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THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)

Post by pushkin » 13 Feb 2020, 08:54

ABRAHAM HANNIBAL (1670 - 1761)

General Abraham Hannibal was born in 1670 in Eritrea, East Africa. As a young child he was stolen from his parents and sold in to slavery. He ended up in Turkey. In parts of Europe the fate for black people was much kinder than that of the millions who were sold into the trans-Atlanic slave trade, as the story of Abraham Hannibal shows. Abraham was taken to Russia where Tsar Peter (Peter the Great) and his wife Christina Queen of Poland adopted him.When Abraham was a young man, his bilogical parents found him and told him his real name was Ibrahim Hannibal and he was a descendent of the carthaginian Empire. Alike his namesake Hannibal, the great African military genius who lived around 200 bc, Abraham also became a military genius.

Tsar Peter sent Abraham to France to learn mathematics and engineering from the highest educationl insitutes. During Abraham's studies, war broke out between France and Spain and in 1718, he joined the French army to gain access to the best military engineering program and was captured bt the Spanish army. He was released in 1722 and promoted to lieutenanat and continued to study mathematics and engineering in france for anther year. he returned to Russia the following year and his advanced training enabled him to apply and successfully aquire posts frist as an engineer and than as a mathematics tutor for one of the Tsar's private guard units.

Abraham was sent to Siberia for three years to complate an engineering project. During this time he built a fortress and led several construction projects where he became a master engineer. he complated his srvice in Siberia in 1733 and returned to the court in 1741.

Abraham had 11 childern, most of whom became members of the Russian rayalty, he was the great grandfather to one of Russia's great men, Alexander Pushkin the poet and father of modern Russian literature. Aberaham died around 1761.

THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF
ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)


By
Solomon Ghebre-Ghiorghis (M.A., Ph.D.)
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Asmara



1. Significance of Alexander Pushkin

One of the most illustrious figures in the history of world literature and general culture has been Alexander S. Pushkin (1799-1837), the Russian poet, publisher and revolutionary. Some people Shakespeare is to English literature. However, clearly, Pushkin is more than that: he is widely acclaimed as the founder of modern Russian literature: the literature of Lermontove and Gogol Turgenev and Nekrasov, Dosteyevskynand tolstoy, Chekov and Gorky (Levrin, 1947, pp. 1-9; Gorodetsky, 1957, p. 266). Besides his literary merit, Pushkin also had a remarkable personae of wit, integrity and courage (Gorbachev, 1999, p.v). He stressed his African identity* and was the lover of some of the most beautiful women of his time (Feinstein, 1998, p. 11-21). His short life ended in a manner which was in no way less dramatic than stories told in Greek or Shakespearean tragedies (Serena, 1995).

Pushkin's story is indeed remarkable, but the story of his family especially that of his great-grandfather, Abraham or Ibrahim Hannibal (1698-1781) and how the various strands of these stories converge on and relate to the country now known as Eritrea is equally, and in some ways even more remarkable as a story of human tragedy and triumph over disaster in black history (see Pankhurst, 1957, pp.242-244).

2. Pushkin's Family and Eritrean History

The family history of the Hannibals is closely linked to the history of Eritrea, the Ottoman Empire and Tsarist Russia. Many conflicting claims have been made about the genealogy of the Hannibals. The purpose of this paper is partly to settle these claims and provide a more comprehensive picture of what happened. To do this, we need to briefly look at the general historical background of the story.

"The 16th century marks a decisive twist in Eritrean history. Almost a millennium after the end of the Axumite era, the country reappeared on the international scenery, this time however as a target of successive colonial plans of conquest, which profoundly affected its future historical and political evolution"(Beyene,1992, p.30). European knowledge and interest in the region increased remarkably after the visit to Abyssinia of the first Portuguese delegation to the Abyssinian court during 1520-1526. Soon after that, a Portuguee-Abyssinian military and political alliance came into effect. This took place at a time when the Red Sea as a gateway to India and the Far East was giving place to Ottoman and Portuguese competition for supremacy in the area (Beyene, pp. 30-32; Marcus, 1994, p. 34).

In 1528, the great storm which had been gathering for centuries broke out in Abyssinia. Imam Ahmed ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (Gragn 'the Left Handed') launched an invasion and overrun the country. The majority of the Christian population accepted Islam mostly, it seems, to save their lives. Gragn even briefly occupied the Eritrean plateau (Seraye, Akeleguzay, Hamasien and even Massawa), albeit with difficulty, from 1535 till 1542. The invaders enjoyed the powerful backing of the Ottoman Turks, who were concerned at the time to extend their influence in Arabia and along the costs of the Red Sea (see Beyene, p. 28; Marcus, pp.31-32; Trimingham, 1952).

On their part, the Abyssinians were supported materially and morally by the Portuguese. A 400-man Portuguese force under the command of Christopher da Gama had landed in Massawa in 1541. They fought their first engagement with Gragn in Akele Guzay. In the fighting that followed, da Gama was killed along with almost half of his army. However, the Portuguese with their Abyssinian allies pursued Gragn, who was defeated and killed near Lake Tana (Beyene, p.28; Marcus, pp. 32-34).

The involvement of the Portuguese in Ethiopian politics had the result of accelerating the Turkish attempt at conquest, which had as a scenery Eritrea and northern Tigray (cf. Trimingham, 1952). The Turks had occupied Suakin and Zeila. In 1557, Massawa and Hirghigo were occupied and were to become the launching pad for a full-fledged attempt to conquer the highland and beyond (Beyene, pp.30-31). For the sake of clarity, we shall briefly outline this as follows.

First Period (1557-59). The Turks occupied Debarwa in a campaign that led them into Tigray. They even managed to scale and desecrate Debre Damo, which even Gragn had failed to do. The attack was crushed by Bahri Negasi Yes'haq, and the Turks were forced to return to Massawa and Hirghigo. Yes'haq was from Shire, but he had an ambition to create an independent state comprising Eritrea and Western Tigray, including Shire (Beyene, p.32).

Second Period (15559-63). Bahr Negasi Yes'haq was disgruntled with the Abyssinian leadership and sided with the Turks and promised them Debarwa and all the land up to the coast. The Abyssinian King Minas of Gondar conducted an armed counteraction, but the result was indecisive.

Third Period (1563-78). Ozdemur , the Turkish commander, and Yes'haq fought Melek Seged, the new Abyssinian king, in which both of them were killed and Debarwa came under Ethiopian control.

Fourth Period (1588-89). Wolde'Ezum, a local ruler, offered his collaboration to the Turks for the conquest of Debarwa. Their success was short lived. They were ambushed near the Mereb and defeated. The Turks were chased up to Hirghigo. However, the attempt to break the Turkish fortress there failed. The Turks were thus to maintain their control over the coast for the following three hundred years, although the effective rule of the area was handed to the Na'ibs, who were the traditional rulers of Hirghigo (near Massawa) and the surrounding areas. They are said to have been from the Belew people who contributed to the downfall of Axum. The Na'ibs claimed to be from the Beja royal family in the Sudan.

They were under the supervision of the Turkish representative in Massawa, the Kaimakan, who was in turn answerable to the Turkish Shariffe of Mecca (see Salt, 1814, pp. 204-212). The Naibs and the Turks still sought to obtain military control of the Semhar and the highland beyond by exploiting the power rivalry among the local rulers (see Yosief, 1999). In their various expeditions, they were supported by Turkish forces garrisoned along the coast. According to some available sources, it is in one of such expeditions that the family history of Abraham Hannibal and Alexander Pushkin begins.

