a European Institution: The Zambezi Prazos, 1750–1902. Madison, Wis., 1972. Newitt, Malyn. A History of Mozambique. London, 1995. Parreira, Adriano T. The Kingdom of Angola and Iberian Interference, 1483–1643. Uppsala, 1985. The Gold Age of the Moor, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, 1992, Journal of African Civilizations, ltd. Othello's Children in the "New World": Moorish History and Identity in the African American Experience, Dr. Jose V. Pimienta-Bey, 2002, AuthorHouse. The North American review, Volume 45 By Jared Sparks, Edward Everett, James Russell Lowell, Henry Cabot Lodge. Goulding, M., Carvalho, M. L., & Ferreira, E. J. G. (1988). Rio Negro, rich life in poor water : Amazonian diversity and foodchain ecology as seen through fish communities. The Hague: SPB Academic Publishing. ISBN 9051030169

Saint-Paul, U., Berger, U., Zuanon, J., Villacorta Correa, M. A., García, M., Fabré, N. N., et al. (2000). Fish communities in central Amazonian white- and blackwater floodplains. Environmental Biology of Fishes. Wallace, A. R. (1853). A narrative of travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, with an account of the native tribes, and observations on the climate, geology, and natural history of the Amazon Valley. London: Reeve. Strauss, Claude-Levi. Triste Tropique. New York: Atheneum, 1974. Wagley, Charles. An Introduction to Brazil. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1971

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