kru people

The Kru peo­ple are indige­nous to Liberia and the Ivory Coast. Kru were most known for sea­far­ing and their strong resis­tance to cap­ture by Euro­pean enslavers in the Transat­lantic slave trade. The Kru would fight vehe­ment­ly and even take their own lives before sur­ren­der­ing to enslave­ment. Because of their tenac­i­ty, they were labeled as dif­fi­cult and less valu­able in the slave trade.

Apart from their strength in resis­tance, the Kru were known for their abil­i­ty to effort­less­ly nav­i­gate the seas. Their skills in both canoe­ing and surf­ing the strong ocean cur­rents brought upon much recog­ni­tion which lat­er afford­ed them work on British mer­chant and war­ships in the 1700s. Cur­rent­ly the Kru account for 7% of the Liber­ian pop­u­la­tion.

kru women

kru people monrovia Kru_Woman


Are you famil­iar with the Kru peo­ple?

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57 Comments on "Kru People: The Africans Who Vigilantly Refused to Be Captured into Slavery"

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Jimmy K. Dahn

@Ronald T. Jones, the truth would be very incom­plete if we don’t men­tion the white slave traders were the spon­sors of most those trib­al wars.


[…] Kru Peo­ple: The Africans who vig­i­lant­ly refused to be cap­tured into Slav­ery. In the 16th and 17th cen­tu­ry, there a tripe pop­u­lar­ly know as the “Kuu­rung” by the slave […]

Ronald T. Jones

Africans also enslaved or sold war cap­tives into slav­ery. Many enslaved Africans in the Amer­i­c­as were POWs. These Africans pos­sessed mil­i­tary skill sets that they utylzed in slave upris­ings such as the Hait­ian Rev­o­lu­tion and numer­ous oth­er revolts through­out North and South Amer­i­ca.


It was Arabs that tried to cap­ture these peo­ple then sell them to The Span­ish.

Christina J

Good info. Thanks!


My ppl have endured so much, so much. I guess this is a teas­er for us to con­tin­ue research­ing but I would like BGLH to con­tin­ue plant­i­ng DNA seeds of info on the site. Very much appre­ci­at­ed.


Yeah, two of the pho­tos aren’t of Kru peo­ple and the first pho­to is Kplio peo­ple, they are relat­ed to the Kru but aren’t Kru they are Gre­bo, being that they are from Bar­clayville and Wed­ja. The area that is high­light­ed in pink with­in Grand Kru coun­ty. Then the top­less woman where it says “Kru woman” is actu­al­ly a Krahn woman. The Krahn tribe is part of the Kru lan­guage fam­i­ly and some Krahn groups iden­ti­fy them­selves as Kru, but they are Krahn. Hope­ful­ly I can help the author sort this out.


I agree, this is so beau­ti­ful. I love black peo­ple.

Staci Elle

? explain this state­ment please.


I like when white peo­ple scream “black peo­ple enslaved each oth­er!”.
We shall talk about how white peo­ple enslaved their own people?Yes, Irish and Scot­tish peo­ple were sold into slav­ery! The white Amer­i­can slave mas­ters had both blacks and whites enslaved on their plan­ta­tions! The Amer­i­cans and British hat­ed the Irish and Scot­tish, but these white racists didn’t write in their racist books because they want show the world to being a faith­ful and peace­ful with their own race!


African peo­ple sold those who were about to be put to death and con­sid­ered Un-African for crimes such as mur­der and rape. Instead their lives were spared and sold to white men. They lat­er came back with those men (now slave sol­diers) after acquir­ing a small army to then enslave any­one else they could get their hands on. And then there were those who were tricked, like our first video vix­en Sara Baart­man.


Inter­est­ing. Thanks

Halim Mustafa Al-Kanemi

The word, “slav­ery’ comes from the word “slav”- white folks! If you look fur­ther back into antiq­ui­ty and even dur­ing the time they were tak­ing us cap­tive, whites were OUR slaves! In the Qur’anic dic­tio­nary, the word for “Black” is “Aswad.” Aswad is asso­ci­at­ed with “Lord” “Mas­ter” “Greater” “Chief. The word “Tama” in the Ara­bic dic­tio­nary means “to enslaved” it is sim­i­lar to the Khamitic word, “Tamahu” which were used for white peo­ple who were gen­er­al­ly enslaved to them. Tamahu lit­er­al­ly means, “an enslaved per­son”


Thanks for info. There’s a reg­gae band from Britain called Aswad so I am aware of the mean­ing. An enslaved per­son is so much bet­ter than call­ing some­one a slave. Slavs are from Slo­va­kia, they didn’t turn out to be very fruit­ful work­ers.