3. Abduction of Abraham/Ibrahim from Eritrea

The young Abraham or Ibrahim or Abraha, as Prof. Richard Pankhurst calls him (see Pankhurst, 1957, p. 242) was born around 1698 and was the son of a minor "prince' or chief whose capital Logon stood "on the northern side of the Mareb River in what is now called Eritrea" (Smith, 1957, p. 245). Troyat (1957, p.244) also asserts that the place of Hanniba's origin was "on the banks of the Mareb River in what is now Eritrea". N.
Ismailov adds that the Logon was located in the "Hamasien [Eritrean] plateau" (see Pankhurst, 1961, p.423). At the time, the overall ruler of Midri-Bahri (Eritrea) was Degezmati Habtesulus of Tseazega (who was in control of the region from 1679 till 1719) (see Yosief, 2000, pp.36-40). Abraham's father was quite rich and had "several" wives and nineteen children. The Turks invaded his territory, and he was engaged in a fierce battle to defend himself.He lost the battle, and his son, Abraham/Ibrahim, was subsequently abducted (some say in a palace conspiracy, see Troyat, 1957, p. 244) and taken to Constantinople by sea. His sister, Lagan, is said to have drowned in the sea in a desperate attempt to save her brother (see Pankhurst, 1957, p.242; Troyat, p.244). Abraham stayed in Constantinople for about a year in the service of the Sultan's household. At the time, upon the instructions of Tsar Peter the Great, the Russian Ambassador, Savva Ruguzinski, was looking for "a few clever little African slaves" for the Tsar's palace, as was the custom in those days at the great courts in Europe (Troyat, p. 244; cf. Smallwood and Elliot, 1998). Thus, Abraham was selected for this purpose and soon purchased from the Sultan's viziers with a bribe. The ambassador immediately dispatched him to Russia by sea.

4. In the Court of Tsar Peter the Great

Peter the Great (see Massie, 1980) was delighted with his acquisition. He baptised the young boy at the Orthodox church in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1707.. The Tsar himself became his godfather and the Queen of Poland his godmother (Troyat, p.244). The young boy was named Peter after his master, the Tsar. However, the child cried and protested saying that it was not his real name-insisting that he be called Ibrahim. They, therefore, gave him a similar version of this name and called him Abraham Petrov (Pankhurst, 1961, p.424). There is no documentary evidence to suggest whether or not Ibrahim was his original name or whether he acquired it from the Turks.

Abraham had a modest beginning at court (Troyat, p.244). However, the Tsar started to recognise his extraordinary abilities and took him into his immediate entourage. In fact, soon Abraham became his valet and then his secretary. The Tsar used to dictate to him his ideas at night in his private chambers. In the morning, these were made into formal decrees, orders and instructions and passed on to the concerned officials (Smith, p. 245). As he matured, he started to accompany the Tsar on all his tours and military campaigns.

5. Education and Experience in France

In 1716, when Peter the Great visited France, he took Abraham along with him as a member of his entourage. Upon the Tsar's return to Russia, Abraham was left behind to enroll in a military college to study "fortification and military mining" (Feinstein, p.20). In 1719, the young Eritrean volunteered to fight with the French against the Spanish. He was severely wounded on the head and taken prisoner. After his release, he returned to France and entered the military engineering and artillery college at Metz, known as the Ecole d'Artillerie. Abraham Petrov showed remarkable success in his knowledge and skill, especially in military engineering and mathematics.

The Tsar wanted Abraham to return to Russia soon; however, the young officer kept giving excuses to extend his stay in France. He was actually having a good time in Paris with female friends. He is said to have had a well known love affair with a French countess. In his short story The Moor of Peter the Great, Alexander Pushkin renders an imaginary farewell letter from his great-grandfather to the French countess:

Good-bye, Leonora, good-bye, my dear and only friend. I am leaving you - you, the first and last joy of my life. I have neither country now relatives. I am going to sad Russia, where my total solitude will be a consolation to me. Serious affairs, to which from this moment I will dedicate myself, will, if not stifle, at least divert me from the tortuous memories of days of ecstasy and bliss…. Good-bye, Leonora, I tear myself away from this letter as if from your embrace; goodbye, be happy…. And think sometimes of a poor Negro, of your faithful Ibrahim (Aitken, 1978, pp. 11-12).

The word "Negro" in Russian translates as a descendant or inhabitant of the continent of Africa. Alexander Pushkin himself said "I am a descendant from an Abyssinian Negro whose father was a big landlord in Abyssinia" (see Pankhurst, 1957, p. 244). Pankhurst (Ibid, p.242) points out that "Abraham's romantic story is shrouded in legend and has been a constant source of interest and inspiration, particularly to Africans and people of African descent".

6. Return to Russia

When Abraham finally returned to St. Petersburg in 1725 with specialty in military fortification and explosives, the Tsar was happy with Abraham's achievement and the acquisition of the latest military technology which could be deployed to strengthen the Russian Army. Abraham brought with him books on various subjects including mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, military engineering and a book entitled Love Letters of a Catholic Nun (Feinstein, 1988, p.20). The Tsar seems to have been particularly interested in the technical books that Abraham had brought.

7. Banishment

The young Eritrean started getting key appointments from the Tsar, and his career promised to be brilliant. However, the Tsar died two years after Abraham's return, and the young officer started facing problems. As a result of court intrigues, he was sent to Kazan and then to the Chinese frontier under the pretext of being put in charge of fortifications in the area. He was forced to live on a meager salary and faced a lot of hardship. He did his best to return to St. Petersburg, but did not find it easy.

8. Return from Exile

Fortunately, Empress Anna Ivanovna, Peter the Great's daughter, came to the Russian throne in 1730, and he was recalled from exile and appointed to a new post as a captain of military engineering. That year, he decided to marry the daughter of a Greek captain, Eudoxia, who had another lover. Abraham and Eudoxia got married, but it ended in a disaster. The long saga of the divorce proceeding is discussed by Troyat (p. 245). Abraham had another lover of German origin called Christine Sherberg, whom he married later and with whom he had eleven children.


9. New Assignment in the Baltic

In the meantime, he was assigned to the Baltic region to build and supervise the construction of military fortifications. He was also giving lectures on engineering and mathematics to young Russian nobles. Abraham became one of the very few people in Russia who had remarkable expertise on artillery and military fortification. In 1726, he had written a book on engineering but it was not published. The reason for this is not known.

Around 1735, Abraham Petrov added "Hannibal" or "Gannibal" in Russian to his name and became Abraham Petrovich Hannibal. He probably took this name from the famous Carthagenean (North African) general, Hannibal, who conquered Rome (see Smith, 1957, p.246).

Meanwhile, Abraham Hannibal continued to get promotion after promotion in his military career. In 1742, he was appointed general-in-chief and Commander of Ravel and later became a gentleman of the bedchamber. In 1746, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna made Abraham a present of a vast property and estate, the village of Mikhailovskoye, which was later passed on to his great grandson, Alexander Pushkin.

10. Becomes Major-General in Charge of All Military Engineering in Russia

In 1752, Hannibal became a Major-General and was appointed in charge of all military engineering in Russia. In this capacity, he displayed to the full his skill as a technician and organiser. The Russian fortifications along the Baltic Sea which he built contributed to the defense of Russia from the German invaders in the Second World War, and they still exist (see Smith, 1957, p.246).

11. Retirement and Death

Finally, he retired in 1762 and settled in one of his estates near St. Petersburg. There, he lived "in peace and tranquility" for twenty more years recalling his life in Africa. He died on 14th May 1781, at the age of 83 or 84 (Pankhurst, 1957, p.246).

12. Descendants

Two of Major-General Hannibal's sons took the mantle of their father and became renowned military commanders. One of them, Ivan Hannibal, in particular was Admiral of the Fleet in the Russian Navy. His feats and skills equaled, if not surpassed, those of his illustrious father. He won the Battle of Navarino, which was considered impossible by other Russian commanders (Feinstein, p.12).

