John Halsted


Who Were the First Ex-Pats? (Who Came First?)
Typographical arrangement of this edition © John Halsted 2010

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John Halsted Sandhurst Berkshire United Kingdom 2010


John Halsted


CHAPTER 1 Who Came First?.........................................................................4 CHAPTER 2 Ex-Pats in Medieval Times..........................................................7 CHAPTER 3 Ancient Ex-Pats..........................................................................10 Chapter 4 Antiquity and the Future..................................................................12 Chapter 5 What Goes Around, Comes Around...............................................14 Chapter 6 ExPat Slaves...................................................................................17 CHAPTER 7More Precious than Gold and Silver...........................................21 Chapter 8 Mystery of the Paraguayan Vikings................................................25 Author’s Note...................................................................................................29

Author’s Note


CHAPTER 1 Who Came First?
Have you ever asked yourself - who were the first ex-pats? In today's jet-age society expat living is now an accepted way of life and we are no longer surprised to find people born and raised in other countries and from other continents living amongst us. But has it always been so? Indeed my own family has lived almost in this manner for most of the last two hundred years. My great grandfather left England in the mid-to-late-1800's and settled in Australia. My grandfather, born and brought up in Australia, went to South Africa to fight in the Anglo-Boer war at the turn of the last century, met a young lady from England, married and stayed raising a family of ten. My father, with the exception of a tour of North Africa, Italy, Germany and Poland in the years 1939 to 1945, remained in South Africa. Having being born and brought up in South Africa I married a New Zealander and moved to New Zealand where we had our children. My mother's side of the family is French-Mauritian and my wife's family has Scottish, Irish and Australian ancestry! My immediate family is now currently permanenttemporary residents of England! And so the wheel has turned a full circle. With the advent of the industrial revolution came the first mass-migration of the modern age. In the main, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand were all settled by immigrants from the “old World” of the U.K and Europe. What had been a trickle in the 1600's became a flood by the mid-1800's. Ellis Island in New York being a lasting testament to this. But was this the first mass migration of mankind? In 722BC, the Assyrians, under King Shalmaneser V conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and many Israelites were deported to Khorasan. Since then, and for over 2,700 years, the Persian Jews have lived in the territories of today's Iran. In 588BC King Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Kingdom of Judah and most other countries in the Levant. Subsequently the Judean nation was exiled to Babylon and out of this exile came the well know stories of Daniel – in the Lion's den, in the fire


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and his ascent to be the Prime Minister of Babylon, second in power only to Nebuchadnezzar himself. The story of an ex-pat who dun’ good. It was another seventy years before the Jews were allowed to return to Israel. But during this time the Jews were not all understanding, obedient and demure. There are stories of troublesome Jews being exiled to remote parts of modern day Iran by Nebuchadnezzar where, against all odds, they established communities and inhabit towns that exist to this day. Once again the ex-pats had an effect on a foreign culture. In preference to returning to Israel as part of the Jewish restoration, Georgian folklore has unproven stories of Jewish migrations into the region of current day Azerbaijan and Georgia. A not altogether unbelievable migration. When the state of Khazaria was formed in the 500's to 600's AD between the lower Don and Volga rivers, it is believed that it was this heritage that influenced the leaders of Khazaria to select Judaism over Christianity (from the West) and Islam (from the East). Selecting Judaism was also politically astute as it aligned the new nation with neither of the religious powerhouses of the day (Byzantium and Baghdad). In ancient times it was common practice to conquer nations and take the conquered people into exile with a view to assimilation. As such most of the great ancient empires were cross-pollinated with the customs and cultures of a myriad of peoples. Even though a people were conquered, leaders of time realised the benefit of crosspollination. The prophet Mohammed also realised this benefit. In his writings he states there are “five peoples of the book” - Moslems, Christians, Jews, Manicheans and Zoroastrians. He also states that all should be respected. Unfortunately this command seems to have been forgotten in the ever polarising views of the Middle East. To this end, when the Seljuks took control of Baghdad, the Sultan demanded that the team who oversee the redesign and rebuilding of the city should consist equally of Jews and Moslems. While both would bring technical expertise to solve the problems that would be faced, one can only wonder how much extra benefit was gained culturally, through learning tolerance and acceptance of their fellow humans no matter what their creed or what religion they practiced. While mankind has an insatiable hunger to explore, discover and learn, ex-pats will always be with us. And while there are “foreigners” living in our midst, our


perceptions and attitudes will directly, and indirectly, be influenced and in most cases changed for generations to come. I could go on about how the Assyrians, Urartians, the Medes and the Parthians in the centuries before this had similar cross-pollination and assimilation practices. Irrespective of how far back in time we travel, there have always been ex-pats.


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CHAPTER 2 Ex-Pats in Medieval Times

The descendents of current day Kalmykia, a former Soviet state situated on the West bank of the Volga just above Astrakhan and the Caspian Sea, migrated en masse in the 1600's from Mongolia. Thinking they had made a mistake they re-migrated to Mongolia and returned to finally settle once and for all in Kalmykia. Indeed the yurt, which is common amongst nomadic Mongolians can now freely be seen on mainland Europe. Kalmykia is now the only European country with Buddhism as its state religion, hence the cross-pollination effects of ex-pats is clearly demonstrated. After the much acclaimed novel 1491, you may think the Chinese led the expat endeavour in the medieval world. But you would be mistaken. Two hundred years before this Marco Polo lived as a European ex-Pat in China and his adventures are well documented. There are also stories of other Europeans who did likewise before and after Marco Polo. In about the year 800AD, after years of tribal fighting, a loose confederation of Russian tribes asked the Svear, or Swedish Vikings, to establish a system of government for them. This set in place the Rurik dynasty which after initially establishing itself at Novgorod, expanded its empire and later moved its capital to Kiev. This dynasty lasted almost four hundred years, until the late 1200's, when it was overrun by Genghis Khan and the Golden Hoarde. In the 600's AD, the Catholic Church held sway over most of Europe where innovation and free thought was decidedly frowned upon. Refuse and excrement was thrown into the streets to be drained (only when it rained) by ad-hoc guttering which fed directly into rivers. The church forbade money lending which in turn meant the economy of Europe was, like the gutters, stagnant. In 711AD Spain was invaded by the Umayyid Moslems, or Moors, who overran the crumbling Visigothic kingdom of Roderick. The Moors originated in North Africa, (Mauritania and Morocco) and crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. The bulk of their army was made up of Berber stock (more on the Berbers later). In effect the Moors became ex-pats bringing their culture and customs with them.


Under the Emirate of Cordoba, the cities of southern Spain, Toledo, Cordoba, and Seville, speedily became centres of the new culture and were famed for their universities and architectural treasures like the Alhambra (made possible by the arch), luster glazing, delicate and lace-like wooden carvings, calligraphy, gold and silver smithing, the development of steel etc. etc. etc. Not only were physical and ascetic changes introduced, but the Moors also introduced the social custom of chivalry, practiced across the Moslem world. Their impact was to last seven hundred years and was to have a significant part in leading medieval Europe out of the Dark Ages. At about the same time the Moors invaded Spain, the Vikings started raiding from Northern climes, which was to last for three hundred years. The Viking era culminated in the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, two weeks before the more famous Battle of Hastings. Less well known and acknowledged is where Vikings raided, Viking traders usually followed. Before my family launched off to the shores of the southern hemisphere's new world in the 1800’s, we can trace our roots back to the Danelaw (or Danelagh) of North and East England and before that Denmark. It would seem that ex-pat living is in our blood. In 1066 the Normans invaded England and won the throne implementing a Norman culture over a Viking-Anglo-Saxon culture. But where did the Normans come from? In order to stop Viking raids in Northern France, the French King offered the Vikings tracts of land which have since become known as Normandy – home of the North or Norse men, in effect Viking ex-pats. It was these same Northmen, or FrancophileVikings, that laid claim to the throne of England in 1066. In winning the throne of England a whole new range of Franco-Viking customs, laws and language was introduced to England. In order to supplant Anglo-Saxon culture with that of the Normans, the ruling class of Normandy almost decamped en masse to England effectively becoming ex-pats again. And the rest, as they say, is history. Only the effects are still being felt world-wide today. Much has been written about Viking activities to the West of Scandinavia i.e. England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and of course, the USA. But not much has been written about Viking activities to the East, coincidentally the subject of my book, Legend of the Last Vikings - Taklamakan. In 921AD on an embassy to the Bulgar Court on the middle Volga, Ibn Fadlan, the acclaimed Arab chronicler, recorded Viking traders as speaking as many as nine languages. Not exactly the Hollywood image of semi-barbaric illiterate raiders.


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Another aside, they DID NOT have horns on their helmets. This is another Hollywood fabrication which has crept into the modern-day image of Vikings. The Vikings had two primary trade routes East. These were via the Dniepr river and the Volga river. This involved sailing from the North Sea through the Skaggerak and the Baltic Sea to the Gulf of Finland. They then rowed past St Petersburg into Lake Ladoga and turned south, rowing up the Volkhov river to Novgorod, their first major trading post. Thereafter they would row further inland to a point where the Ilmen, Dniepr, Volga and Dvina rivers have their sources within about a one hundred mile radius. Picking their boats up, they would then port them and their cargoes to the Dniepr or Volga, refloat and then sail and row down these rivers to the Caspian Sea or Black Sea, trading as they went. The point of this explanation is where the Vikings traded, they invariably established trading posts and usually ended up with de facto Viking settlements of Viking ex-pats. With this came the introduction of Viking customs and culture. With links to Byzantium and the Caspian sea the Vikings most certainly would have heard of the fabled cities of Samarkhand, Bukhara, Kashgar, Hotan and Xi’an - to name a few; all on the worlds first superhighway, the Silk Route. It is now an established fact that Vikings traded to ports along this network. Some even travelled portions of the route as did Yngvarr Vittfarne a Swedish Viking who disappeared in the area of Samarkhand in about the year 1040AD. Rest assured that wherever the medieval ex-pats ended up, getting there was never easy.


CHAPTER 3 Ancient Ex-Pats

Even before the Vikings made it to the Silk Route, it is also an established fact that the Romans had conquered the Western World and even parts of the Eastern world, thereby exporting Roman customs and culture to the far outposts of Britain in the West and Iran, Iraq and Egypt in the East and just about every place in between. Less known is that in an unwritten agreement with the Chinese, the Romans built forts along the western portions of the Silk and Spice Routes to protect trade along those routes, as did the Chinese along their Western approaches into the Taklamakan desert culminating at the fabled city of Lou Lan. Needless to say many a Roman soldier garrisoned over a thousand miles away from home took de facto wives who in turn would have had children, thereby introducing western genes into the Asian gene pool and vice versa. In about the year 100BC a tribe started a migration west from the North West Caspian area. They made their way across Europe settling for a while in Germany later moving west in to the Pyrenees (in the 400’s AD) into an area which today we call Andalusia. They are known to us as the Vandals, from which the name Andalusia is derived. A name which even today brings thoughts of wanton destruction to mind. Eventually outstaying their welcome they began migrating across the Iberian Peninsula eventually crossing the Straits of Gibraltar en masse to North Africa. There they migrated East and became rulers of Carthage, eventually building a fleet and controlling much of the Western Mediterranean. We all know the story of Spartacus, the Punic wars and of course Hannibal and his elephants. Needless to say that during these campaigns more than one Vandal soldier decided to not return to Carthage and stayed on mainland Europe, in effect becoming ex-pat Vandals – perish the thought! The Vandals were finally brought to heel in the 500's by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. But what happened to them? It is believed that many slipped away into the desert and intermarried with the Berber tribes of North Africa Remember the Berbers from Chapter 2. In a break with Moslem law and tradition, Berber woman are


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permitted to approach a man and ask him out on a date. It is believed that this is a throwback to Vandal customs. There are also tales in sub-Saharan African folklore that report red haired and blond haired men arriving en masse in the Sahel (the geographic area that marks the southern reaches of the Sahara and the start of Sub-Saharan Africa) not long after the defeat of the Vandals in the 500’s AD. The effect these men had on the negroid Bantu tribes is unfortunately not recorded. What is known is that it was the Berber regiments who helped the Moors defeat the Visigoth King, Roderick, in Spain just over two hundred years after the Vandals were defeated by Justinian. In effect returning to an area in which they had been temporarily resident. Which raises the question, could they have truly been considered to be ex-pats?


