Africa had long been the source of slaves dating back centuries. The Egyptians and Romans are but two of the earlier civilizations to utilize slaves from Africa.
The first slave ship arrived in Louisiana in 1719, with a handful of Africans.
African slaves were a perfect choice, with specific skills in growing rice and ingidgo and experienced with cultivating swampland. They came mainly from the Senegambia region of Africa.
In 1726 the census recorded over 2,200 whites and 1,300 black slaves in Louisiana. By 1745 the number of slaves had risen to four and a half thousand, outnumbering the white population.
For many years the local indigenous people were also kept as slaves and the two cultures formed an alliance and some relationships here contributed to the first Creole generation.
The Africans were strong, able-bodied men and women taken brutally from their families, ripped away from a peaceful village life and thrust into unfamiliar surroundings with often hostile traders and masters.
Apart from those bound in slavery, there were many free men of color, mainly living in the New Orleans area. Most of these were scholars, business men and even slave owners.
It was only towards the end of the last century that they have truly gained their freedom, although education and prosperity still eludes many.
Although the Africans may have less than a handful of world famous Louisiana citizens, they have contributed more than most towards the prosperity of the state. They fought alongside Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans and in many foreign wars over the years.