The second son, Ossip Hannibal, was a major of artillery also in the Russian Navy. But, he is well known more for having been the grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, whose mother, Nadezhda (Ossip's daughter) married a young captain called Pushkin. Nadezhda's other son was Oleg, who became an officer decorated for his bravery. Alexander Pushkin's son, also called Alexander, joined the Russian Army and was awarded a gold sabre for bravery. By 1908, he had won promotion to the rank of General of Cavalry (see Smith, pp.246-247). Some descendants of Abraham Hannibal and of Alexander Pushkin can still be traced. One of them has been the aunt of Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of the present queen of Britain. According to a recent report, one of Pushkin's descendants is also presently working as a football coach in St Petersburg.

13. Some Controversies about the Origins of Abraham Hannibal

Abraham Hannibal's life and times after his departure from Eritrea are well documented. However, the circumstances surrounding his family origin, the exact place in Eritrea he hails from and how he was exactly abducted by the Turks still require further investigation. But, at least some of the conflicting claims and controversies therein can still be fairly resolved using a combination of documentary and circumstantial evidence as outlined below.

13.1. The claim that Hannibal was from Ethiopia. In the Russian archives, Hannibal (or Gannibal in Russian) is identified as having been of Abyssinian origin. Hannibal's descendants, including Alexander Pushkin himself, have always acknowledged this fact. Since Abyssinia is usually identified with present day Ethiopia, the Ethiopians as well as some foreign scholars have claimed that the Hannibals are of Ethiopian origin. The fact that the area which is now called Eritrea was for a long time administered by Ethiopia (or the northern part of Ethiopia) and that the people of Eritrea or parts of it were widely identified as Abyssinians for over a millennium (cf. Bruce, 1804; Salt, 1814) have further complicated the matter. It must be stressed, however, that the confusion is not substantive and is confined to the problem of nomenclature.. There is certainly no evidence to prove or suggest that Hannibal was born in or had ever been to what is now called Ethiopia. The Turkish forces were in northern Ethiopia only during 1557-59 (see above), long before Hannibal was born in 1698. Nor is there any evidence that suggests that Hannibal's parents moved from Ethiopia to Eritrea before his birth.

13.2. The claim that Hannibal's father was a Muslin. The issue as to whether Abraham's father was a Muslim becomes important because it is one of the factors that may be taken in deciding which part of Eritrea he was taken from. N. Izmailov suggests that Abraham's father was indeed a Muslin, and "a vassal of the Turkish Sultan" in Massawa at that. From Abraham's account about his life in Africa, it I said that his father had many wives and that the youngest and most favoured was his mother. He also had nineteen siblings. It may not be beyond reason to imagine a Christian man in those days having nineteen children from three wives, usually the first and eldest wife recognized by the church. It is also true that sometimes, some men in Christian communities in Eritrea took over the wives of their brothers to keep their nephews and nieces and their property within the family. However, Abraham's narrative involves several wives, not just three or even four. Rich Muslims were known to keep harems in which "several" women were involved. This may explain why Abraham's father had this many wives. Is it possible that the name Ibrahim was given to him by the Turks? That seems unlikely because he stayed with them only for a year, and he wouldn't have associated himself with the name so much as to lead to his protest against his being given another name. Therefore, the boys alleged protest against him being renamed can be taken as evidence to support the claim that he was a Muslim. If this is true, it would mean that most of the subjects of Abraham's father were Muslims. This can help to excluse many areas of Eritrea as possible locations of Hannibal's origin. Should this include Debarwa?

13.3. The claim that Hannibal was either from Debarwa or its vicinity. There are some who have vigorously argued that Hannibal was from either Debarwa or its vicinity - which are associated with the Logo/Logotai "clan" (see Bekurezion, 1964; Barnabas, 2001). There is certainly a village called Logo near Debarwa, which might be phonetically associated with "Logon" (see above). Debarwa was for a long time the capital of the bahre negasi. It also lies on the south-western banks of the Mareb River in the Eritrea highlands. As we have seen earlier, Abraham's father was also said to have been a wealthy chief or "prince" or even possibly a regional bahre negasi with his own fief and a capital on the banks of the Mareb River. Is this sufficient to suggest that Debarwa and/or its vicinity were the real Logon we are after? In the first place, it looks unlikely that the town was the capital of the bahre negasi around 1705-6 (the year of Abraham's abduction). As we saw earlier, the ruler of the region at that time was Habtesulus, who mainly governed from Tseazega for forty years (1678-1719), although he was also in control of Debarwa (see Yis'hak Yosief, 2000, pp.36-40; Tewolde Beyene, 1992, p.34). Was Debarwa indeed the only town in highland Eritrea which was on the banks of the Mareb? Is it also possible that what is meant by the "Mareb River" was extended to include its tributaries as well? There was certainly no "prince" in Eritrea at that time. The only person who could have claimed this title was Habtesulus himself because he was appointed by the Ethiopian king as the ruler of the region, and he obviously could not have been Abraham's father. Is it possible that the local governor of Debarwa (under Habtesulus) could have been Abraham's father? That looks unlikely either because there was little chance that the Turks could have any contact with him without Habtesulus's involvement in view of the geo-political situation of the time. It seems that by taking some of these factors and ignoring others, some people have concluded that in all probability Abraham Hannibal was from the Debarwa area. However, the circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. It is unlikely that the Turks could have managed to seize Debarwa without confronting the powerful army of Habtesulus, who also had a strong support from the Ethiopian king. As discussed above, it also seems that Hannibal's father was a Muslim. Taking all these details into account, it makes more sense to assume that the Turks encroached into highland Eritrea from the eastern escarpment on the approaches to Adi Kayih and Sen'afe and moved west to the Mareb area around Tsorona, A'iba, Ab'aa and Logo Sarda and further west even to Hazomo- parts of which are often referred to as Logo - without confronting Habtesulus's main army. This is an area which is inhabited by the south-eastern Logos/Logotays, who are affiliated to the Logotays of Debarwa and its vicinity. Indeed, the British explorer and scholar, Henry Salt, mentions visiting in 1809 a "large town called Logo, whence the surrounding district takes its name" (Salt, p. 246). He also points out that the town had its own "Bahre Negasi Arkoe, a rebellious chieftain" (Ibid). Salt had an instrument to help him calculate the bearing of his position, and he locates the town of Logo on the banks of one of the main tributaries of the Mareb River, the Stream of Serwemai. It is important to understand that the ancestry of the Logos/Logotays in Hamasien, Seraye and Akeleguzay is linked to that of the Saho/Assaorta. There are indeed many Saho/Assaorta Muslims who still live in the vicinity of Logo Sarda and Tsorona today. We think that 300-400 years ago, the area was predominantly inhabited by these Saho Muslim clans whose members spread all the way down to the Semhar and Irafayle on the Red Sea coast. This links the Saho/Assaworta with the Turkish/Na'ib rule along the coast, the Semhar and part of the highland - which was a source of constant friction, and sometimes bitter conflict, away from the political and military power balance in central Eritrea of the time. That is probably why battles fought between the Turkish forces and the local Eritrean rulers (such as Abraham's father) in the area tended to remain unrecorded in history. This explains many questions which the "Debarwa hypothesis" fails to address. However, there is still no definitive proof either to entirely discount the town or its vicinity as being the presumed origin of the Hannibals.


13.4. The claim that Bahre Negasi Yis'hak was the father of Hannibal. Bahre Negasi Yis'hak died in 1578 (see above) and was long dead before Hannibal's birth. Therefore, he could not have been Hannibal's father.


