Published on the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a short piece by Courtney A. Stewart, a senior research assistant in the Department of Islamic Art. The article talks about the influence that African’s had on an area of South-central India known locally as the Deccan. Some elevated themselves to become powerful rulers of large armies such as the most famous historical figure known as Malik Amber (1548–1626)). Captured as a slave in Ethiopia and sold in Bagdad, Iraq, where he converted to Islam and changed his name to that of an arabic one. He was bought by a chief minister of Ahmedabad, a large city located in present day Gujarat State. Following the death of his master he was freed and rose himself to the status of King. This is just one story, but many more exist on the Indian subcontinent showing the influence African’s had on India history.

To read more on this fascinating subject you can visit the museums website www.metmuseum.org

Sultan Muhammad ‘Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan Riding an Elephant (detail), ca. 1645. India, Deccan, Bijapur. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Lent by Howard Hodgkin

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