Chapter 4 Antiquity and the Future

Three hundred years before the birth of Christ and before the Vandals and the Romans, the Macedonians, led by Alexander the Great, conquered the known world, and beyond. Indeed Afghan and Northern Indian families with light skins and blue/green eyes claim these physical attributes are directly traceable to Alexander's conquest of their area. One only has to also look at the now famous 1985 National Geographic cover picture taken by Steve McCurry of the green-eyed “Afghan girl” for evidence of Alexander's lasting legacy in Asia – two thousand two hundred years later. Alexander's system of rule was to place his most trusted generals and staff in charge of the areas and regions he conquered, in effect introducing a system of expat Macedonian governors and administration staff. As such he created a system of satrapies across his empire reaching from Macedonia and Greece to India including Persia (Iran and Iraq), Turkey, Egypt, the Holy Land and the Lebanon. In effect he implemented a system of devolved government not too dissimilar to that used in modern democracies today. It goes without saying that Macedonian customs and culture must have been introduced and adopted by the locals to a greater or lesser degree. But Alexander was not the first to use this system. Assyrian and Persian kings were using this system hundreds of years before Alexander arrived on the scene. When Alexander died prematurely his satrapies were divided amongst his generals, most deciding to take the opportunity to become Kings in their own right. As such the ruling class over much of the known world was, for a time, Macedonian. Indeed the Mogul dynasties of Northern India which followed can be attributed to Alexander's introduction of formal government. Three centuries later and half a world away in Egypt, Cleopatra VII, of Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar fame, was the last of the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty. Ptolemy was allegedly Alexander’s half brother and also one of his generals. By the time Mark Anthony and Cleopatra started acting out their final scenes, the Ptolemies were more


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Egyptian than Macedonian having adopted the Egyptian Gods, Goddesses, customs and practices. This raises another interesting point. At what point does an expat become a local? But why do we label ourselves? After all, in today’s dynamic and ever shifting world, what is an African, an Asian, a European or an American? Consider this: I was born and raised to Caucasian parents in Africa, which, using today’s etymology would make me a European African. My father, born in Johannesburg to parents, one of whom was Australian and the other British, would have been a European-AustralianAfrican. What then about a child born to ex-pat Nigerian parents in England, which is not uncommon. Does this make him an African European? The existence of ex-pats started as soon as the concept of statehood and belonging was introduced, and we all know this to be circa seven thousand years ago, possibly with Abraham in Ur. But what of the future? When humankind eventually gets to explore the stars, what will we be called? Will we simply label ourselves “Earthlings” or will we confuse the matter by labelling ourselves “African Earthlings”, “American Earthlings”, “Asian Earthlings” or maybe even “European Earthlings”? Lets hope we have the whole “cultural tolerance and labelling” thing well sorted by then, because rest assured we are guaranteed to have off-world ex-pats living among us, as no doubt they will have off-world expat “earthlings” living amongst them.


Chapter 5 What Goes Around, Comes Around

Under the Ptolemies (±306BC to ±30BC) who we mentioned in chapter 4, Cyrenaica in North Africa had become the home of a large Jewish community. These numbers were substantially increased by tens of thousands of Jews deported there after the failure of the rebellion against Roman rule in Palestine and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. And so the Jews returned to Africa. Some of these refugees made their way into the desert, where they became nomads and nurtured their fierce hatred of Rome. There they converted many of the Berbers, with whom they mingled, to Judaism and in some cases whole tribes were identified as Jewish. In AD30 the Romans finally conquered Egypt and inherited all Egypt’s provinces including Cyrenaica. In AD 115 the Jews raised a major revolt in Cyrenaica that quickly spread through Egypt back to Palestine, also ruled by Rome. The uprising was eventually put down by AD 118, but only after Jewish insurgents had laid waste to Cyrenaica and sacked the city of Cyrene. Contemporary observers counted the loss of life during those years at more than 200,000, and at least a century was required to restore Cyrenaica to the order and prosperity that had meanwhile prevailed in Tripolitania1. In the 1975 movie The Wind and the Lion, set a little further West on the North African coast at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Great Raisuli, Lord of the Rif (played by Sean Connery) captures an American widow (played by Candice Bergen) and her two children which triggers an international incident and a subsequent chain of events which was resolved by that ever so effective tool of imperial governments of the time – Gunboat Diplomacy. But there were Europeans in the Rif long before the early 1900’s and even before the Portuguese Navigators of the 1400’s, albeit for a short period – Vikings (who else?) In his book The Vikings in History (3rd Edition) F. Donald Logan mentions the fouryear “expedition” of Bjorn Ironside and Hasting between AD859 and AD862. At a time when former Viking raiders were settling down and inter-marrying, especially in
1 Helen Chapin Metz, ed. Libya: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of
Congress, 1987


