Religions of the Africans Forced into Slavery

What was the religion of the Africans that were abducted or sold into slavery? In the U.S., Slaves were forced to reject the religion of their home and learn Christianity. In South, Central, and Latin Americas they were able retain or blend their traditional religion with Christianity.  What religions were they forced to reject?

Religions of the enslaved Africans of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade depended on the region of Africa where the abduction happened.  Africa is a land of diversity with many ethnic groups, cultures, languages, and religions. During the slave trade there were high numbers of indigenous or traditional religions. Others had converted to Islam which was brought to Africa by Arab and Indian traders. I could not find clear records of the religion in each region at the time.

Abduction Regions & Their Religions:

  • Windward Coast (Ivory Coast) – Akan and Muslim
  • Gold Coast (Ghana) – Traditional
  • Bright of Benin (Nigeria) – Traditional
  • Sierra Leone – Traditional and Muslim
  • Central and Southeastern Africa (Cameroon – N. Angola) – Bantu religion
  • West Central – Orishas, Akan, and Ifa
  • Senegambia –  Muslim

Traditional religions included: Akan, Ifa, Orisha, La Reglas de Congo, and Mami Wata.

Christianity, like Islam, was first introduced to Northern Africa. From Egypt it worked its way southward. Catholic missionaries brought Christianity to African.  There were Africans that learned the teachings of Jesus first hand.

2 Responses to “Religions of the Africans Forced into Slavery”

  1. internet elias Says:

    Interesting. I guess being here in the South and so loving the tradition of the ‘spirituals’ made so renowned by the slaves of the South….I assumed Christianity had always been their historical religion. Ignorant me, huh. .

    Interesting. Thanks.


    • :- ) That’s probably what many people have thought, especially knowing that an African came to Jesus’ aid during the walk to his crucifixion.

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