Italians of African descent

Italians of African descent

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Italians of African descent
population = 755,000
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languages = Various
religions = Muslim, Christian
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Italians of African descent are Italian citizens who are of African descent.

The term "African" in this case sometimes applies only to Sub-Saharan Africans or Black Africans, especially when North Africans are categorized separately as Arabic. Immigrants from Africa officially residing in Italy currently number about 755,000, not including Italian citizens of full or partial African descent. [> [ ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), stranieri 2006] ]

North Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans

The largest group from Africa are from North Africa, numbering about 525,000 official residents in 2006. [> [ ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), stranieri 2006 Africa Settentrionale] ] By country of origin, the greatest number of immigrants are from Morocco (343,000), Tunisia (89,000), Egypt (66,000) and Algeria (22,000). Unofficial estimates are considerably higher.

Compared to North Africans, the percentage of Sub-Saharan Africans within all the people who recently migrated to Italy is relatively small (around 7.5%). [ [ ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), stranieri 2006] ] Black Africans from Central Africa are the majority of Sub-Saharan Afrio-Italians, which number about 230,000, [ [ ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), stranieri 2006 Africa Occidentale, Meridionale] ] mostly from ,Senegal (60,000), Nigeria (38,000) and Ghana (37,000).

In distinguishing North and Sub-Saharan Africans there are the many substantial differences such as in social relationships, religious beliefs, history, language and culture in general. For example, North Africans are predominately Sunni Muslim whereas Cape Verdeans are generally Christian. However Senegal also counts many Muslims (even though with a stronger Sufism component than North Africans) and so do other Sub-Saharan countries - yet another proof that a sharp distinction is perhaps impossible.


Africans and Black people have visited or lived in Italy since at least Roman times. [ [ International Journal of African Historical studies] ] This declined after the fall of the Roman Empire. A notable example of this is Benedict the Moor. [ [ Catholic Encyclopedia] ]

That stated, most current African Italians are descendants of recent immigrants, although Milan, Rome and other large cities have many second and third generation African Italian citizens. Unlike France, which experienced considerable francophone African immigration starting in the 1950s , Italian citizens of Sub-Saharan African origin are more recent. There were 140,000 at the end of 2002. [ [ ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), stranieri 2002] ] ) However, by the end of 2006, 225,000 Sub Saharan Africans lived in Italy. [ [ ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), stranieri 2006] ]

Other uses

The related term "Afro-Italian" is also at times used to describe people of mixed African and Italian descent. The term is not specific to those who live in, or are citizens of Italy.

Notable individuals

*Josephine Bakhita - Catholic saint from Darfur
*Andrew Howe - Italian athlete (mother and natural father from USA).
*Fabio Liverani - Italian footballer (mother from Somalia).
*Mario Balotelli- Italian footballer plays for Internazionale Milan
*Matteo Ferrari - Footballer born in Algeria from Italian father and Guinean mother.
*Stefano Okaka Chuka - Italian footballer of Nigerian parentage.
*Christian Manfredini - Footballer from Côte d'Ivoire adopted by Italian parents at age 5.
*Carlton Myers - Italian basketball player (father from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).
*Stefano Attruia - Former basketball player, father from Trieste, mother from Cameroon.
*Taismary Agüero - Cuban Italian volleyball player.
*Mirka Francia - Cuban Italian volleyball player.
*Magdelin Martínez - Cuban Italian woman athlete holder of Italian Record of Triple Jump.
*Fiona May - British born Italian woman athlete holder of Italian Record of Long Jump.
*Jean-Léonard Touadi - Rome's Deputy Mayor of Congo-Brazzaville extraction. Elected MP (first black Italian) in 2008.

In addition three popes (Pope Victor I, Pope Miltiades and Pope Gelasius I) hailed from Africa.

Fictional African Italians

*Othello - Fictional Shakespearean character from the play of the same name.

ee also

*Italian people
*Egyptian Italians
*African diaspora


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