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Ireland and England, these Vikings took a fleet, estimated to be 62 ships, and penetrated the Inner Sea or the Mare Nostrum also known as the Mediterranean. After raiding ports along the west coast of Iberia, two Viking scout ships were captured by the Muslims and under torture from their captors (some of whom were Berbers - remember them from chapter 3) established that Bjorn and Hasting’s ships were already “laden with silver, gold and prisoners and provisions”. Intent on raiding Cordoba and Seville the Emir was forewarned and forearmed and drove off the attack. Sailing on and passing through the Pillars of Hercules, or Straits of Gibraltar, Ironside’s and Hasting’s fleet attacked Algeciras (51m/82k) west of Marbella. There they plundered the town and set fire to it’s great mosque. Crossing to North Africa, the town of Nekor in the Rif was next on the list where “they took the city, plundered it and took slaves”. Because of the inhospitable climate and lack of towns to plunder the expedition remained in Africa for eight days before the fleet took up its winter residence on an Island in the Mediterranean. F. Donald Logan raises an interesting question, “were these the same slaves ("Blaumenn" (blue men)2) that an Irish source states were brought to Ireland from Africa at about the same time?” Because the event is so unique, it is probable. But were they the first black Africans to arrive in Northern climes? Probably not. From the end of the first century for at least 400 years Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, in current day Libya, were prosperous Roman provinces and part of a cosmopolitan state whose citizens shared a common language, legal system, and Roman identity. Roman ruins like those of Leptis Magna attest to the vitality of the region1. Indeed Tripolitania was known as the “bread basket of the Empire” providing the majority of Rome’s wheat, grain, olives, oil, gold, slaves, horses and more. The bulk of the population in the countryside consisted of Berber farmers, who in the west were thoroughly "Punicized" in language and customs (remember the Berbers and Vandals from chapter 4?). Therefore it is not unreasonable to conclude that the Empire would have had Tripolitanian and Cyrenaican soldiers in its regiments. Indeed a local Legion (5,500 men) were recruited and trained to protect the province against marauding (JewishBerber) tribesmen opposed to the rule of Rome.


A Blackman in medieval Norse meant someone with black hair, not a black skin. Black Africans were

called “Blaumenn” because they were considered to have a bluish tinge on their skin.


In fact some of the soldiers in the Roman army serving along Hadrian’s Wall were Black Africans, beating the North African Viking slaves to Northern climes by almost four hundred years. And so we have migration overlapping migration overlapping migration. The Jews who left Africa in the great exodus returning as refugees. Then we have the Berbers most of who were converted to Judaism by fervent anti-Roman Jews later being infused with Vandal bloodlines eventually converting to Islam and forming a great part of the army that conquered Spain, who in-turn captured some Vikings. Then we have Black African Romans defending Hadrian’s Wall against the “blue” Scotsmen four hundred years before Black North African slaves first arrived in Ireland - and who said history was boring?


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Chapter 6 ExPat Slaves

Throughout the previous five chapters, like the Berbers, slavery has shown its hand on more than one occasion. I thought it was therefore time to study it in a bit more detail. The abolitionist movement started as early as the 5th century AD. Indeed on national conversion to Christianity in 340AD, the Kingdom of Meroe (in current day Sudan) abolished slavery. Yet for some reason its lands and its neighbouring lands (Darfur, Kordofan etc.) have been plundered for slaves for millennia. The legal abolition of slavery in Britain was achieved some 1,300 years later in 1807. Slavery was eventually abolished in the British Empire in 1833 after at least 42 years of tireless campaigning by William Wilberforce and members of the Clapham Sect. Despite the ongoing global drive against slavery on our planet, it is still legal practice in a few of our world’s nations. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland (died March AD462 or AD492), installed as Bishop of Ireland by Pope Celestine, was one of the first people to advocate the abolishment of slavery. According to his Confessio, at the age of (about) sixteen, Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave to a Druidic chieftain named Milchu in Dalriada in County Antrim (although the exact area is still debated). His enslavement markedly strengthened his faith. He escaped at the age of twenty-two and returned to Britain after the death of his father, later becoming one of the first Christian proselytisers in Ireland, being preceded by such men as Palladius. Even though the Romans, Arabs and later the Vikings practised slavery, it was never widespread within England, although many English merchants became wealthy through the slave trade. Sweden abolished slavery in 1335. In a 1772 case, English judge William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, held that slavery had no basis in law. He famously wrote, "the air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe, and so everyone who breathes it becomes free. Everyone who comes to this island is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may have suffered and whatever may be the colour of his skin." Essentially this ruling held that if slavery is prohibited in a jurisdiction, then any slave taken into that territory was


free. Unfortunately the ruling did not apply to British colonies; hence, slavery remained in the future United States of America. The English statesman, William Wilberforce, led the antislavery movement in England, making his first speech against the slave trade On 12 May 1789. His first bill, in 1791, was defeated by a landslide of 163 votes to 88, yet Wilberforce did not give up. After a revolt by slaves, Haiti abolished slavery in the same year. In 1805 the House of Commons finally passed a law that made it illegal for any British subject to transport slaves but the House of Lords blocked it. Eventually in 1807 Wilberforce helped persuade Parliament to pass a bill outlawing the slave trade throughout the British Empire. The ban was enforced by the Royal Navy. However, even after 1807 slaves were still held, though not sold, within British states. A concerted campaign led by William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and members of the Clapham Sect led to the abolition of all slavery throughout the empire in 1833. The British Government paid £20 million in compensation to plantation owners in the Caribbean. So while slavery was not practiced in Britain per sé, ex-pat Britains practiced oh so well in the colonies, themselves creating a society of ex-pat slaves. Slaves taken, in the main, from east and west Africa in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Sadly, William Wilberforce died on 29 July 1833, a month before the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, an act which gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom. Yet he had seen slavery abolished in the region that now includes Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela in 1821, through a gradual emancipation plan. This was followed by Chile in 1823 and Mexico in 1829, followed by Denmark (including all Danish colonies) in 1848. Wilberforce was a very dedicated man, compelled to take action by his religious faith. He wrote "God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners." He was also a founder member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and responsible for enshrining Christian values in the charter of the East India Company. …….and there are those who still believe that one man can’t make a difference? In the USA, all of the states north of Maryland gradually and sporadically abolished slavery between 1789 and 1830, commencing with Massachusetts. Yet in the early 1850's the American abolitionist movement split into two camps over the issue of the United States Constitution, eventually resulting in the American Civil War in 1861, which lasted until 1865.


