For those of us who have interests in history, you might have come across the name Carthage in their history books back in the day. Well, Carthage was a great African city of antiquity on the north coast of the continent. It’s now a residential suburb located in Tunis, the Tunisian capital.
We make bold to say that Carthage was originally Black. We say this because, in the course of historical research and accounting, many Euro-centric historians have maliciously attempted to write off the achievements of ancient Black people and credit them to Europeans or other (fabricated) races such as the scientific classification called “Semitic”.
This article is a detailed account of the history of the original Black people of Carthage, and how they became mixed to become the later race before Rome wiped out their contributions to Black heritage.
The original Black Carthaginians were among the first African people who reached Greece and educated the Greek, thereby bringing Europe into history through their writing. It was they who built the magnificent civilization of ancient Tunisia, which dominated the West Mediterranean. It is to be noted that Hannibal the great was a “dark/black” man from Carthage, and it was he who ruled Spain and almost ended the Roman empire.
The Carthaginians themselves told us where they were from, according to some of the surviving text, and accounts from European historians and writers.
They were from Djahi (later called Phoenicia). At the beginning of the 20th century, a sarcophagus which contained skeletons of ancient Carthaginians were removed and analyzed.
The finding and conclusions of the anthropologists involved prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the ancient Carthaginians were indeed dark (Black) people. The anthropologists who carried out the analysis were Eugene Pittard (Switzerland), Stephane Gsell (French), Lucien Bertholon, and Ernest Chantre.
According to the antique texts of Ras Shamra, the Carthaginians who descended from the African people of Djahi (Phoenicians), occupied the very frontiers of Egypt. The Carthaginians copied their religion from the Gods of the Egyptian pantheon.
The people of Carthage, who are today referred to as Phoenicians are the ones who civilized Europe and introduced writing to Greece around 2786 of the African era. The people of Djahi (Phoenicians) founded Carthage around 2800 years ago.
In his report on the skulls analyzed, Lucien Bertholon (1854-1914), the founder of the Institute of Carthage, said that 100% of the skulls had short faces or what is called dolichocephalism in anthropology. Adding to his report, the director of the museum of Alger, said that “several skulls, collected in the cemeteries presents “Negroid features.”
The highlight of the research on the remains of the people from Carthage was the report by Pittard about the great Priestess of Tanit. History and anthropology place her as one of the highest-ranking officials of Carthage at her time. Pittard reported that “Those who, during these last years have visited the Museum of Lavigerie in Carthage, remember this magnificent sarcophagus of the Priestess of Tanit, discovered by professor Delatre. This sarcophagus, which is the most adorned, the most artistic, among all that have been discovered, and which external image probably represents the goddess herself, must have been the sepulcher of a very high religious person. Yet the woman who was buried in it presented Negroid features. She was of African race.”
In conclusion of the analysis of the ancient people of Carthage, Stephane Gsell, puts forward the following: “The anthropologic examination of the skeletons found in tombs in Carthage proves that there is no racial or ethnic unity… the called Semitic type, characterized by long, perfectly ovale face, the thin aquiline nose […] has not been found in Carthage. On the other hand, another cranial form, with a fairly short face, prominent parietal bumps, farther forward (prognathism) […] is common in Lebanese burial grounds and in those of the new Tyre (match with the negroid Phoenicians in their main settlement in Lebanon)… most of the Punic population in Carthage had African and even Negro ancestors'.
When the genealogy of the dark (Black) of North Africa is traced, we find that they are descended from the Great Lakes and Southern Africa, which leads to the Sudanese and Egyptians, and then moves further down to the Canaanites (Phoenicians), and then from the Phoenicians came the Carthaginians. All of the peoples mentioned here were black people. The Carthaginians would later become mixed people when they mixed with Europeans after they had conquered and ruled Spain.
A Historical Account By Carthage’s European Neighbors
According to documented history, it was founded by the Phoenicians of Djahi around the year 814 BC and the Phoenician name means ‘new town. Currently, the archaeological site where this historical city once stood is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, added in 1979.
Historically, Carthage may have not been the earliest Phoenician settlement, as it’s likely Utica may have come before it by at least 50 years. Numerous accounts as regards its founding was discussed among the Greek, who named it Karchedon. However, the roman account is well known, in part, because of the Aeneid, which describes the city’s foundation by the Tyrian princess Dido in greater detail. She fled from her brother Pygmalion, which incidentally is the name of an ancient king of Tyre.
The early inhabitants of Carthage were described as Poeni by the Romans, which is a derivation from the world Phoenikes or Phoenicians, from which the adjective Punic is derived. It’s likely the exact date of the founding of Carthage was wildly exaggerated by the Carthaginians since it does not tally with archaeological findings. There has been nothing earlier than the last quarter of the 8th century BC discovered, which is a full century after the traditional founding date.
With great care and precision, the Phoenicians picked the locations of their maritime settlements, paying attention to the quality of the harbors and their closeness to trade routes. This explains the site chosen for Carthage, which was in the center of the shore of the Gulf of Tunis. This city was built on a triangular peninsula, hemmed in by low hills and bathe by the Lake of Tunis with its safe anchorage and plenteous fish resources.
This location was ideal, offering easy access to the Mediterranean, but still shielded from the many tropical storms that pass through the area yearly. Also, the location of the city of Carthage also was well protected and fortified, with its closeness to the Strait of Sicily placing it at a strategic bottleneck in east-west Mediterranean trade routes.
Although the city of Punic’s wealth was well-known, the standard of life culturally was likely not on par with those of other larger cities of the Ancient World. The city’s interests were attuned to commerce and industry, rather than art. Thus, Carthage controlled a large chunk of the trade-in luxury purple dye from the murex shell.
Debates about the non-existence of Punic literature are largely baseless; when the Romans invaded and destroyed the city, the libraries of Carthage were either taken over by Numidian kings or didn’t survive the fiery destruction. However, one well-known exception was the works of the Carthaginian author, Mago. His 28 books on agriculture were later translated into Greek by Cassius Dionysius and were later cited by Romans such as Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella.
In 122 BC, Gaius Gracchus and Marcus Fulvius were entrusted by the Roman Senate with the foundation of a settlement or colony on the site of the city of Carthage. Altogether the endeavor was a largely unsuccessful one, Julius Caesar was to later send a number of landless citizens there. In 29 BC, Augustus located the administration of the Roman province of Africa at the same site.
After its annexation and capture by the Arabs in 7995, the city of Carthage was soon eclipsed by the newly built town of Tunis. Today, although the city of Carthage was destroyed, much of its remains could still be found, including the many fornications, and aqueduct.
Archaeological Proof Of The Blackness And Glory Of Carthage
During the invasion of Africa by Romans and later by the Arabs, thousands of sculptures and artifacts belonging to ancient African civilizations were carted away and on some occasions destroyed.
The sculptures and texts that remain from the civilization of ancient Carthage, prove to all in doubt that they were indeed Black people, and were highly placed people at that time.
Many of the sculptures on display in the collections of the University Of Oxford, were discovered or kept in the former colonies of Carthage, which are Italy, Greece, Spain, and also some left in Carthage.