My ancestors were slaves but who am I? (DNA TEST Part.1)

Recently I’ve started asking myself questions about my origins. Considering the position of Reunion, where I am from, its history and my physical appearance I can conclude that my ancestors were slaves.

My friend finds this sentence quite brutalmy ancestors were slaves” and yet I couldn’t find a better way to put this. It is a simple and tragic truth, slavery was a plague to our world back then and it had a lot of consequences.

People know very little about Réunion, if they know its existence that is. Please, allow me to teach you a few things~

Réunion or Reunion Island is a small french island in the Indian Ocean.

 

 

If you are curious, it looks like this:

I know what you’re thinking: “how am I just learning about this place today ??”

 

So my ancestors were slaves but where did they come from?

Reunion is a place where people live in harmony. Black people, Indians, Chinese, Arabs, we all live peacefully together.

But this multiculturalism is the result of  something tragic: slavery.

People started settling down in Reunion in the 1600s. Since it is located in the Indian Ocean, the island played a very important role in the slave trade. Back then, the slaves living in Reunion were mostly from Africa and India.

I’m really curious about where my ancestors actually came from which is why I decided to do a DNA test with Ancestry.com.
If you are interested, there are other companies that do that kind of tests such as FamilyTree and 23andMe for example. It gives you a global idea about your origins, I find it extremely fascinating!

Why take this test?

Honestly, I get asked a lot about my origins. People often think I’m from South America! I remember one time, a guy stopped me in the street in Ireland and started talking to me in Portuguese because he thought I was Brazilian! That was very funny ~

It’s hard to describe myself.  I am french but before that I am from Réunion, it is a whole culture, very different from the french culture itself, we have our own language, our traditions, our food, etc.

For most people, I look mixed. But a mix of what? That’s what I want to discover!

 

My sources differ when it comes to the precise origin of the African slaves. These slaves were called “kaffir” (cafre in french).  It was a word used to talk about Africans who came from Southern Africa. Some other sources however, say that these slaves came from Western Africa or sometimes Easter Africa. I would say that it is more likely that they come from Southern Africa but it’s just a guess!

Southern Africa is made of:

  •  Angola
  •  Botswana
  •  Democratic Republic of the Congo
  •  Lesotho
  •  Madagascar
  •  Malawi
  •  Mozambique
  •  Namibia
  •  South Africa
  •  Swaziland
  •  Tanzania
  •  Zambia
  •  Zimbabwe

 

Most of the slaves came from Africa and India but some also came from other parts of the world. Indeed, the slaves who lived in Réunion were:

  • Bengalis (native of Bengal, a region between Bangladesh and India)
  • Africans
  • Tamils (people from some part of India and Sri Lanka)
  • Malays (people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand)

This makes me so curious about my heritage.

While I am waiting for my results, allow me to speculate about my DNA: I’d say that I have more African and Indian DNA! However I do have some physical similarities with Southern Asian people though.. hum that is a mystery that we will unfold in a few weeks then!

 

Do you have a clear knowledge about your heritage? If not, would you like to know? 

 

Until next time~

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