13.5. The claim that Hannibal was from the Irafaile Saho. According to the oral tradition of the Irafaile Saho, especially the Minifre clan (Interview: clan elders, Haji Ali Mahmud Jasir and Shum Abdella Haji Ismail of Senafe, 2002), the Turks abducted many people from the Afraha ruling family and took them away to Turkey in thirteen boats around 16000 A.D. The Turks thought that denying the people of their leaders would help in consolidating the Turkish administration in the area. It is said that the abducted Eritreans mostly settled in Turkey, but about 3,000 (?) of them were taken to Albania and settled there. The story points out that there are still some Albanians who claim to have Eritrean ancestry. According to this oral tradition, Abraham Hannibal was one of those who were abducted in this way and settled in Turkey. He was later transferred from there to the Russians. This version of the story which sounds plausible diverges from the one which is widely narrated by Russian scholars. Interestingly enough, however, both the stories suggest the Saho as the ethnic group from which Abraham Hannibal originated.

14. Conclusion

Recent Eritrean research on the origins of Abraham Hannibal and Alexander Pushkin has focused (for now) on identifying the exact location of the village/town of Logon in Eritrea on the banks of the Mareb River and its tributaries. The present researcher/writer is presently seeking help from the National Museum of Eritrea and some interested members of staff of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology of the University of Asmara to send an archaeological expedition to a suspected site (the town of Logo, which appears on Henry Salt's map) south-east of the village of Ab'aa near A'iba and Tsorona. An attempt was made recently by three Asmara University professors (one Eritrean, the present author, and two Russians) to visit the site. The aim is to find the ruins of the old village/town of Logon and the graveyard. Samples of human tissue would then be collected for DNA analysis and comparison made with the dead and living relatives of Hannibal and Pushkin. The matching of the tissue samples would ultimately mean that we have conclusive evidence exactly where Abraham Hannibal was born and lived in Eritrea. This would again shed further light on the circumstances of his abduction.

REFERENCES

Aitken, Gillon R., tras. (1978) The Complete Prose Tales of Alexander Segeyevitch Pushkin, translated from the Russian. London: Vintage.

Barnabas, simon Amanuel (2001) Eritrawinet: Wu'tsiet Worarinetn Meketen "Eritreanism: the Outcome of Invasion and Resistance"). Asmara: MBY Printing Press.

Bekurezion, Keshi Lebassi (1964) Tiwlidi Logon Zeimwongele Work. Asmara: Kokeb Tsibah. (Re. p.12, Abraha wodi Zerai Logotai)

Beyene, Fr. Tewolde (1992) "An Introduction to the History of Eritrea". Asmara: University of Asmara. (Mimeographed)

Bruce, James (1804) Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1772 and 1773. London: [n.p.].

Feinstein, Elaine (1998) Pushkin. London: Phoenix Giant Paperback.
Gorbachev, Michail (199) "Preface: Pushkin for Me," Alexander Pushkin: a Celebration of Russia's Best-Loved Writer, Briggs, A.D.P., ed. London: Hazar Publishing.

Gorodetsky, Prof. Boris (1957) "Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin" Ethiopia Observer, Vol.. 6, Sylvia Pankhurst, ed. Published in Ethiopia and Britain. (Publisher's name, not given.)

Lavrin, Janko (1947) Pushkin and Russian Literature. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

Marcus, Harold G. (1994) A History of Ethiopia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Massie, Robert K. (1980) Peter the Great: His Life and World. London: Abacus.

Pankhurst, Richard (1961) An Introduction to Economic History of Ethiopia. London: Lalibela House.

Pankhurst, Richard K.P. (1957) "Pushkin's Ethiopian [sic Eritrean] Ancestry", Ethiopia Observer, Vol. 6, (July). Published in Ethiopia and Britain.

Salt, Henry (1814) A Voyage to Abyssinia. London: F.C. and J. Rivington, reprinted by Frank Cass and Company Ltd., London, 1967.

Sinyavsky, Andrei (1993) Strolls with Pushkin. Yale: Yale University Press.
Smallwood, Arwin D. and Elliot, Jeffrey M. (1998) The Atlas of African-American History and Politics: from the Slave Trade to Modern Times. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Smith, Homer (1957) "Hannibal and Russian Arms", Ethiopia Observer, Vol. 6, (July). Publihed in Ethiopia and Britain.

Trimingham, J. Spencer (1952) Islam in Ethiopia. London: Oxford University Press.
Troyat, Henri (1957) "Pushkin's Ethiopian [sic Eritrean] Ancestry", Ethiopia Observer, Vol. 6, Sylvia Pankhurst, ed. Published in Ethiopia and Britain.

Vitale, Serena (1995) Pushkin's [deleted]. Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein and Jon Bothschild. London: Fourth Estate.

Yosief, Yis'haq (1999) Embi Yale Woldu…Gomida: Tarik Raisi Wolde Michael (Gomida Who Defied: the History of Ra'si Wolde Michael")

Yosief, Yis'haq (2000) N'gsnet Hagere Bahri ('Ert'ra): Tarik Degiat Hailu ("Kingship of the Country of the Sea (Eritrea): the History of De'jiat Hailu 'Abba Galla'". Asmara: Semhar Graphics,Eritrea.

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* One of Pushkin's critics, Sinyavsky, notes, "Oh, how Pushkin seized upon his Negroid appearance and his African past, which he loved perhaps more dearly than he did his aristocratic [white Russian] ancestry. Because besides the blood kinship, here was a spiritual kinship as well" (Sinayevsky, 1993, p. 120).


pushkin
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Re: THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)

Post by pushkin » 13 Feb 2020, 09:28

Pushkin in Eritrea: Pushkin's Grandfather Was Eritrean!
https://www.hoa-politicalscene.com/push ... itrea.html



Ejersa
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Re: THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)

Post by Ejersa » 13 Feb 2020, 10:36

http://www.madote.com/2009/11/alexander ... smara.html
pushkin wrote:
13 Feb 2020, 08:54
ABRAHAM HANNIBAL (1670 - 1761)

General Abraham Hannibal was born in 1670 in Eritrea, East Africa. As a young child he was stolen from his parents and sold in to slavery. He ended up in Turkey. In parts of Europe the fate for black people was much kinder than that of the millions who were sold into the trans-Atlanic slave trade, as the story of Abraham Hannibal shows. Abraham was taken to Russia where Tsar Peter (Peter the Great) and his wife Christina Queen of Poland adopted him.When Abraham was a young man, his bilogical parents found him and told him his real name was Ibrahim Hannibal and he was a descendent of the carthaginian Empire. Alike his namesake Hannibal, the great African military genius who lived around 200 bc, Abraham also became a military genius.

Tsar Peter sent Abraham to France to learn mathematics and engineering from the highest educationl insitutes. During Abraham's studies, war broke out between France and Spain and in 1718, he joined the French army to gain access to the best military engineering program and was captured bt the Spanish army. He was released in 1722 and promoted to lieutenanat and continued to study mathematics and engineering in france for anther year. he returned to Russia the following year and his advanced training enabled him to apply and successfully aquire posts frist as an engineer and than as a mathematics tutor for one of the Tsar's private guard units.

Abraham was sent to Siberia for three years to complate an engineering project. During this time he built a fortress and led several construction projects where he became a master engineer. he complated his srvice in Siberia in 1733 and returned to the court in 1741.

Abraham had 11 childern, most of whom became members of the Russian rayalty, he was the great grandfather to one of Russia's great men, Alexander Pushkin the poet and father of modern Russian literature. Aberaham died around 1761.

THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF
ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)


By
Solomon Ghebre-Ghiorghis (M.A., Ph.D.)
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Asmara



1. Significance of Alexander Pushkin

One of the most illustrious figures in the history of world literature and general culture has been Alexander S. Pushkin (1799-1837), the Russian poet, publisher and revolutionary. Some people Shakespeare is to English literature. However, clearly, Pushkin is more than that: he is widely acclaimed as the founder of modern Russian literature: the literature of Lermontove and Gogol Turgenev and Nekrasov, Dosteyevskynand tolstoy, Chekov and Gorky (Levrin, 1947, pp. 1-9; Gorodetsky, 1957, p. 266). Besides his literary merit, Pushkin also had a remarkable personae of wit, integrity and courage (Gorbachev, 1999, p.v). He stressed his African identity* and was the lover of some of the most beautiful women of his time (Feinstein, 1998, p. 11-21). His short life ended in a manner which was in no way less dramatic than stories told in Greek or Shakespearean tragedies (Serena, 1995).

Pushkin's story is indeed remarkable, but the story of his family especially that of his great-grandfather, Abraham or Ibrahim Hannibal (1698-1781) and how the various strands of these stories converge on and relate to the country now known as Eritrea is equally, and in some ways even more remarkable as a story of human tragedy and triumph over disaster in black history (see Pankhurst, 1957, pp.242-244).

2. Pushkin's Family and Eritrean History

The family history of the Hannibals is closely linked to the history of Eritrea, the Ottoman Empire and Tsarist Russia. Many conflicting claims have been made about the genealogy of the Hannibals. The purpose of this paper is partly to settle these claims and provide a more comprehensive picture of what happened. To do this, we need to briefly look at the general historical background of the story.

"The 16th century marks a decisive twist in Eritrean history. Almost a millennium after the end of the Axumite era, the country reappeared on the international scenery, this time however as a target of successive colonial plans of conquest, which profoundly affected its future historical and political evolution"(Beyene,1992, p.30). European knowledge and interest in the region increased remarkably after the visit to Abyssinia of the first Portuguese delegation to the Abyssinian court during 1520-1526. Soon after that, a Portuguee-Abyssinian military and political alliance came into effect. This took place at a time when the Red Sea as a gateway to India and the Far East was giving place to Ottoman and Portuguese competition for supremacy in the area (Beyene, pp. 30-32; Marcus, 1994, p. 34).

In 1528, the great storm which had been gathering for centuries broke out in Abyssinia. Imam Ahmed ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (Gragn 'the Left Handed') launched an invasion and overrun the country. The majority of the Christian population accepted Islam mostly, it seems, to save their lives. Gragn even briefly occupied the Eritrean plateau (Seraye, Akeleguzay, Hamasien and even Massawa), albeit with difficulty, from 1535 till 1542. The invaders enjoyed the powerful backing of the Ottoman Turks, who were concerned at the time to extend their influence in Arabia and along the costs of the Red Sea (see Beyene, p. 28; Marcus, pp.31-32; Trimingham, 1952).

On their part, the Abyssinians were supported materially and morally by the Portuguese. A 400-man Portuguese force under the command of Christopher da Gama had landed in Massawa in 1541. They fought their first engagement with Gragn in Akele Guzay. In the fighting that followed, da Gama was killed along with almost half of his army. However, the Portuguese with their Abyssinian allies pursued Gragn, who was defeated and killed near Lake Tana (Beyene, p.28; Marcus, pp. 32-34).

The involvement of the Portuguese in Ethiopian politics had the result of accelerating the Turkish attempt at conquest, which had as a scenery Eritrea and northern Tigray (cf. Trimingham, 1952). The Turks had occupied Suakin and Zeila. In 1557, Massawa and Hirghigo were occupied and were to become the launching pad for a full-fledged attempt to conquer the highland and beyond (Beyene, pp.30-31). For the sake of clarity, we shall briefly outline this as follows.

First Period (1557-59). The Turks occupied Debarwa in a campaign that led them into Tigray. They even managed to scale and desecrate Debre Damo, which even Gragn had failed to do. The attack was crushed by Bahri Negasi Yes'haq, and the Turks were forced to return to Massawa and Hirghigo. Yes'haq was from Shire, but he had an ambition to create an independent state comprising Eritrea and Western Tigray, including Shire (Beyene, p.32).

Second Period (15559-63). Bahr Negasi Yes'haq was disgruntled with the Abyssinian leadership and sided with the Turks and promised them Debarwa and all the land up to the coast. The Abyssinian King Minas of Gondar conducted an armed counteraction, but the result was indecisive.

Third Period (1563-78). Ozdemur , the Turkish commander, and Yes'haq fought Melek Seged, the new Abyssinian king, in which both of them were killed and Debarwa came under Ethiopian control.

Fourth Period (1588-89). Wolde'Ezum, a local ruler, offered his collaboration to the Turks for the conquest of Debarwa. Their success was short lived. They were ambushed near the Mereb and defeated. The Turks were chased up to Hirghigo. However, the attempt to break the Turkish fortress there failed. The Turks were thus to maintain their control over the coast for the following three hundred years, although the effective rule of the area was handed to the Na'ibs, who were the traditional rulers of Hirghigo (near Massawa) and the surrounding areas. They are said to have been from the Belew people who contributed to the downfall of Axum. The Na'ibs claimed to be from the Beja royal family in the Sudan.

They were under the supervision of the Turkish representative in Massawa, the Kaimakan, who was in turn answerable to the Turkish Shariffe of Mecca (see Salt, 1814, pp. 204-212). The Naibs and the Turks still sought to obtain military control of the Semhar and the highland beyond by exploiting the power rivalry among the local rulers (see Yosief, 1999). In their various expeditions, they were supported by Turkish forces garrisoned along the coast. According to some available sources, it is in one of such expeditions that the family history of Abraham Hannibal and Alexander Pushkin begins.

3. Abduction of Abraham/Ibrahim from Eritrea

The young Abraham or Ibrahim or Abraha, as Prof. Richard Pankhurst calls him (see Pankhurst, 1957, p. 242) was born around 1698 and was the son of a minor "prince' or chief whose capital Logon stood "on the northern side of the Mareb River in what is now called Eritrea" (Smith, 1957, p. 245). Troyat (1957, p.244) also asserts that the place of Hanniba's origin was "on the banks of the Mareb River in what is now Eritrea". N.
Ismailov adds that the Logon was located in the "Hamasien [Eritrean] plateau" (see Pankhurst, 1961, p.423). At the time, the overall ruler of Midri-Bahri (Eritrea) was Degezmati Habtesulus of Tseazega (who was in control of the region from 1679 till 1719) (see Yosief, 2000, pp.36-40). Abraham's father was quite rich and had "several" wives and nineteen children. The Turks invaded his territory, and he was engaged in a fierce battle to defend himself.He lost the battle, and his son, Abraham/Ibrahim, was subsequently abducted (some say in a palace conspiracy, see Troyat, 1957, p. 244) and taken to Constantinople by sea. His sister, Lagan, is said to have drowned in the sea in a desperate attempt to save her brother (see Pankhurst, 1957, p.242; Troyat, p.244). Abraham stayed in Constantinople for about a year in the service of the Sultan's household. At the time, upon the instructions of Tsar Peter the Great, the Russian Ambassador, Savva Ruguzinski, was looking for "a few clever little African slaves" for the Tsar's palace, as was the custom in those days at the great courts in Europe (Troyat, p. 244; cf. Smallwood and Elliot, 1998). Thus, Abraham was selected for this purpose and soon purchased from the Sultan's viziers with a bribe. The ambassador immediately dispatched him to Russia by sea.