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Even more gradually and slowly nations around the world began to abolish slavery. The Netherlands (including all colonies) in 1863. Cuba in 1886, Brazil in 1888 and China in 1910. In 1848 seven year old Barbara Maria Szasz, an orphan of an Hungarian officer, found herself in a refugee camp. She was abducted into an Ottoman harem and raised to become a concubine. A British widower and explorer, Samuel Baker-White happened to see her at an Ottoman slave auction and so taken was he with her that he stole her from the auction and smuggled her out of Ottoman territory into the Austro-Hungarian Empire after which she changed her name to Florence. Aged just sixteen she accompanied Sir Samuel on his travels into deepest, darkest Africa where together they explored the Upper Nile, discovered and named Lake Albert and the Murchison Falls. This journey took four years during which time they became fluent in Arabic, witnessed female circumcision, negotiated with hostile tribes, and nearly died of fever and eventually met Speke and Grant. Florence married Sir Samuel. Even though her husband was knighted she was denied an audience with Queen Victoria (because of her background) and was initially shunned London Society. So much for Victorian values. In 1869, Ismail Pasha, the ruler of Egypt, appointed the same Sir Samuel BakerWhite (1821-1893 known as an expert on Egypt and Sudan) as governor general of Sudan, which was then governed by Egypt. Ismail wanted Baker to defeat the slave trade and open routes for commerce. But you’ll have to read his first-hand account in his book “Ismailia. The Expedition for the Suppression of the Slave Trade” available from the Narrative Press, to gain a firsthand account of his adventures and battles in the Sudan. On December 10, 1948, one hundred years after Maria/Florence found herself in a refugee camp, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 4 states: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” Yet in that same year, in my native South Africa, the National Party came into power on a platform that proposed the introduction of apartheid, or separate development based on race. The Population Registration Act was introduced which classified the people as Bantu (black Africans), Coloured (people of mixed race), White (the descendants of the Boers, the British and other Europeans), and Asian (Indian and Pakistani immigrants), which had an initial emphasis on “restoring” the separation of races within the urban areas. As such, a large segment of the Asian and Coloured populations were forced to relocate out of then, so-called, white areas. African townships that had been overtaken by (white) urban sprawl were demolished and their occupants removed to new townships well beyond city limits.


It is interesting that Hendrik Verwoerd (regarded as the architect of Apartheid) born in Holland, was taken to South Africa as an infant in 1903, when his parents emigrated as missionaries. He graduated from Stellenbosch University and studied further in Germany, where he came into contact with the nascent National Socialist (Nazi) party. Even more interesting is that his successor, Balthazar Johannes “John” Vorster, became involved in the Afrikaner nationalist movement and helped found a militant anti-British organization. He was interned for opposition to the allies during World War II (1942–44), after which he entered politics and was elected to the South African Parliament as a Nationalist party member in 1953 becoming Prime Minister in 1966. The Klipspruit farm (pronounced “clip-sprait” - literal translation “Stony Stream”), South West of Johannesburg, was purchased by the Johannesburg City Council in 1904 ostensibly to build a sewerage works for the city. In 1906 a township was established on the site. This became the first township of what was to become SOWETO (an acronym for SOuth WEstern TOwnships), a name written into world history on 16 June 1976 as the beginning of the end of Apartheid, just six months before I was to commence National Service. Between the passage of the Group Areas Act of 1950 and 1986, about 1.5 million non-white South Africans were forcibly removed from cities to rural reservations. While apartheid was technically not slavery, it was, however, but one step removed from that abhorrent state. White South Africa eventually yielded to world pressure and domestic violence in 1990 by repealing most of the apartheid laws. Three years later, a new constitution gave people of all races the right to vote, and the following year South Africans of all races elected a black South African, Nelson Mandela, as president. In 2004 Soweto celebrated its centenary with the launch of the “Soweto 100 Projects” initiative, which ran into 2005. Yet slavery still exists in many parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. Concerted campaigns to rid the world of slavery are ongoing. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition. This proclamation also marked the bicentenary of the birth of the first black state, Haiti. Note: My thanks to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, for much of this information on slavery.


John Halsted

CHAPTER 7 More Precious than Gold and Silver

Up to here you have read a lot about the voluntary and forced migrations of peoples from the far and distant places of the world to what today seems like dry and arid places. But were these places always dry and arid? Agdz, pronounced Agadiz, is a small small town in south Morocco between Ouarzazate and Zagora. A former French garrison, the town as approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Situated at the foot of the 1,531m high Djebel3 Kissane at the exit of the Draa break-through in the Djebel Sarhro massif. The Draa Valley is a long oasis that runs south from Ouarzazate into the Sahara Desert. At one time, the waters of the Draa River continued west to the coast where they entered the Atlantic south of Guelmim. Today, the area west of the desert port of Mhamid is completely dry. This was also the site of legendary Jewish kingdom during the period of the second temple in Jerusalem. Jews have inhabited the upper valley since at least the late eighth century, when they were defeated by the first Moroccan sultan, Idriss 1st. Jews took refuge in the Draa Valley, where Berber tribes were able to maintain their independence from the sultan. It is possible that they moved there to join other Berber groups who had already converted to Judaism (remember them from chapter 5). The Draa was an important centre of Jewish civilization for many centuries. In his book “Lost Cities of Atlantis, ancient Europe & the Mediterranean”, David Childress mentions the find of a ship, thought to be a Greek Trireme, in the Sahara near the Draa Depression not far from the border of Morocco and Algeria, where the skeletons of rowers still had chains around their bleached bones. His final comment is “the Arabs, I understand, charge a high fee to take you there. It must still be in existence”. In “The Ancient Atlantic”, L. Taylor Hansen (he who proposed the location of Atlantis) writes of the day of cataclysm approximately 9,000 years ago when volcanoes erupted, earthquakes rumbled, the earth belched fire, rain fell in sheets and floods abounded. This is not dissimilar to the bible accounts of Noah in the book of Genesis 7:11 “….on the seventeenth day of the second month all the underground waters erupted from the earth and rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky”. L. Taylor Hansen claims that it was this event that caused the Sea of Triton to drain into the Atlantic via the route of the current day Niger river leaving the sea bed high and dry. That sea bed is now called the Sahara. We also know that at a point in time the earth did tilt on its axis and the shift in balance would most likely have caused the under-crust magma to move creating an underground tsunamis which eventually exploded out of
3 Djebel, Jebel, Jabal: Mountain


