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October 16, 2004

African Indians

Article on the Siddis, a South Asian people of African origin. It is well known that the Muslim rulers of India brought with them black African soldiers. The Indian Ocean trade also brought African slaves to the shores of South Asia. Most of these people were absorbed into the local populations, for example, in the Maldives the African element is not discernable as a separate group, though the locals show some evidence of admixture. The Siddis are exceptional in that they are a relatively pure "tribe" of African descent. Though most Siddis are Muslim, partially because of the insular nature of Hinduism but also because of their historical relationship with Islamic potentates, I have read that a small minority do practice Hinduism.

Posted by razib at 11:26 PM