4. In the Court of Tsar Peter the Great

Peter the Great (see Massie, 1980) was delighted with his acquisition. He baptised the young boy at the Orthodox church in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1707.. The Tsar himself became his godfather and the Queen of Poland his godmother (Troyat, p.244). The young boy was named Peter after his master, the Tsar. However, the child cried and protested saying that it was not his real name-insisting that he be called Ibrahim. They, therefore, gave him a similar version of this name and called him Abraham Petrov (Pankhurst, 1961, p.424). There is no documentary evidence to suggest whether or not Ibrahim was his original name or whether he acquired it from the Turks.

Abraham had a modest beginning at court (Troyat, p.244). However, the Tsar started to recognise his extraordinary abilities and took him into his immediate entourage. In fact, soon Abraham became his valet and then his secretary. The Tsar used to dictate to him his ideas at night in his private chambers. In the morning, these were made into formal decrees, orders and instructions and passed on to the concerned officials (Smith, p. 245). As he matured, he started to accompany the Tsar on all his tours and military campaigns.

5. Education and Experience in France

In 1716, when Peter the Great visited France, he took Abraham along with him as a member of his entourage. Upon the Tsar's return to Russia, Abraham was left behind to enroll in a military college to study "fortification and military mining" (Feinstein, p.20). In 1719, the young Eritrean volunteered to fight with the French against the Spanish. He was severely wounded on the head and taken prisoner. After his release, he returned to France and entered the military engineering and artillery college at Metz, known as the Ecole d'Artillerie. Abraham Petrov showed remarkable success in his knowledge and skill, especially in military engineering and mathematics.

The Tsar wanted Abraham to return to Russia soon; however, the young officer kept giving excuses to extend his stay in France. He was actually having a good time in Paris with female friends. He is said to have had a well known love affair with a French countess. In his short story The Moor of Peter the Great, Alexander Pushkin renders an imaginary farewell letter from his great-grandfather to the French countess:

Good-bye, Leonora, good-bye, my dear and only friend. I am leaving you - you, the first and last joy of my life. I have neither country now relatives. I am going to sad Russia, where my total solitude will be a consolation to me. Serious affairs, to which from this moment I will dedicate myself, will, if not stifle, at least divert me from the tortuous memories of days of ecstasy and bliss…. Good-bye, Leonora, I tear myself away from this letter as if from your embrace; goodbye, be happy…. And think sometimes of a poor Negro, of your faithful Ibrahim (Aitken, 1978, pp. 11-12).

The word "Negro" in Russian translates as a descendant or inhabitant of the continent of Africa. Alexander Pushkin himself said "I am a descendant from an Abyssinian Negro whose father was a big landlord in Abyssinia" (see Pankhurst, 1957, p. 244). Pankhurst (Ibid, p.242) points out that "Abraham's romantic story is shrouded in legend and has been a constant source of interest and inspiration, particularly to Africans and people of African descent".

6. Return to Russia

When Abraham finally returned to St. Petersburg in 1725 with specialty in military fortification and explosives, the Tsar was happy with Abraham's achievement and the acquisition of the latest military technology which could be deployed to strengthen the Russian Army. Abraham brought with him books on various subjects including mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, military engineering and a book entitled Love Letters of a Catholic Nun (Feinstein, 1988, p.20). The Tsar seems to have been particularly interested in the technical books that Abraham had brought.

7. Banishment

The young Eritrean started getting key appointments from the Tsar, and his career promised to be brilliant. However, the Tsar died two years after Abraham's return, and the young officer started facing problems. As a result of court intrigues, he was sent to Kazan and then to the Chinese frontier under the pretext of being put in charge of fortifications in the area. He was forced to live on a meager salary and faced a lot of hardship. He did his best to return to St. Petersburg, but did not find it easy.

8. Return from Exile

Fortunately, Empress Anna Ivanovna, Peter the Great's daughter, came to the Russian throne in 1730, and he was recalled from exile and appointed to a new post as a captain of military engineering. That year, he decided to marry the daughter of a Greek captain, Eudoxia, who had another lover. Abraham and Eudoxia got married, but it ended in a disaster. The long saga of the divorce proceeding is discussed by Troyat (p. 245). Abraham had another lover of German origin called Christine Sherberg, whom he married later and with whom he had eleven children.


9. New Assignment in the Baltic

In the meantime, he was assigned to the Baltic region to build and supervise the construction of military fortifications. He was also giving lectures on engineering and mathematics to young Russian nobles. Abraham became one of the very few people in Russia who had remarkable expertise on artillery and military fortification. In 1726, he had written a book on engineering but it was not published. The reason for this is not known.

Around 1735, Abraham Petrov added "Hannibal" or "Gannibal" in Russian to his name and became Abraham Petrovich Hannibal. He probably took this name from the famous Carthagenean (North African) general, Hannibal, who conquered Rome (see Smith, 1957, p.246).

Meanwhile, Abraham Hannibal continued to get promotion after promotion in his military career. In 1742, he was appointed general-in-chief and Commander of Ravel and later became a gentleman of the bedchamber. In 1746, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna made Abraham a present of a vast property and estate, the village of Mikhailovskoye, which was later passed on to his great grandson, Alexander Pushkin.

10. Becomes Major-General in Charge of All Military Engineering in Russia

In 1752, Hannibal became a Major-General and was appointed in charge of all military engineering in Russia. In this capacity, he displayed to the full his skill as a technician and organiser. The Russian fortifications along the Baltic Sea which he built contributed to the defense of Russia from the German invaders in the Second World War, and they still exist (see Smith, 1957, p.246).

11. Retirement and Death

Finally, he retired in 1762 and settled in one of his estates near St. Petersburg. There, he lived "in peace and tranquility" for twenty more years recalling his life in Africa. He died on 14th May 1781, at the age of 83 or 84 (Pankhurst, 1957, p.246).

12. Descendants

Two of Major-General Hannibal's sons took the mantle of their father and became renowned military commanders. One of them, Ivan Hannibal, in particular was Admiral of the Fleet in the Russian Navy. His feats and skills equaled, if not surpassed, those of his illustrious father. He won the Battle of Navarino, which was considered impossible by other Russian commanders (Feinstein, p.12).

The second son, Ossip Hannibal, was a major of artillery also in the Russian Navy. But, he is well known more for having been the grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, whose mother, Nadezhda (Ossip's daughter) married a young captain called Pushkin. Nadezhda's other son was Oleg, who became an officer decorated for his bravery. Alexander Pushkin's son, also called Alexander, joined the Russian Army and was awarded a gold sabre for bravery. By 1908, he had won promotion to the rank of General of Cavalry (see Smith, pp.246-247). Some descendants of Abraham Hannibal and of Alexander Pushkin can still be traced. One of them has been the aunt of Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of the present queen of Britain. According to a recent report, one of Pushkin's descendants is also presently working as a football coach in St Petersburg.

13. Some Controversies about the Origins of Abraham Hannibal

Abraham Hannibal's life and times after his departure from Eritrea are well documented. However, the circumstances surrounding his family origin, the exact place in Eritrea he hails from and how he was exactly abducted by the Turks still require further investigation. But, at least some of the conflicting claims and controversies therein can still be fairly resolved using a combination of documentary and circumstantial evidence as outlined below.

13.1. The claim that Hannibal was from Ethiopia. In the Russian archives, Hannibal (or Gannibal in Russian) is identified as having been of Abyssinian origin. Hannibal's descendants, including Alexander Pushkin himself, have always acknowledged this fact. Since Abyssinia is usually identified with present day Ethiopia, the Ethiopians as well as some foreign scholars have claimed that the Hannibals are of Ethiopian origin. The fact that the area which is now called Eritrea was for a long time administered by Ethiopia (or the northern part of Ethiopia) and that the people of Eritrea or parts of it were widely identified as Abyssinians for over a millennium (cf. Bruce, 1804; Salt, 1814) have further complicated the matter. It must be stressed, however, that the confusion is not substantive and is confined to the problem of nomenclature.. There is certainly no evidence to prove or suggest that Hannibal was born in or had ever been to what is now called Ethiopia. The Turkish forces were in northern Ethiopia only during 1557-59 (see above), long before Hannibal was born in 1698. Nor is there any evidence that suggests that Hannibal's parents moved from Ethiopia to Eritrea before his birth.