existing vents and opening others creating new volcanoes. The shift in the earth’s axis did however create the seasons. 2,765km (or 1,728 miles) to the South East of Agdz lies Lake Chad, or what remains of it. In the 1960’s Lake Chad, a land-locked lake with no outlet to the oceans, was the fourth largest inland water body on the African continent. In 1963 the lake's surface was approximately 25,000 square kilometers. The lake was very shallow, in the order of five to eight metres deep and it’s waters provided livelihoods for fishermen as well as for settlements, cultivators and herders. The Chari and the Longone rivers are the major sources that feed the lake. In ancient times Lake Chad also supported a water system that spread 650km/400m west to northern Niger. Indeed there the ruins of many stone cities along the Sahel that are testament to this once prosperous area. Part of this system was Lake Gobero which supported the Kiffian culture some 7,000 to 9,000 years ago. In 2000 the palaeontologist Paul Soreno, searching for dinosaur bones, in the now Gobero desert, uncovered a large Kiffian graveyard. In the graves archaeologists have discovered harpoons and fishhooks which would indicate that the Sahara was once very wet. Today, in the local dialect Gobero means “desert of all deserts”. This is quite an accolade considering it comes from desert dwellers. But where are all these people now. Unlike my previous examples, nature not man, forced these people to migrate. In ancient wet seasons Lake Chad also overflowed, east, via the Bahr el Ghazal (River of Gazelles) through the Sudan into the Nile. It is believed that between the 3rd century AD and the late 1300’s that the flow of water from the Bhar el Ghazal was constant. Indeed, of the 179 species of fish which have been counted in Lake Chad, many also occur in the Nile (Sarch and Birkett 2000, World Bank 1993, Beadle 1981). Today, the surface area of Lake Chad, barely reaches 1,350 square kilometres – a mere 5.4% or its original size. According to a BBC news report (March 24, 2004), "Nigeria's president has warned that Lake Chad will soon disappear unless immediate action is taken." Once the fourth-largest lake on the continent of Africa and the sixth largest lake in the world, it is today on its way to extinction. 5,200 km north east of Lake Chad in Central Asia lies the Aral Sea. Once the 4th largest sea in the world it was once described as the Blue Sea. It once had industries that supported hundreds of thousands of Uzbekis, Kazakhs and Russians. The sea was so large and bountiful that it had its own fishing fleet. The demise of the sea has had such a profound effect on the population that the United Nations has initiated a special health program in the area. In 1960 the Aral sea was composed of one lake some 68,000km² in size. In 1998 its size had reduced to 28,687 km² and by 2004 it’s size was 17,160km². The Aral Sea is now spread across 3 small lakes and in total it is a mere 25% of its original size. A reminder of the past industries and bountiful catches of fish are the rusting hulks of ships sitting in the middle of a desert.


John Halsted

Around the 4th century AD the central Asian bastion of Toprak Kala in Khwarizm (also known as Chorasmia, adjacent to the Aral Sea), embraced portions of modern Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan and sat alongside the Amu Darya, known in ancient times as the Waxus or Oxus river. The city contained towered battlements which encompassed an area measuring 1,900 feet by 1,400 feet, or 565 metres by 420 metres. The palace of Toprak Kala (Google earth co-ordinates 41°39'53.13"N, 60°50'57.52"E) was assembled about an enclosure situated on an elevated platform, ascended to a height of three stories, and was overlooked by three tremendous towers. The palace possessed three enormous halls. The decoration of the designated "Hall of Kings" was a consolidation and melding of stucco sculptures and paintings with effigies of the aristocracy of Chorasmia and their families. Benjamin Rowland notes that the "Hall of Victories" was lined with statues of princes attended by the moulded figures of Nikes, and the "Hall of Warriors" was brilliantly decorated with reliefs of men-at-arms painted black with African features. The wavy hair of the figures is perhaps an indication that Dravidian soldiers were affiliated in an important way with the ruling lords of Chorasmia. Yes, black African slaves made it to Central Asia from the areas of Darfur and Tibesti. Like the Moslem rulers of Egypt, the rulers of Chorasmia also assembled the Africans into effective fighting units. But Toprak Kala fell in the 6th century AD when Turkic invaders (soon to be known as the Seljuks) destroyed the irrigation system to such an extent that it could not be repaired. It would seem that the Aral Sea has gone the same way as well. 2,550 km, or 1,594 miles, east of the Aral Sea lies Lop Nor, also known as Lop Nur, or what is left of it. The lake was terminus of the Tarim River. I say “was” because the river no longer reaches the lake and is now swallowed by the ever encroaching Taklamakan desert. When Marco Polo passed the lake in the 1200’s on his way to the court of Kublai Khan, Lop Nor covered over 10,000km² and supported a thriving Tocharian culture. Indeed the fabled Silk Road city of Lou Lan sat on its shores and fish were so bountiful it too had its own fishing fleet. When the European explorer Sven Heidin made it to the ruins of Lou Lan in the early 1900’s his comment was “It is as if everyone simply walked out”. The absence of water in a desert city could be the only cause for a mass-migration. By 1928 deforestation had had its effect and the lake was reduced in size to 3,100km² just 31% of its original size. Now it is merely a couple of salt marshes and less than 1% of the original lake remains. From Morocco across North Africa to Egypt, to the Levant, Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan to Pakistan, India and China people have built interconnecting systems of underground canals called variously qanats, yakhchal, foggaras and kariz. These underground aquifers use gravity to canalise water, usually from mountains, under and across plains sometimes for hundreds of miles. In ancient times these underground canals large enough for a man to stand upright in, were in the main dug and maintained by slaves due to the hazardous nature of the work. I have given four examples of cultures and Kingdoms that have perished over the ages due to lack of water. All their gold, silver, precious metals and stones and


