African Ethnicities and Their Origins

These contemporary African ethnic groups have contributed most to the black population of the U.S.

Posted:
 
slave20trade20595400
Getty Images

This is a companion piece to Tracing DNA Not Just to Africa but to 1 Tribe.

Advancements in DNA research have shed light on the multifaceted makeup and origins of today's African Americans. In fact, most of today's African-American population can trace their ancestry back to one of just 46 ethnic groups. Three large regions of Atlantic Africa were the major contributors to the slave trade: Upper Guinea, including the modern countries of Senegal, Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; Lower Guinea, including the southern portions of eastern Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; and West Central Africa, which encompassed mostly the western portions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

Here are the African tribes from which most of today's African Americans come.

Groups                                                             Location Today          

Wolof                                                               Senegal

Mandinka                                                         Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gambia,
                                                                        Ivory Coast, Niger, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau

Serer                                                                Senegal, Gambia

Fulbe/Fulani/Peulh/Fula                                  Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea,
                                                                         Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia,
                                                                         Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon 

Jola                                                                   Gambia, Guinea

Balanta                                                              Sierra Leone

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM