Ayuba-Suleiman-Diallo-007 Ayuba Suleiman Diallo also known as Job Ben Solomon was a Fulbe Muslim from the region of Senegal who was a victim of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Ayuba was born a son of a high priest of the Futa people in West Africa state of Bundu at the mouth of the Gambia River in 1701. In 1731 Ayuba father heard about English ships at the Gambia river Diallo father sent him with two other servants to sell two Negro slaves one of the servants was a boy named Loumein. Ayuba tried selling the two slaves to a Captain Pike but they could not agree on a price, so Ayuba sold the slaves for cows to another African Trader. Ironically while Ayuba and Loumein along with the other servant stopped at a friends hunt to rest before continuing their long journey home, while resting Ayuba and Loumein was captured by several Mandingoes (enemies of the Futa people), had their heads shaved to mask their high social status, Ayuba and Loumein was sold to Captain Pikes the man they tried selling to earlier. Ayuba was embarked on a slave vessel “Arabella” before the ship had a chance to sail off Ayuba subsequently convinced the English Captain Pike of his high status and explain that his father was well capable of paying for his release. Pike Granted Ayuba to find someone to send word to his father but since the messenger did not return in time Ayuba and Loumein was sent across the Atlantic to Annapolis, Maryland where he was purchase by Mr. Tolsey of Kent Island, Maryland. Ayuba was initially put to work in the tobacco fields however after doing that for a year he was found unsuitable for the tobacco fields, he was then placed in charge of the cattle. One day while Mr. Tolsey was out running errands Ayuba decided to make an escape in hopes to find the same ocean he cross and cross back over to Africa. Ayuba escape was unsuccessful he was capture with then hours and imprisoned at the Kent County Courthouse. It was there Ayuba was discovered by a lawyer, Rev. Thomas Bluett of the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, traveling through on business

The lawyer was very impressed by Ayuba’s ability to write in Arabic. Bluett writes the following:

“Upon our talking and making Signs to him, he wrote a line or two before us, and when he read it, pronounced the words Allah and Mahomed; by which, and his refusing a glass of wine we offered him, we perceived he was a Mahometan, but could not imagine in what Country he was, or how he got thither; for by his affable carriage, and the easy composure of his countenance, we could perceive he was no common slave.”

With this new knowledge Mr. Tolsey allowed Ayuba to write a letter in Arabic to Africa to send to his father. Eventually, the letter reached the office of James Oglethorpe, Director of the Royal African Company (The RAC was a mercantile company set up by the Stuart family and London merchants to trade along the west coast of Africa), After reading the letter Oglethorpe was moved with sentiment upon hearing the suffering Ayuba had endure and purchased Ayuba for 45 Euros.

Bluett and Ayuba traveled to England in 1733. During the travel Ayuba learned to communicate in English. Bluett left Ayuba with the Royal African Company and returned home. Without Bluett by his side Ayuba grew paranoid and fearing yet more trickery, he then contacted Bluett, Bluett then contacted the men looking after Ayuba and arranged Ayuba to stay in Cheshunt in Hertfordshire and Bluett and other sympathizers also paid fifty-nine pounds, six shillings, and eleven pence half-penny (simply to ease Ayuba’s anxiety). Englishmen in London surrounded the province just to meet Ayuba. Ayuba fraternize with London’s elite, obtained many gifts and friendships, while also being an service to Hans Sloane by help translating Arabic into English.

Ayuba was in the company of many prominent people, including the royal family and the Duke and Duchess of Montague which lead him to being inducted into the Gentleman’s Society of Spalding.

In 1734 Ayuba freely returned to Gambia and later returned to his homeland. Upon his return he learned that his father had died, and one of his wives presuming that Ayuba had perished remarried. His homeland was ravaged in war, but Ayuba was able to regain his old life.

In June 1734 Ayuba was imprisoned by the French, it was said Ayuba may have been targeted by the French because of his alliances with the British. He was imprisoned for a year, when Ayuba’s local countrymen rather then the British secured his release.

Ayuba later sent letters to London Royal African Company (RAC) to visit London but his request was denied every time.

Ayuba did press London for Loumien’s freedom. Due to Ayuba’s commitment and the help from Bluett, Loumien was eventually freed and returned to the Gambia region in 1738.

Ayuba death is unknown.


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