Gibril R. Cole

Gibril R. Cole is an associate professor of history at Louisiana State University.

Listed in: African Studies · Islam · History · Religion · African History

The Krio of West Africa · Islam, Culture, Creolization, and Colonialism in the Nineteenth Century
By Gibril R. Cole

Sierra Leone’s unique history, especially in the development and consolidation of British colonialism in West Africa, has made it an important site of historical investigation since the 1950s. Much of the scholarship produced in subsequent decades has focused on the “Krio,” descendants of freed slaves from the West Indies, North America, England, and other areas of West Africa, who settled Freetown, beginning in the late eighteenth century.

The Krio of West Africa: Islam, Culture, Creolization, and Colonialism in the Nineteenth Century, is an engaging history of Sierra Leone that departs from previous scholarship. Taking issue with those who have tended to describe the Krio as essentially a Christian and Westernized ‘ethnic group,’ [Cole] suggests that the Krio identity, forged in nineteenth-century Freetown, transcended ethnicity, culture, and even religion. Indeed, his study focuses not on Christians, but on the hitherto understudied Muslim Krios, a group he portrays as ‘marginalized within the marginalized’ … This informative book fills an important space on the shelves of Sierra Leonean history.”

American Historical Review