physical strength could not save them. Indeed in my native South Africa, that engine room of gold and diamond production, there is one commodity more precious than gold – water. While paper is a renewable resource, through the growing of more trees, there is only a finite amount of water on our planet. Lets look after it. Earlier I talked about the day of cataclysm approximately 9,000 years ago. On Fri Feb 6, 2009 the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) posted this article: “A new study in Canada suggests that the collapse of a large portion of the Antarctic ice shelf would shift the very axis of the planet. Geophysicists at the University of Toronto looked at the possible effects on the earth if sea levels rise because of a collapse of the west Antarctic ice shelf. The Toronto researchers say the melting of the ice sheet will actually cause the earth's rotation to shift dramatically - about 500 metres from its current position if the entire ice sheet melts. The melting would change the balance of the globe in much the same way that tsunamis move huge amounts of water from one area to another. This could mean water migrating from the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans north toward North America and into the southern Indian Ocean.” The research has been published in the journal, Science, and so far no-one is disputing it. What is clear to me that if we wait for politicians to lead the way on saving our planet, we will all end up like those poor souls on the Trireme found in the Sahara – skeletons chained at our posts. Instead, let us take the necessary action individually, and where possible collectively, and let the politicians play catch up. To this end the 10:10 website has been established. The 10:10 vision statement is “Cutting our carbon 10% a year – starting in 2010”. Already active in 15 countries a further 24 are ready to sign up. To join go to


John Halsted

Chapter 8 Mystery of the Paraguayan Vikings
To finish I want to leave you with food for thought - a bit of a mystery. There is a region of Paraguay where overwhelming evidence exists of Viking occupation during the Post Viking period after AD 1000. And there we were thinking that the backblocks of Paraguay and Brazil were occupied by some more recent Germanic refugees…….. Runic inscriptions indicate a dialect very close to the language spoken by the inhabitants of the Schleswig/Jutland peninsula on the Baltic Sea in current Northern Germany where it borders Denmark. Archaeological examination of the territory was conducted in the latter part of the 1970s by a professorial team in collaboration with the Paraguayan Government and Army, and the Instituto de Ciencia del Hombre of Asuncion. There is no doubt that the Vikings settled this region of South America. The reason why they did so is somewhat elusive, as is the explanation why modern historians might want to distance themselves from any discussion of Schleswig Vikings in Paraguay. Is it possible that a few of Bjorn Ironside’s and Hasting’s ships (chapter 5) tired of their 4 year journey and decided to explore the South Atlantic instead? In a period just before the Spanish established themselves as the dominant force in the region, a shipwrecked Portugese sailor, Alejo Garcia, survived a shipwreck off Santa Catalina, Brazil. There he learned of the inland territory of a “white king”. In 1521 Garcia set off three companions to find this King. They crossed the Guayra region “along a track in perfect repair”. In 1542 the Spanish explorer Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca followed in Garcia’s footsteps and wrote a chronicle confirming Garcia’s account with similar detail. The track followed the north bank of the river Paranapanema and crossed the great Rio Parana to a settlement marked on the oldest maps as Ivinheima. (IVIN - Old High German Iwa, HEIMA - Old German heim - country) . This place is now known by the Guarani name "Yguarey" ("River of the Dwellers of Antiquity"). The iva was a tree whose red wood, tough but flexible, was used by the Norsemen to make their bows. Local Gyauaki Indians used the acrocomia-tatai palm for the same purpose. From Ivinheima the track crossed the Mesopotamia and Cerro Cora ridge (the central location of this article) to San Fernando mountain on the east bank of the River Paraguay just above a settlement marked on the oldest maps as Weibingo. The name Weibingo comes from the Norse vej (path) and vink (sign) or vinkekl (angle) and therefore means either "signpost" or more probably "bend in the track", the point


where the traveller, following the route from present-day Asuncion, had to turn left for Potosi in Bolivia. A third interesting location mentioned in the earliest published account by Schmidel, is Froenirtiere where there was a ruined fortification with palisade. Neither Ivinheima nor Weibingo nor Froenirtiere are names which might have roots in native Amerindian languages or Spanish. In the 1930s, Major Marcial Samaniego was a young engineer and officer in the Paraguayan Army ,stationed in a relatively unpopulated frontier zone of which Cerro Cora (close to the modern town of Pedro Juan Caballero on the border with Brazil) formed part. He had a passionate interest in ethnic affairs. Every night in his tent he recorded on magnetic tape the interminable stories told him by the aged local natives whose confidence he had won. His main aim was to preserve knowledge of the ancestral traditions likely to be soon lost with the onward march of civilisation and Christianity. One particular extract of the Tupi-Guarani tradition - "The Great King of Amambay" intrigued him. He copied down: "In days gone by, there reigned in this region a powerful and wise king called Ipir. He was a white man and wore a long blond beard. With men of his race and indigenous warriors loyal to him he lived in a large settlement on top of a small mountain. He had much-feared weaponry and possessed great riches in gold and silver. One day, however, he was attacked by savage tribes and disappeared for ever. That was what I was told by my father, and he was told it by my grandfather." All the Guarani tribes of Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia recall this White King of antiquity. Major Samaniego was aware that indigenous traditions may distort facts but never invent them. The name Ipir has no meaning in Guarani; it is not a Guarani name and is foreign to the structure of the Guarani language, whose words (with few exceptions, none of which end in -ir) finish in a vowel. Fritz Berger (1880 – 1948) was a mechanical engineer from the Sudetenland who had spent many years drifting across South America: he had a lady-friend in Munich to whom he communicated some of his experiences by letter. During the War of the Chaco between Paraguay and Bolivia from 1932 to 1935, Fritz Berger gave "good and loyal service" to the Paraguayan Army as an engineer at a weapons repair workshop in Asuncion. In 1936 he left for Brazil. All that is known of how he spent the next four years is a brief reference to the fact that he "prospected for petroleum in Parana State." Berger had no knowledge of geology, and found no petroleum deposits, but it provided a plausible reason as to why he spent so much time investigating the terrain. In 1940, "in the course of one of his customary rides through the forest on horseback", and having just forded the River Ypane about 25 kilometres south-west of the town of Pedro Juan Caballero in Paraguay, he saw extending before him a natural plain surrounded by hills, on the edge of which was the Cerro Cora mountain ridge. It was in this place, so the Indian natives had told him, that King