Phil Fixico

Semi­nole Maroons are descen­dants of Gullah/Geechee Pio­neers or those who escaped U.S.and Colo­nial Slav­ery by reach­ing the asy­lum of Span­ish Flori­da where they became Black Semi­noles. We Descen­dants are taught that many of our Ances­tors came from Sier­ra Leone.


You mean Black Semi­noles are told they are descen­dants of peo­ple from Sier­ra Leone or just black peo­ple from Amer­i­ca in gen­er­al?

Phil Fixico
There is much evi­dence that Sier­ra Leone among oth­er places in Africa con­tributed many enslaved peo­ple to the Car­oli­nas . There they became Gul­lah-Geechees, they were tak­en from the Rice Coast of Africa and sent to the Car­oli­nas specif­i­cal­ly for their rice grow­ing skills. Gul­lah-Geechee Pio­neers who escaped into the asy­lum of Span­ish Flori­da, where they, through a process of ethno­gen­e­sis they became Black Semi­noles. Schol­ars such as Dr. Ian Han­cock and Dr. Joseph Opala have stud­ied this line of think­ing based on Lin­guis­tics. it appears that the African-Semi­nole Cre­ole lan­guage used by some Black Semi­nole, who trav­elled through the… Read more »

@disqus_ABxi3ae2W1:disqus Bété, Guéré, Dida peo­ple etc are from the kru eth­nic group. There are vis­i­ble almost every­where in Ivory Coast. One of them used to be a

Babalawo Sangodare Ifasina
Babalawo Sangodare Ifasina
Greetings,I am a KRU,and many of WE Kru are known as the GULLAH or GEETCHIE folk in South Carolina,and Geor­gia sea­port com­mu­ni­ties. FELICIA RASHAD of the COSBY’S is a KRU,and so is host­ess ROBIN of GOOD MORNING AMERICA show. The KRU orig­i­nal­ly migrat­ed from MOZAMBIQUE over 2000 years ago. The BETE (IVORY COAST),and BASSA(LIBERIA) are our sib­lings. Descen­dants of these three can be found in CAMEROON,and NIGERIA,and a few oth­er coun­tries by the same name. I give thanks to Mr. Fran­cis Jack­son Sey­on of Los Ange­les California,a KRU elder well over 80 years old for all that he has taught me,a… Read more »

See now this is very inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion that I’d nev­er heard before about Rashad and the fact that the Geechie are Kru. I love all of your com­ments from my beau­ti­ful black peo­ple, I love you guys.

Steve Biko

Yup, BGLH should write a piece about our great ances­tor Nzin­ga of Matam­ba, she fought the Por­tuguese in cur­rent day Ango­la, out­law­ing slav­ery in her king­dom. She also fought oth­er eth­nic groups/kingdoms who were unfor­tu­nate to be entrapped in the slave-“trade”. She was a mas­ter war­rior, high­ly skilled in com­bat (they call it Capoeira in Brazil, we how­ev­er call it Kipu­ra Ngo­lo) and a bril­liant tac­ti­cian & strate­gist. She was one of the great­est, if not THE great­est lead­ers Africa has ever had.


< — named after her! ^_^

Joseph Harris

the sslavers try­ing to cap­ture them weren’t Euro­peans. They were oth­er Africans :the Oyo empire (Yoru­ba), Kong Empire, King­dom of Benin, Ima­mate of Futa Jal­lon, Ima­mate of Futa Toro, King­dom of Koya, King­dom of Khas­so, King­dom of Kaabu, Fante Con­fed­er­a­cy, Ashan­ti Con­fed­er­a­cy, Aro Con­fed­er­a­cy and the king­dom of Dahomey. Accord­ing to Wikipedia (this arti­cle is prac­ti­cal­ly a word for word copy of the arti­cle on the Kru, with the same pho­tos) the Euro­peans were afraid to go into the African inte­ri­or, so they bought slaves from the Africans liv­ing on the coast.

Staci Elle

I love the yts com­ing in here with their “help­ful infor­ma­tion” because we’re rejoic­ing in our her­itage. Piti­ful and sad they will stay.

