Gullah/Geechee, African-American Group Known as a “Nation Within a Nation”

Written by Jae Jones

The Nation exist from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL. These African-American people are considered a “nation within a nation” from the time of enslavement in the United States until they officially became an internationally recognized nation on July 2, 2000. The ’s are descendants of enslaved Africans who live in the Lowcountry region of the United States. The language they speak is called Geechee, which many scholars speculated was related to the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia. The name “Gullah” derived from Angola some believed.


Because of a period of relative isolation in rural areas, the Gullah developed a culture that has preserved much of their African linguistic and cultural heritage from various peoples, as well as absorbing new influences from the region. They speak an English-based creole language containing many African loanwords and influenced by African languages in grammar and sentence structure.

The Gullah people have been able to preserve much of their African cultural heritage because of geography, climate, and patterns of importation of enslaved Africans. Taken from the Western region of Africa in primarily the Krio and Mende populations of what is today Sierra Leone as slaves and transported to some areas of Brazil (including Bahia), the enslaved Gullah-Gheechee people were traded in what was then Charlestowne, South Carolina. According to British historian P.E.H. Hair, Gullah culture was formed as a creole culture in the colonies and United States from elements of many different African cultures who came together there. Gullah culture has proven to be particularly resilient. Gullah traditions are strong in the rural areas of the Lowcountry mainland and on the Sea Islands, and among their people in urban areas such as Charleston and Savannah. (read more)





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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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