13.2. The claim that Hannibal's father was a Muslin. The issue as to whether Abraham's father was a Muslim becomes important because it is one of the factors that may be taken in deciding which part of Eritrea he was taken from. N. Izmailov suggests that Abraham's father was indeed a Muslin, and "a vassal of the Turkish Sultan" in Massawa at that. From Abraham's account about his life in Africa, it I said that his father had many wives and that the youngest and most favoured was his mother. He also had nineteen siblings. It may not be beyond reason to imagine a Christian man in those days having nineteen children from three wives, usually the first and eldest wife recognized by the church. It is also true that sometimes, some men in Christian communities in Eritrea took over the wives of their brothers to keep their nephews and nieces and their property within the family. However, Abraham's narrative involves several wives, not just three or even four. Rich Muslims were known to keep harems in which "several" women were involved. This may explain why Abraham's father had this many wives. Is it possible that the name Ibrahim was given to him by the Turks? That seems unlikely because he stayed with them only for a year, and he wouldn't have associated himself with the name so much as to lead to his protest against his being given another name. Therefore, the boys alleged protest against him being renamed can be taken as evidence to support the claim that he was a Muslim. If this is true, it would mean that most of the subjects of Abraham's father were Muslims. This can help to excluse many areas of Eritrea as possible locations of Hannibal's origin. Should this include Debarwa?

13.3. The claim that Hannibal was either from Debarwa or its vicinity. There are some who have vigorously argued that Hannibal was from either Debarwa or its vicinity - which are associated with the Logo/Logotai "clan" (see Bekurezion, 1964; Barnabas, 2001). There is certainly a village called Logo near Debarwa, which might be phonetically associated with "Logon" (see above). Debarwa was for a long time the capital of the bahre negasi. It also lies on the south-western banks of the Mareb River in the Eritrea highlands. As we have seen earlier, Abraham's father was also said to have been a wealthy chief or "prince" or even possibly a regional bahre negasi with his own fief and a capital on the banks of the Mareb River. Is this sufficient to suggest that Debarwa and/or its vicinity were the real Logon we are after? In the first place, it looks unlikely that the town was the capital of the bahre negasi around 1705-6 (the year of Abraham's abduction). As we saw earlier, the ruler of the region at that time was Habtesulus, who mainly governed from Tseazega for forty years (1678-1719), although he was also in control of Debarwa (see Yis'hak Yosief, 2000, pp.36-40; Tewolde Beyene, 1992, p.34). Was Debarwa indeed the only town in highland Eritrea which was on the banks of the Mareb? Is it also possible that what is meant by the "Mareb River" was extended to include its tributaries as well? There was certainly no "prince" in Eritrea at that time. The only person who could have claimed this title was Habtesulus himself because he was appointed by the Ethiopian king as the ruler of the region, and he obviously could not have been Abraham's father. Is it possible that the local governor of Debarwa (under Habtesulus) could have been Abraham's father? That looks unlikely either because there was little chance that the Turks could have any contact with him without Habtesulus's involvement in view of the geo-political situation of the time. It seems that by taking some of these factors and ignoring others, some people have concluded that in all probability Abraham Hannibal was from the Debarwa area. However, the circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. It is unlikely that the Turks could have managed to seize Debarwa without confronting the powerful army of Habtesulus, who also had a strong support from the Ethiopian king. As discussed above, it also seems that Hannibal's father was a Muslim. Taking all these details into account, it makes more sense to assume that the Turks encroached into highland Eritrea from the eastern escarpment on the approaches to Adi Kayih and Sen'afe and moved west to the Mareb area around Tsorona, A'iba, Ab'aa and Logo Sarda and further west even to Hazomo- parts of which are often referred to as Logo - without confronting Habtesulus's main army. This is an area which is inhabited by the south-eastern Logos/Logotays, who are affiliated to the Logotays of Debarwa and its vicinity. Indeed, the British explorer and scholar, Henry Salt, mentions visiting in 1809 a "large town called Logo, whence the surrounding district takes its name" (Salt, p. 246). He also points out that the town had its own "Bahre Negasi Arkoe, a rebellious chieftain" (Ibid). Salt had an instrument to help him calculate the bearing of his position, and he locates the town of Logo on the banks of one of the main tributaries of the Mareb River, the Stream of Serwemai. It is important to understand that the ancestry of the Logos/Logotays in Hamasien, Seraye and Akeleguzay is linked to that of the Saho/Assaorta. There are indeed many Saho/Assaorta Muslims who still live in the vicinity of Logo Sarda and Tsorona today. We think that 300-400 years ago, the area was predominantly inhabited by these Saho Muslim clans whose members spread all the way down to the Semhar and Irafayle on the Red Sea coast. This links the Saho/Assaworta with the Turkish/Na'ib rule along the coast, the Semhar and part of the highland - which was a source of constant friction, and sometimes bitter conflict, away from the political and military power balance in central Eritrea of the time. That is probably why battles fought between the Turkish forces and the local Eritrean rulers (such as Abraham's father) in the area tended to remain unrecorded in history. This explains many questions which the "Debarwa hypothesis" fails to address. However, there is still no definitive proof either to entirely discount the town or its vicinity as being the presumed origin of the Hannibals.


13.4. The claim that Bahre Negasi Yis'hak was the father of Hannibal. Bahre Negasi Yis'hak died in 1578 (see above) and was long dead before Hannibal's birth. Therefore, he could not have been Hannibal's father.


13.5. The claim that Hannibal was from the Irafaile Saho. According to the oral tradition of the Irafaile Saho, especially the Minifre clan (Interview: clan elders, Haji Ali Mahmud Jasir and Shum Abdella Haji Ismail of Senafe, 2002), the Turks abducted many people from the Afraha ruling family and took them away to Turkey in thirteen boats around 16000 A.D. The Turks thought that denying the people of their leaders would help in consolidating the Turkish administration in the area. It is said that the abducted Eritreans mostly settled in Turkey, but about 3,000 (?) of them were taken to Albania and settled there. The story points out that there are still some Albanians who claim to have Eritrean ancestry. According to this oral tradition, Abraham Hannibal was one of those who were abducted in this way and settled in Turkey. He was later transferred from there to the Russians. This version of the story which sounds plausible diverges from the one which is widely narrated by Russian scholars. Interestingly enough, however, both the stories suggest the Saho as the ethnic group from which Abraham Hannibal originated.

14. Conclusion

Recent Eritrean research on the origins of Abraham Hannibal and Alexander Pushkin has focused (for now) on identifying the exact location of the village/town of Logon in Eritrea on the banks of the Mareb River and its tributaries. The present researcher/writer is presently seeking help from the National Museum of Eritrea and some interested members of staff of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology of the University of Asmara to send an archaeological expedition to a suspected site (the town of Logo, which appears on Henry Salt's map) south-east of the village of Ab'aa near A'iba and Tsorona. An attempt was made recently by three Asmara University professors (one Eritrean, the present author, and two Russians) to visit the site. The aim is to find the ruins of the old village/town of Logon and the graveyard. Samples of human tissue would then be collected for DNA analysis and comparison made with the dead and living relatives of Hannibal and Pushkin. The matching of the tissue samples would ultimately mean that we have conclusive evidence exactly where Abraham Hannibal was born and lived in Eritrea. This would again shed further light on the circumstances of his abduction.

REFERENCES

Aitken, Gillon R., tras. (1978) The Complete Prose Tales of Alexander Segeyevitch Pushkin, translated from the Russian. London: Vintage.