Realest Negus Living
You can give all the half-a*sed excus­es you want but the fact of the mat­ter is the Euro­pean slave traders were the biggest mar­ket for these Africans. The Euro­peans cre­at­ed a mar­ket for over 6 mil­lion human beings, slav­ery on a scale unimag­in­able in their absence. Do not try and absolve the slave traders for their actions. Sim­i­lar­ly, the drug trade in South Amer­i­ca large­ly only exists because of the mar­ket for the illic­it drugs. Did the Euro­peans receive a phone call from the Dahomey inform­ing them they had slaves in abun­dance? Or per­haps they saw a Craigslist ad for… Read more »
Michael King Tutt

Africans did adver­tise and offer slaves to trav­el­ing mer­chants who were in search of oth­ers gods to trade and they passed the word as they trav­eled. That’s how the slave routes, mid­dle pas­sage was formed

Keep telling your­self those lies! You come from a blood­line of mur­der­ers, pil­lagers and slavers. Who did not have even the basic decen­cy of valu­ing the lives of oth­ers dif­fer­ent from them.  You are ashamed of it (even though I’m very sure you find it hard to admit that to your­self) This is why you try to blame the vic­tims for the evil per­pet­u­at­ed by igno­rant and sub-human Euro­peans. Next thing you will say that the Africans built the ships and hand deliv­ered fel­low Africans to the Amer­i­c­as, Europe and Mid­dle-East and that is how White peo­ple got involved in the… Read more »

Why do peo­ple (white peo­ple) even think that this mat­ters?
White peo­ple enslaved PLENTY of Africans along with buy­ing them from oth­er Africans.
If you get caught smok­ing crack who the heck cares who sold it to you?
White peo­ple bought and sold Africans as slaves for 400 years. Your ances­tors where racist slavers bent on the oppres­sion of a sin­gle race.
Deal with it.

Michael King Tutt
Slav­ery is mil­lions of years old. So are the sav­age prac­tices and men­tal abuse. The cau­cus Asians were born less t than 10,000 years ago. You do the math for your­self.. I’ve stud­ied and taught in this field world wide for over 2 & 1/2 decades.The Scot­tish and Irish most­ly (moor than 95% ) were inden­tured ser­vants not slaves. They were giv­en boost rides to set­tle in Amer­i­ca and worked to pay off the debt. Seg­re­ga­tion even exist­ed BEFORE cau­cus Asians. Chil­dren born albi­no, light skin, or had light birth marks were cast out or killed. Adults were treat­ed the… Read more »

I see what you’re try­ing to do. Com­plete bull­shit though. Typ­i­cal of divide and rule tac­tics.

Just like bib­li­cal folks, yes Africans had slaves. That’s a fact. Slav­ery exist­ed through­out the world dur­ing those days. Pris­on­ers of war, crim­i­nals and delin­quent debtors were often made slaves. Yet, slav­ery in Africa and the European/Arab form of slav­ery were entire­ly two dif­fer­ent things.  African slav­ery was more like the ward sys­tem where some­one works for you, you feed them and pro­vide their needs while treat­ing them humane­ly. It has been report­ed that some slaves in Africa actu­al­ly had their own slaves. Slaves were still con­sid­ered human. They were still part of the soci­ety. White/Arabic folks prac­ticed chat­tel slav­ery,… Read more »

Not sure how true it is but the word Slavery/slave was nev­er in any African vocab so going by this it is pure­ly a European/Arab cre­ation. I have heard about the ward sys­tem though.


Stop spread­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion. Are you real­ly quot­ing Wikipedia? The Kru were not sold by oth­er African tribes. The Kru secured immu­ni­ty from Euro­pean slavers by agree­ing to help them secure slaves from inland tribes that they were war­ring with.


The Kru and Relat­ed Peo­ples, West Africa. Part I
Esu Biyi
Jour­nal of the Roy­al African Soci­ety
Vol. 29, No. 113 (Oct., 1929), pp. 71–77

Steve Biko

Not cor­rect, and many of those eth­nic groups you men­tioned don’t live any­where close to the Kru. And it is a com­plete MYTH that Euro­peans were afraid to go into the inte­ri­or, some­how you con­ve­nient­ly for­got that they col­o­nized the very coun­tries they had kid­napped Africans from, a feat which required them to actu­al­ly have their mil­i­tary ven­ture “all over the place” in order for them to sub­due the Africans. But you’re going to have us believe that only 40 some years ear­li­er, they were “afraid” to go inland? You’ve got to do a LOT bet­ter than that.

