fox news - WHO WAS HANS JONATAN?
Hans Jonatan was born into slavery on the island of St Croix in 1784.His story rose to international fame after the publication of the biography, The Man Who Stole Himself.While there are some uncertainties about his father, it’s thought he was a white Dane named Hans Gram, who was a secretary on one of the island’s plantations.Eventually, the plantation owner returned to Denmark and took the two with him – but, slavery was illegal in the country.Jonatan fought for the Danish navy and later declared himself a free man, according to New Scientist.After a court battle, however, a judge ruled in 1802 that he should be sent back to the Danish West Indies to return to slavery.To avoid this fate, Jonatan escaped to Iceland, where he was greeted ‘with open arms,’ Kári Stefánsson of deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, told New Scientist.The whereabouts of Hans Jonatan’s remains are unknown – but, using DNA samples from 182 of his descendants, geneticists with deCODE have traced his family back West Africa, from a region that covers Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon.
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