Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Sarah Forbes Bonetta was popularly known as the "African Princess."
Sarah was born 'Aina' in 1843, a princess of the Egbado clan of the Yoruba people born at Oke-Odan, an Egbado village in what is now southwest Nigeria.

Sarah Bonetta’s village of Okeadan was attacked by King Gezo of Dahomey, the most notorious slave trading monarch in West Africa in the early 19th century. In this 1847 attack, her parents and siblings were all killed and Gezo’s men seized the four year old Sarah. She remained captive at Gezo’s Court until 1849 when the British Navy Commander, Captain Frederick Forbes’s, landed the HMS Bonetta in Dahomey on a mission to persuade Gezo to give up slave raiding and trading.

Captain Forbes noticed the young princess, marked for execution and bargained for her life. He persuaded King Gezo to “give” her to Queen Victoria, by saying “She would be a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites.”

The girl remained with Forbes in West Africa for the next year where she was baptized and given the name Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Bonetta for the British Navy ship. Of Sarah, Captain Forbes wrote that “She is a perfect genius; she now speaks English well, and [has] great talent for music… She is far in advance of any white child her age in aptness of learning, and strength of mind and affection.…”   

Sarah Forbes Bonetta was taken to Great Britain, where she met Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on November 9th, 1850. The Queen was so impressed by her intellect, she declared Sarah her goddaughter, and paid her tutorial expenses.

In January 1862, Sarah was attendence at the royal wedding of the princess royale, Victoria.
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I am Eartha Watts Hicks, author of Love Changes.


1 comment:

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