Ronald T. Jones
Actu­al­ly, Euro­peans rarely ven­tured into the inte­ri­or because of two fac­tors: dis­ease and the pow­er of the African king­doms and empires that exist­ed across the con­ti­nent. In areas where Euro­peans active­ly sought to sub­due Africans pri­or to the 19th cen­tu­ry, their efforts were fail­ures. The Por­tuguese tried to con­quer the Kon­go king­dom in the 17th but failed, suf­fer­ing a crush­ing defeat in a major bat­tle in the process. They tried to con­quer Mono­mat­a­pa but failed and were either mas­sa­cred or forced to flee the onslaught of oth­er pow­er­ful African states in the region. Euro­pean advance­ments in med­i­cine (qui­nine to treat… Read more »

Yes I have! I’m Liber­ian and my mom is Kru and Bas­sa


It is my under­stand­ing that Liberia was found­ed by African-Amer­i­can slaves over a hun­dred years ago and the cur­rent pres­i­dent is an Amer­i­can ex-pat. I under­stand that any per­son of African descent is wel­come to move to Liberia. Are you aware of that fact?


Why do you refer to those who went to Liberia as slaves if slav­ery by then was what they had us believe abol­ished. it’s dehu­man­is­ing to refer to any­one as a slave. You don’t get that sta­tus by birth. Euro­peans went into Africa kid­napped, forcibly removed the natives from their land and once they were on North Amer­i­can, South Amer­i­can, Cen­tral Amer­i­can and Caribbean soil got the peo­ple work­ing for noth­ing under despi­ca­ble con­di­tions mak­ing Amer­i­ca and many Euro­pean nations very wealthy. We were sim­ply kid­napped peo­ple.

Steve Biko

That’s not entire­ly true. There were obvi­ous­ly peo­ple there, liv­ing as a nation(s)/kingdom(s) when Amer­i­can-Africans returned from North-Amer­i­ca to the place which would become Lib­era (what a sil­ly name btw). It’s not as if it were unin­hab­it­ed before that.


It’s “Liberia” (means land of the free in Latin — you know that sil­ly lil lan­guage.

Staci Elle

“Lib­era (what a sil­ly name btw)”

Sil­ly to you and who cares what you think about a land that actu­al­ly wel­comes Black peo­ple.


I don’t know if it’s any per­son of Africa descent. How­ev­er, I know that black Amer­i­cans are wel­come to move to there, as the coun­try was found­ed by African Amer­i­cans that once lived in Mass­a­chu­setts.

A bunch of my rel­a­tives and oth­er promi­nent kru fam­i­lies migrat­ed to Ghana I would think in the ear­ly 1900s due to strife in Liberia and lived in Ghana for decades. In fact, my grand­moth­er and her sib­lings, my grand­fa­ther, and my par­ents all lived in Ghana at some point in time. There was a huge migra­tion back to Liberia between the 50s and 60s.  As far as Ivory Coast, one of my friends, who migrat­ed to Ivory Coast dur­ing the Liber­ian civ­il war, told me of the kru com­mu­ni­ties he even­tu­al­ly found there. They’re not called Kru of course, they… Read more »

I’m actu­al­ly a bit offend­ed by this. The title of this arti­cle sug­gests that the oth­er African tribes enslaved didn’t fight hard against the Euro­peans. They did!

Amma Mama

Nev­er heard of them. Thanks for shar­ing, very edu­ca­tion­al.

This is great Black His­to­ry that more peo­ple should know about.


I am ivo­rian and even in ivory coast they are not real­ly seen.


I wan­na find MY people.…my tribe #buck­etlist

Sabrina black

I read about that on Google + by blacks who build their own fol­low­ing on there. I find that very inter­est­ing and hero­ic. This should be dis­cussed. This is his­to­ry.

Miss Elisa K.

This is my father’s fam­i­ly is from the tribe. This was inter­est­ing to learn. Roots run deep and even stretch through your char­ac­ter, over the seas, all the way in 2015.


Fun­ny how I was just ran­dom­ly read­ing this and I thought of our con­vo yes­ter­day. I was about to tag you until I saw your post here. Lol.

Staci Elle

Orig­i­nal ganstas.




The Love of Lib­er­ty MET us here, BROUGHT oth­ers here and will even­tu­al­ly TAKE most Dias­po­ran Liberi­ans back! We just need to get our shit togeth­er.

R LongPig

Dat’s right! Some peo­ple seem to think all Africans just went meek­ly and gen­tly like cows into slav­ery. No, the same fight­ing spir­it that keeps black peo­ple going today in the face of adversity…started from some­where. We are the descen­dants of the strong! The ones who fought and LIVED!


Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the his­to­ry which the Euro­peans taught us is a taint­ed one. There were many who fought against their wicked­ness yet you won’t find that in their books the ones they give us in schools to read. The Maroons are anoth­er exam­ple who were able, once they were tak­en to Jamaica, to escape and avoid­ed being enslaved.

Elle P.

Wow this is incred­i­ble. I love learn­ing about our cul­tures! Keep them com­ing!