Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Mande Language, Nanticoke and Lenape

Around 25,000 Mande speakers set sail for the Americas in the 1300’s
from the Mali Empire of West Africa. Some of these Mande speakers
may have been the ancestors of the Nanticoke.


In A.D. 1312, Emperor Abubakari Muhammad , of Mali gave his
throne to Mansa Musa and embarked with his fleet into the Atlantic
 Ocean in search of the continent  opposite Africa. Archaeological and
epigraphic evidence indicates that Abubakari, and or members of his
 expedition settled in pre-Columbian Brazil.

The Indians have a tradition that Mansar Akban was the leader of
another tribe which discovered the Cunan people.This Mansar Akban,
may be a reference to Mansa Abubakari, who led the Malian voyagers
to the Americas.

The Manding lived in mounds along the Niger rivers. The mound
 cultures of ancient  America were built by Africans primarily Manding.
The people of the Niger Delta  formed river riverine communities which
were partly vegetation with some aquatic animals were eaten.

The ancient Manding built several types of homes. In ancient times
they built masonry houses and cliff dwellings identical to those found
in the American  Southwest. In Medieval times they lived on mounds
in the most watery areas  in their circular huts made a stone and wood
 on the top and their fields in front of the mounds tilled each day.

The Malian people introduced their technology to the Americas. The
Manding built dwellings depending on the topography . Near rivers
they lived on mounds. In  semi-arid regions they lived in cliff houses,
 like those found in the Southwest.

 Today the Dogon who trace their descent to the Mande live in identical
dwellings  as those found in Colorado ,where Manding inscriptions dating
to the A.D. 1000 's  have been found related to the Pueblo culture.

According to Cadamosto the Mali marines wore white caps on their heads
and a white tunic. On the side of the skull-caps worn by the Malian
marines,a white wing  decoration was emblaxoned, and a feather
was stuck in the  middle of the skull cap.

On board each naval vessel stood a marine with a round leather
shield on the arm and a short sword. Other marines were armed with
bows and arrows .

Murphy reported that the Malian military wore a uniform consisting
of sandles, loose fitting cotton breeches reaching down to the knees,
 a sleeveless tunic, and a white headdress of either cotton or leather,
decorated with one or more
 feathers .
The major weapons of the Malian soldier included iron-pointed spears,
 daggers  and short swords, wooden battle-clubs and the bow and arrow .

The Malians left many inscriptions in the United States and elsewhere after
they arrived in the Americas. These inscriptions are of two kinds. One group
of inscriptions were meant to warn the Manding expeditionary force not to camp
 in certain areas.



Daniel G. Brinton, in On Certain Supposed Words, Shown to be of African
Origin (Am. Antiquarian and Oriental Journal (1887) ), argues that the Mande numerals recorded  by J.C. Pyrlaeus, were probably the numerals of a run away slave, because
they were of Mande origin. This was pure speculation on Brinton’s part because there
were many Black Native American tribes on the Eastern coast of North America.

This was speculation on Brinton’s part, because he acts as if Pyrlaeus would have
been unfamiliar with the Indians where he lived. Also, because the Nanticokes were
very dark Brinton due to emphasis on Blacks being mainly slaves just assumed
that the Nanticoke could not be Indian, since they were dark skinned.
Although this is Dr. Brinton’s opinion there are a number of historical events
relating to the Nanticoke.

Which can explain why the numerals collected by Murray are dissimilar to the
 Nanticoke numerals collected by Father Pyrlaeus.
The word list collected by Murray can be found on line at

This list of words comes from a certain Mrs. Mulberry. Below is a comparison
 of the original Nanticoke numerals collected by J.C. Pyrlaeus, and the vocabulary
collected  by Murray .


If you make a perusal of the comparison of the Murray Nanticoke and

Lanape the numerals are just about the same.

Pyrlaeus collected the numerals in 1741, this was 50 years before Murray

collected  his vocabulary. By this time the Nanticoke had been separated.
They originally  They originally lived in Delaware See: map

By this time most Nanticoke had moved to Wyoming, Pennsylvania and even

 New York. Because the Nanticoke fought with the Bristish during the
 Revolutionary War, many were resettled in Canada. Mrs. Mulberry lived
 along the Choptank River. As a result , of the Revolutionary War and
 European encroachment of Nanticoke land the Nanticoke, had joined the
  Lenape tribe. It is obvious from this word list and numerals collected by
Murray by 1792, many Nanticoke were mainly speaking Lenape.
This would explain the similarity between the Murray Nanticoke numerals
and the Lenape numerals.

The Nanticoke numerals collected by Father Pyrlaeus indicate that Mande

speakers lived in the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware, and contributed to
the rise of the Nanticoke Nation. The Murray list of Nanticoke in no way
means that the Nanticoke did not originally speak a Mande languages.
It just shows that after 50 plus years of the Nanticoke living among the
Lenape, most of the Nanticoke were speaking Lenape instead of their native

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