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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Hamitic hypothesis: its origin and functions in time perspective
Author:Sanders, Edith R.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Africa
Subject:racial classification
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/179896
Abstract:The Hamitic hypothesis states that everything of value ever found in Africa was brought there by the Hamites, allegedly a branch of the Caucasian race. This hypothesis was preceded by an earlier theory, in the 16th century, that the Hamites were black savages, 'natural slaves' - and Negroes. This view, which persisted throughout the 18th century, served as a rationale for slavery, using Biblical interpretations in support of its tenets. The image of the Negro deteriorated in direct proportion to the growth of the importance of slavery, and it became imperative for the white man to exclude the Negro from the brotherhood of races. Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798 became the historical catalyst that provided the Western world with the impetus to turn the Hamite into a Caucasian. The Hamitic concept has as its function the portrayal of the Negro as an inherently inferior being and to rationalize his exploitation. In the final analysis it was possible because its changing aspects were supported by the prevailing intellectual viewpoints of the times. Ref.