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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59 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.


Don’t let White People teach your History. It was Arabs and European Jews that sold black People House Of JUDAH- Negros. One of the 12 Tribes Of Israel.


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.

Hi. appreciate am commenting on this post nearly two years later but wanted to say a huge thanks to all contributors for the incredible, useful info provided! Have been researching our family history as a long term present for my father (now 83) whose father died when he was 4 (and mother when 8). Found out about a year in that my grandfather was in fact Kru and that my fathers early memories of his father being referred to as a ‘Krumen’ he had always assumed was due to the fact that his father served in the British Merchant Navy… Read more »

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… 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.

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 »

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

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.


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


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 »
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… Read more »
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

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.


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?


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.

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.

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.


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


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.

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,… 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!