John Halsted

Ipir had lived. Berger claimed to have discovered a city called "Atlantik" of which the dimensions were "50 kilometres diameter and 150 kilometres long, a grandiose Phoenician installation" which had "large deposits of helium and petroleum, the piping still usable" and "monuments which looked like cathedrals and great palaces, and temples to the horizon." These might have been built by the Phoenicians "anything from 6,000 to 500, 000 years ago". Cerro Ipir, Fritz Berger continued, "was the centre of a vast region densely populated aeons ago." Huh? Hang on a mo’? I thought we were discussing Vikings in Paraguay????? Bear with me a while will you………. Austrian professor Ludwig Schwennhagen had for decades been researching an alleged Phoenician presence in Brazil in the pre-Christian era, the results being revealed in his book "The Ancient History of Brazil 1100 BC - 1500 AD" published in 1928. Schwennhagen claimed to have found Phoenician inscriptions in Piaui State in the Amazon area in which there were references to Tyre and Sidon (887-856 BC). He believed that the Phoenicians had used Brazil as a base for at least 800 years. Brazil is apparently full of vestiges which corroborate the Phoenician presence in the north-east. The Tupi tribe native to the region from about 3000 BC split in two in about 500 BC, one branch migrating to north east Paraguay where it became known as the Tupi-Guarani tribe. In January 1973 an edition of the Asuncion daily newspaper "ABC Color" carried a long article announcing the discovery by Ministry of Public Works geologist Pedro Gonzalez of 157 caves and grottoes in the mountainous jungle region of Amambay. On some of the cave walls he had found numerous engravings in a strange script. He had removed a number of boxes filled with engraved stones. The Amambay plateau is 70 kilometres in diameter about 100 kilometres from the town of Pedro Juan Caballero. Do you have shivers running up and down your spine – or what? On the Amambay plateau, Cerro Guazu alone has five caves or rock shelters with thousands of chiselled inscriptions. Of these, 71 were eventually decrypted by the expedition runologist. The whole complex contains the largest collection of rune writings in the world. Most are in the classic futhark, some in Anglo-Saxon or the local futhark of continental Germany. It was deduced from the translated material that the Paraguayan Vikings were not pure Danes but originated principally from Schleswig, speaking a dialect of Norse and Old Low German. This may have developed locally over the estimated 300 year period in which the Vikings were in South America, cut off from Europe. In a rock shelter known as Abrigo de Odin is a fine chiselled image of Odin riding his six-legged horse, Sleipnir, who is leaping from one world to another: the god holds


the javelin Gungnir in his right hand. Before the Abrigo de los Altares are to be found two blocks of roughly tailored stone of approximately equal size. The investigators considered that they formed a sacrificial altar. Both had on one side a number of deep grooves whose purpose might have been to drain off the blood of victims (ooooh these Vikings!). Other engravings were three simple runes: the death rune, hagalaz (h) and solewu (S) , an ideogram which may transliterate to "At death have faith in the Sun". The second sacrifice-stone has the runes eihwaz (e) fehu (f) and uruz (u) (justice, property, virility) , and below the altar is a single rune, mannaz (man) . Two inscriptions in the rock shelter confirmed that the blocks in question do compose a sacrificial altar. One of them, a cryptogram engraved in a medallion of much darker colour than the surrounding rock, reads thurisaz + isa + odala + ansuz + solewu + solewu (thi o as s) which the runologist professor transliterated as "To Thee, Odin, God of the Sun". Another lithograph in the same shelter dispels any doubt as to the practice of sacrifice there: ofak/les that uile/ifuil, literally "May this sacrifice endure". Ifuil may be a signature. Another word, indecipherable, is engraved lower down the stone. At the foot of Cerro Guazu is a 10-metre high dolmen having the engraving of a radiant sun and the runic inscription os leuo liuth - "Hymn of the Sun God Odin." The Cerro Cora range is a ring of mountains about five kilometres in diameter and 25 kilometres west of the modern town of Pedro Juan Caballero. It lies within a national park and a prohibited military zone – so no thoughts of dashing off to South America to find lost Viking lairs! You’ll be shot at for sure. Use Google Earth instead. And so our Vikings, or should that be expats, made it to almost all of Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia, North America and now it would seem to be South America as well. As an aside: the Phoenician word for iron is “Brzl”. Say no more………. My thanks to Geoffrey Templar who provided just about all of the content in this chapter.



John Halsted

Author’s Note
John Halsted is author of Legend of the Last Vikings – Taklamakan which was a finalist in the 2006 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year competition. He is currently working on the sequel. He is also the owner of Abela Publishing ( which republishes old, forgotten, out-of-print and rare books. The majority of these are fairy tales, folklore, myths and legends last published over a century ago and sourced from around the world.

ISBN: 978-0-9560584-0-9 URL:

Because of his interest in Vikings, he has also republished 23 Viking and Icelandic sagas, myths, legends and fiction. These are available through the Abela Publishing website, on as well as through any reputable online book seller. 33% of the publishers profit from the sale of all the Abela Books is donated to charities like The Princes Trust, The Relief Fund for Romania, The British Heart Foundation, Help for Heroes, the Appeal4Felix and many other charities and causes. He has also republished a number of African themed folklore from which the 33% is donated to the Westville Boys High Scholarship Fund. Westville Boys high is based in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and offers secondary education scholarships to gifted but underprivileged South Africans. Another school to benefit is Edgbarrow School in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. Yoruba Legends, originally published in 1929, has been republished to raise funds for the school’s Ghana project. The students have also illustrated a number of the stories and an illustrated edition of the book is due to be published in the Autumn of 2010.