The Gullah People
In the 15th and 16th centuries rice was in big demand in Europe. Rice was very expensive to import and White planters did not know how to cultivate it. Africans were cultivating rice for over 3,000 years. African slaves from the Sierra Leone region of Africa were very expensive because of their agricultural skills.
The Gullah people are directly descended from the slaves who lived and labored on the rice plantations in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia.
The Gullah were among the first Africans to arrive in America.
Rice was the first cash crop in America!
Because of tropical diseases that White planters were not immune to, Gullah slaves had little contact with their masters. Isolation and strong community life was how the Gullah people preserved more of their African cultural heritage than any other group of Black Americans.
The Gullah people are also famous for their foods, seasonings and recipes. Some of their recipes are over three thousand years old. Learn more about the Gullah People in A Slave Story.