Barnabas, simon Amanuel (2001) Eritrawinet: Wu'tsiet Worarinetn Meketen "Eritreanism: the Outcome of Invasion and Resistance"). Asmara: MBY Printing Press.

Bekurezion, Keshi Lebassi (1964) Tiwlidi Logon Zeimwongele Work. Asmara: Kokeb Tsibah. (Re. p.12, Abraha wodi Zerai Logotai)

Beyene, Fr. Tewolde (1992) "An Introduction to the History of Eritrea". Asmara: University of Asmara. (Mimeographed)

Bruce, James (1804) Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1772 and 1773. London: [n.p.].

Feinstein, Elaine (1998) Pushkin. London: Phoenix Giant Paperback.
Gorbachev, Michail (199) "Preface: Pushkin for Me," Alexander Pushkin: a Celebration of Russia's Best-Loved Writer, Briggs, A.D.P., ed. London: Hazar Publishing.

Gorodetsky, Prof. Boris (1957) "Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin" Ethiopia Observer, Vol.. 6, Sylvia Pankhurst, ed. Published in Ethiopia and Britain. (Publisher's name, not given.)

Lavrin, Janko (1947) Pushkin and Russian Literature. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

Marcus, Harold G. (1994) A History of Ethiopia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Massie, Robert K. (1980) Peter the Great: His Life and World. London: Abacus.

Pankhurst, Richard (1961) An Introduction to Economic History of Ethiopia. London: Lalibela House.

Pankhurst, Richard K.P. (1957) "Pushkin's Ethiopian [sic Eritrean] Ancestry", Ethiopia Observer, Vol. 6, (July). Published in Ethiopia and Britain.

Salt, Henry (1814) A Voyage to Abyssinia. London: F.C. and J. Rivington, reprinted by Frank Cass and Company Ltd., London, 1967.

Sinyavsky, Andrei (1993) Strolls with Pushkin. Yale: Yale University Press.
Smallwood, Arwin D. and Elliot, Jeffrey M. (1998) The Atlas of African-American History and Politics: from the Slave Trade to Modern Times. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Smith, Homer (1957) "Hannibal and Russian Arms", Ethiopia Observer, Vol. 6, (July). Publihed in Ethiopia and Britain.

Trimingham, J. Spencer (1952) Islam in Ethiopia. London: Oxford University Press.
Troyat, Henri (1957) "Pushkin's Ethiopian [sic Eritrean] Ancestry", Ethiopia Observer, Vol. 6, Sylvia Pankhurst, ed. Published in Ethiopia and Britain.

Vitale, Serena (1995) Pushkin's [deleted]. Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein and Jon Bothschild. London: Fourth Estate.

Yosief, Yis'haq (1999) Embi Yale Woldu…Gomida: Tarik Raisi Wolde Michael (Gomida Who Defied: the History of Ra'si Wolde Michael")

Yosief, Yis'haq (2000) N'gsnet Hagere Bahri ('Ert'ra): Tarik Degiat Hailu ("Kingship of the Country of the Sea (Eritrea): the History of De'jiat Hailu 'Abba Galla'". Asmara: Semhar Graphics,Eritrea.

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* One of Pushkin's critics, Sinyavsky, notes, "Oh, how Pushkin seized upon his Negroid appearance and his African past, which he loved perhaps more dearly than he did his aristocratic [white Russian] ancestry. Because besides the blood kinship, here was a spiritual kinship as well" (Sinayevsky, 1993, p. 120).


adulis1
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Re: THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)

Post by adulis1 » 13 Feb 2020, 11:13

Abduction Edit
Richard Pankhurst, the former professor at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, believed the young Abram, Ibrahim or Abraham, as he named him, was born around 1698. He was the son of a minor "prince" or chief whose capital was Logon (now part of present-day Cameroon). His father was relatively affluent taking several wives and having 19 children. However, after his father died in battle trying to defend his territory from the Ottoman Turks, Abram was abducted and taken to Constantinople by ship (see Slavery in the Ottoman Empire). His sister, Lagan, is said to have drowned in the sea in a desperate attempt to save her brother.

Abram stayed in the Ottoman Empire for about a year in the service of Sultan Ahmed III's household. At the time, the Russian ambassador Sava Vladislavich-Raguzinsky, representing Peter the Great, was looking for "a few clever little African slaves" for the Tsar's palace in Moscow, as was the custom in those days at the great courts in Europe. On orders of Vladislavich's superiors (one of whom was Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy, great-grandfather of the celebrated writer Leo Tolstoy), Abram was selected for this purpose and soon ransomed from the Sultan's viziers with a bribe. In 1704, the ambassador immediately dispatched him by land to Moscow in order to be presented to Tsar Peter the Great.

The Tsar is noted to have taken a liking to the boy’s intelligence and potential for military service, and brought the child into his household.[4] Abram was baptized in 1705, in St. Paraskeva Church in Vilnius, with Peter as his godfather.[2] The date of Gannibal’s baptism held personal significance; he used that date as his birthday because he did not know his actual date of birth.[4]

Abram valued his relationship with his godfather, as well as that of Peter's daughter (Elizabeth), and was loyal to them as if they were family.[4] Starting at a young age, the boy Abram would travel alongside the emperor during his military campaigns, and at these military journeys he served as his godfather’s valet.[6]

pushkin
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Re: THE ERITREAN ANCESTRY OF ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837)

Post by pushkin » 13 Feb 2020, 11:33

Richard Pankhurst, other Ferengies & Ethiopian anthropologists & historians have greater contribution in distorting the History of Eritrea. Thanks to the Eritrean anthropologists, archaeologists & historians, they are now engaged in revealing the true history of Eritrea. In this regard, the Russians have also confirmed that Alexander Pushkin's ancestors are Eritreans- Be patient, you will hear soon Eritrea's civilization since BC. For the record, the turkish have never colonized Cameroon
adulis1 wrote:
13 Feb 2020, 11:13
Abduction Edit
Richard Pankhurst, the former professor at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, believed the young Abram, Ibrahim or Abraham, as he named him, was born around 1698. He was the son of a minor "prince" or chief whose capital was Logon (now part of present-day Cameroon). His father was relatively affluent taking several wives and having 19 children. However, after his father died in battle trying to defend his territory from the Ottoman Turks, Abram was abducted and taken to Constantinople by ship (see Slavery in the Ottoman Empire). His sister, Lagan, is said to have drowned in the sea in a desperate attempt to save her brother.

Abram stayed in the Ottoman Empire for about a year in the service of Sultan Ahmed III's household. At the time, the Russian ambassador Sava Vladislavich-Raguzinsky, representing Peter the Great, was looking for "a few clever little African slaves" for the Tsar's palace in Moscow, as was the custom in those days at the great courts in Europe. On orders of Vladislavich's superiors (one of whom was Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy, great-grandfather of the celebrated writer Leo Tolstoy), Abram was selected for this purpose and soon ransomed from the Sultan's viziers with a bribe. In 1704, the ambassador immediately dispatched him by land to Moscow in order to be presented to Tsar Peter the Great.

The Tsar is noted to have taken a liking to the boy’s intelligence and potential for military service, and brought the child into his household.[4] Abram was baptized in 1705, in St. Paraskeva Church in Vilnius, with Peter as his godfather.[2] The date of Gannibal’s baptism held personal significance; he used that date as his birthday because he did not know his actual date of birth.[4]

Abram valued his relationship with his godfather, as well as that of Peter's daughter (Elizabeth), and was loyal to them as if they were family.[4] Starting at a young age, the boy Abram would travel alongside the emperor during his military campaigns, and at these military journeys he served as his godfather’s valet.[6]

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