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Sat, 06.06.1750

The Afro Swedish (Black Swede) Community, a story

*The Afro Swedish community is celebrated on this date, in 1750, National Day in Sweden. African Suedes include naturalized citizens and residents of Sweden who were born in Africa. As of 2018, 219,914 people in Sweden were born in Africa. African immigrants have been living in Sweden since the 17th century but in very few numbers. In 1900, there were 79 Africans in Sweden, of which 5, all South Africans, were citizens.

One of the early documented Africans in Sweden was Gustav Badin, a Black court-servant and diarist, originally a slave, butler of Queen of Sweden, Louisa Ulrika, and later Princess Sophia Albertine of Sweden. Badin was not the only African swede during the 18th century. There were blacks in the royal regiments, one of them was the trumpeter Richard Abramsson who was born in the US. Most of the descendants of the African servants faced poverty in Sweden. 

In the 1880s, a circus performer named John Hood moved from the US to Sweden. It is unclear if John Hood was of complete African descent or if he was part European. Hood was the great-great-grandfather of Frederik Reinfeldt, who was prime minister of Sweden from 2006-2014. With either 1/16 or 1/32 African blood, Reinfeldt was the first head of state in any European country to be known to have black ancestry. 

The 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s saw increasing immigration from Africa, often as a consequence of civil wars. Swedish statistical data show that the African-born population has grown from 596 in 1960 to 4,149 in 1970, to 10,025 in 1980, 27,343 in 1990, 55,138 in 2000 and 103,077 in 2009. 

Population size

Swedish national statistics collect data on country of birth, citizenship, and parents' citizenship, but not on ethnicity or parents' country of birth. According to Statistics Sweden, as of 2016, there are 110,758 citizens of African nations residing in Sweden. Of these citizens, the largest groups were born in Somalia (63,853), Eritrea (35,142), Ethiopia (17,944), Morocco (9,945), Egypt (6,807), Gambia (5,055), and Nigeria (5,027). Of these individuals, the largest groups were those holding citizenship from Somalia (41,335), Eritrea (32,099), Ethiopia (6,225), Nigeria (3,440), Egypt (3,359), Morocco (3,099), and Gambia (1,971). 


White Swedish families have been adopting children from Ethiopia since 1969. Between 1969 and 2005, 1,015 Ethiopian children found new parents in Sweden. The interest in adopting children from Africa has been increasing, with increases in the numbers of children adopted from South AfricaKenya, Nigeria, and Madagascar. News anchor Katarina Sandström, TV comedian Marika Carlsson, and restaurateur and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson are three well-known Swedes adopted from Ethiopia. Television sports journalist David Fjäll and is another well-known Swedish person adopted from Africa.


New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

The instructor said,       Go home and write       a page tonight.       And let that page come out of you—       Then, it will be true. I wonder if it’s that simple?... Theme For English by Langston Hughes
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