Africans were all over the world in the Middle Ages and India was no exception. Although some of them were enslaved by the Indians, others were officers in the army and leaders of a variety of kingdoms across the sub-continent.
Historical records show that India has a rich African past, starting off with the eastward slave trade that saw the transportation of many African slaves to the Middle East and eventually India. However, unlike the total subjugation of enslaved Africans in the Americas, the enslaved Africans in India had been brought in as military power.
Not only were they considered expensive people who kept important political secrets for their masters, they were also considered such close friends of the rulers even given some of the tough tasks because of their loyalty. Referred to as Siddis or Habshis, they eventually took over power and ruled over sultanates in different times over the centuries.
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Scroll through to read more about the African rulers in India.