Angelo Soliman (1721 – 1796) is historically recognized as the “First Moorish Freemason.” Born in the Congo, at age seven he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. In Europe, he was the slave (child toy) of a prominent Sicilian lady. Later, at age 16, he was sold to a royal family in Vienna, Austria. There, he so impressed his masters with his remarkable intelligence, they chose to educate him.
He spoke six languages as well as being able to write three of them fluently. He was also a master swordsman, war hero, chess specialist, navigation expert, concert composer, and a tutor to royalty.
In 1781, he was initiated into the prestgious True Harmony Masonic Lodge, whose members included many of Vienna’s social elite including Mozart and Haydn.
(It was none other than Grand Master Soliman who, manifesting on the earthly plane and in corporeal form, spiritually ordained Sotemohk***, to the sacred Moorish Episcopate and prompted his induction as Grand Master of the Revivified Sacred Order of Chaerona.)
After he died in 1796, his skin was flayed from his body and mounted on a frame. He was dressed with a feather belt around his loins and a feather crown on his head, his arms and legs were decorated with glass pearl beads and a necklace of yellow-white porcelain snails (Cyprinid Monet) hung low down on his chest.
Together with the stuffed bodies of a young black girl who had been a present from the King of Naples and an African male nurse, he was exhibited for ten years as part of the Viennese Emperor’s “Imperial and Royal Art, Nature and Animal Cabinet”.
***In 2002, Sotemohk announced that the 19th century nun, Margaret Cusak, was to be canonised. Known to her contemporaries as the Mad Nun of Kenmare, she also just happened to be his great great great aunt.