Posted by: Dr. Y. | March 30, 2010

Alexander Pushkin, the Black father of Russian literature

Young Alexander Pushkin

Young Alexander Pushkin

Yes… that’s right! Alexander Pushkin, the father of modern Russian literature, was in reality Black.  His grandfather was actually an African slave, Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who later became a general to “Peter the Great”.  The regional origin of Gannibal is often contested as it is often said that he was born in 1696 in the village of “Lagon” in modern-day Eritrea (a statue of Pushkin was erected in Asmara in 2009), while others claim that he was from the Logone-Birni area in Cameroon (possibly from the Kotoko kingdom or the Kanem-Bornu Empire).  Interestingly enough, Alexander himself was very proud of his African ancestry.

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin

Just to give you a time frame, Pushkin lived from 1799 to 1837 in Russia, and even wrote a book about his grandfather entitled “Peter the Great’s Negro,” also known as “Blackamoor of Peter the Great.” He is considered to be the greatest Russian poet and pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems, plays, mixing both drama and romance. Alexander Pushkin introduced Russia to all the European literary genres. He brought natural speech and foreign influences to create modern poetic Russian. Even though he lived a short life, he left examples of nearly every literary genre of his day: lyric poetry, narrative poetry, the novel, the short story, the drama, the critical essay, and even the personal letter. He lived a life entirely based on his favorite quote: “Live by the pen, die by the sword.” He lived a very provocative life, and was a real playboy. He died in a duel.

Pushkin's monument in St Petersburg

Pushkin’s monument in St Petersburg

Monuments have been erected in Russia, in St Petersburg, Moscow, and schools do carry his name. PBS did a piece on Frontline, entitled Pushkin Genealogy. It is said that Leo Tolstoy‘s book’s character Anna Karenina is based on Pushkin’s daughter (Maria Gartung), whom Tolstoy described as being extremely beautiful and intelligent. Check out some of his books on Amazon: Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Boris Godunov, and others… Check out Wikipedia to learn more about the father of modern Russian literature.


  1. […] was Black! Yes… the great French writer was just like the Russian Father of modern literature Alexander Pushkin: Black! Yes… you can paint it all you want… he was of African descent: he was Black! […]

  2. Look out for my suriname blue blood is black blood museum, based on my research which states that the nobility and regent class elite in Europe was brown or black of complexion, with some showing classical African facial traits, like Pushkin. He was fourth generation African, yet looked very black and prognastic, because all other ancestors were brown or black. He painted his mother in law with a extreme black face.
    We need to reexamine what these people have written about Blacks and find out what our real history is.

    Egmond Codfried
    Curator Suriname Blue Blood Is Black Blood Museum

  3. he is a black in fact..but his grand father Hannibal is Ethiopian not Cameroonian!

    • Studies have proven that his Pushkin’s grandfather, Hannibal, was in fact from the northern region of Cameroon.

  4. I heard and read that his father was from the east African country Eritrea which was part of Ethiopia till 1991.

    • There has been some misunderstanding for years about it. But it has been proven that Alexander Pushkin’s father was actually from northern Cameroon.

    • Monument has been erected in the capital city Asmara,Eritrea

  5. No proof is from is cameroon the grandfather.
    Is Eritrean if anyone need proof we have!

    • Here’s a smart Eritrean dude from another forum explaining how and why Ethiopians and other Africans like cameroon always had claimed Abraham Hannibal, despite having no evidence!Most of the evidence places his origins in Ethiopia, in the area of present-day Eritrea. By Hannibal’s own account, he was the son of a prince of that region and was taken prisoner and enslaved as a result of war with the Turks.

      This is also why the Russian government stated he is of Eritrean in ancestry and built a statue of Pushkin and a museum of Abraham in Asmara, Eritrea. Abraham Hannibal’s son in law stated in an 18th century letter that Abraham was “Habesha”

      • Thank you Abdul for all the clarification. I will make the changes to show that Gannibal’s true origin (where he came from in Africa) is disputed. There is also the research by Dieudonne Gnammankou about Abram Gannibal’s Kotoko ancestry (Cameroonian).

  6. […] Amo in the 1700s, or General Gannibal the grandfather of the celebrated Russian poet Alexander Pushkin) in Europe! Imagine that! Africans were not just slaves, but noblemen, and much more! I simply love […]

  7. […] such as Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes, though ordinary Russians were frequently racist, despite the Black ancestry of Russia’s beloved national poet, Alexander Pushkin). The cartoon’s writer, Yuri […]

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