Sunday 28 May 2017

Negroid Russian: General Abraham Hannibal

General Abraham Hannibal was born in 1670 in Eritrea, East Africa. As a young child he was stolen from his parents and sold in to slavery. He ended up in Turkey.
General Abraham Hannibal or Gannibal
In parts of Europe the fate for black people was much kinder than that of the millions who were sold into the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as the story of Abraham Hannibal shows.

Abraham was taken to Russia where Tsar Peter (Peter the Great) and his wife Christina Queen of Poland adopted him.When Abraham was a young man, his biological parents found him and told him his real name was Ibrahim Hannibal and he was a descendent of the Carthaginian Empire. Alike his namesake Hannibal, the great African military genius who lived around 200 BC, Abraham also became a military genius.

Tsar Peter sent Abraham to France to learn mathematics and engineering from the highest education institutes. During Abraham's studies, war broke out between France and Spain and in 1718, he joined the French army to gain access to the best military engineering program and was captured by the Spanish army. He was released in 1722 and promoted to lieutenant and continued to study mathematics and engineering in France for anther year. he returned to Russia the following year and his advanced training enabled him to apply and successfully acquire posts first as an engineer and than as a mathematics tutor for one of the Tsar's private guard units.
Coin of Russian Tsar Peter the Great
Abraham was sent to Siberia for three years to complete an engineering project. During this time he built a fortress and led several construction projects where he became a master engineer. he completed his service in Siberia in 1733 and returned to the court in 1741. Abraham had 11 children, most of whom became members of the Russian royalty, he was the great grandfather to one of Russia's great men, Alexander Pushkin the poet and father of modern Russian literature.

In 1704, after one year in Constantinople, Gannibal was ransomed and taken to the Russian capital by the deputy of the Russian ambassador Sava Vladislavich-Raguzinsky, on orders of his superiors (one of whom was Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy, great-grandfather of the celebrated writer Leo Tolstoy), and was presented to Peter the Great.
The Emperor is noted to have taken a liking to the boy’s intelligence and potential for military service, and brought the child into his household.

Abram had a close relationship with Peter, and starting at a young age the boy Abram would travel alongside the emperor during his military campaigns. During these military journeys, Abram served as his godfather’s valet. Abram valued his relationship with his godfather, as well as that with Peter’s daughter (Elizabeth), and was loyal to them as if they were family.

Gannibal was baptised in 1705, in St. Paraskeva Church in Vilnius, with Peter as his godfather. The date of Gannibal’s baptism held personal significance. He used that date as his birthday because he did not know his actual date of birth. In an official document that Gannibal submitted in 1742 to Empress Elizabeth, while petitioning for the rank of nobility and a coat of arms, he asked for the right to use a family crest emblazoned with an elephant and the mysterious word "FVMMO", which means "homeland" in the Kotoko language. In his book, Gannibal: The Moor of Petersburg, Hugh Barnes writes of meeting with the sultan of Logone-Birni, who gave him the same translation of the word.

However, Frances Somers-Cocks, author of The Moor of St Petersburg: In the Footsteps of a Black Russian, met the same sultan and received a different translation for FVMMO.
General Hannibal Coat of  Arms
She also suggested that FVMMO stands for the Latin expression Fortuna Vitam Meam Mutavit Omnino which means "Fortune has changed my life entirely."

In 1717, Gannibal was taken to Metz to continue an education in the arts, sciences and warfare. By then he was fluent in several languages and excelled in mathematics and geometry. In 1718 Gannibal joined the French Army with hopes of pleasing his godfather by expanding his military engineering education.

Gannibal enrolled in the royal artillery academy at La Fère in 1720, and he fought for France against Spain in the War of the Quadruple Alliance. rising to the rank of captain. It was during his time in France that Gannibal adopted his surname in honour of the Carthaginian general Hannibal (Gannibal being the traditional transliteration of the name in Russian). While fighting in the French war against Spain, Gannibal received a head injury.

Gannibal returned to Metz to further his education at a new artillery school. In Paris he met and befriended such Enlightenment figures as the Baron de Montesquieu and Voltaire (this claim by his biographer Hugh Barnes is disputed by reviewer Andrew Kahn). Voltaire called Gannibal the "dark star of the Enlightenment".

In 1723 Gannibal returned to Russia to fill a post as a military engineer.
Ivan Hannibal II
Gannibal's education was completed by 1722 and he was due to return to Russia. After the death of Peter in 1725, Prince Menshikov gained power in Russia due to his good standing with Peter. However, Menshikov was not fond of Abram and was suspicious of his foreign origins and superior education.

Gannibal was exiled to Siberia in 1727, some 4,000 miles to the east of Saint Petersburg. He was pardoned in 1730 because of his skills in military engineering. After Peter's daughter Elizabeth became the new monarch in 1741, Gannibal became a prominent member of her court, rose to the rank of major-general, and became superintendent of Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia), a position he held from 1742 to 1752.

A letter signed on 22 March 1744 by "A. Ganibal" (note only one 'n') is held at the Tallinn City Archives. In 1742, the Empress Elizabeth gave him the Mikhailovskoye estate in Pskov province with hundreds of serfs. He retired to this estate in 1762.

Gannibal married twice. His first wife was Evdokia Dioper, a Greek woman. The couple married in 1731. Dioper despised her husband, whom she was forced to marry. The marriage between Dioper and Gannibal was very volatile and he suspected her of infidelity early in their marriage. Gannibal’s suspicions were confirmed when Dioper gave birth to a white daughter.

When Gannibal found out that she had been unfaithful to him, he had her arrested and thrown into prison, where she spent eleven years. Gannibal began living with another woman, Christina Regina Siöberg (1705–81), daughter of Mattias Johan Siöberg and wife Christina Elisabeth d'Albedyll.
Aleksandr Pushkin
 And married her bigamously in Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia), in 1736, a year after the birth of their first child and while he was still lawfully married to his first wife.

His divorce from Dioper did not become final until 1753, upon which a fine and a penance were imposed on Gannibal, and Dioper was sent to a convent for the rest of her life. Gannibal's second marriage was nevertheless deemed lawful after his divorce.

Gannibal’s second marriage to Christina was much happier and he appreciated her fidelity and affection towards him. On her paternal side, Gannibal’s second wife was descended from noble families in Scandinavia and Germany: Siöberg (Sweden), Galtung (Norway) and Grabow (Denmark and Brandenburg).

Her paternal grandfather was Gustaf Siöberg, Rittmester til Estrup, who died in 1694, whose wife Clara Maria Lauritzdatter Galtung (ca. 1651–98) was the daughter of Lauritz Lauritzson Galtung (ca. 1615–61) and of Barbara Grabow til Pederstrup (1631–96).

Abram Gannibal and Christine Regina Siöberg had ten children, including a son, Osip. Osip in turn would have a daughter, Nadezhda, the mother of Aleksandr Pushkin. Gannibal's oldest son, Ivan, became an accomplished naval officer who helped found the city of Kherson in 1779 and attained the rank of General-in-Chief, the second highest military rank in imperial Russia.

Some British aristocrats descend from Gannibal, including Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster and her sister, Alexandra Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn. George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is also a direct descendant, as the grandson of Nadejda Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven. Aberaham died around 1761 AD.
To be continued.

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