Angelo Soliman (1721 – 1796) is historically recognized as the “First Moorish Freemason.” Born in the Congo (Cameroon), 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.
In his mid twenties, Soliman distinguished himself as a studious and honorable subject with his masters, and actually won his freedom through his high moral character and education. As a free citizen of Vienna, the world’s citadel of culture and enlightenment at the time, Soliman, now a member of the royal Hapsburg household, continued to pursue a personal course of erudite and moral excellence. He spoke six languages fluently and could write three of them fluently as well. He was also a master swordsman, war hero, chess specialist, navigation expert, concert composer, and a tutor to royalty. He was the subject of Mozart’s popular opera The Magic Flute. Soliman is considered one of the most learned people of his generation as well as one of the greatest Vienna citizens of all time.
He was a Vienna celebrity, a dashing figure and personality widely admired for his handsomeness, fashionable Moorish attire and social grace; he was an excellent dancer and romancer at elite social affairs. He married in 1768 and in the same year joined the True Concord Freemason’s lodge, which included his friends Mozart and Haydn. He eventually became the Grand Master of the lodge and rewrote and refined its rituals and other literature. The Soliman Freemasonic literary style spread all over Europe and around the world, eventually even influencing modern Freemasonic literature and rituals. Thus, Soliman is called the Father of Pure Masonic Thought. The Moorish Rite hails Angelo Soliman as its patriarchal figure; he is a profound model of early Moorish/Black achievement. To this day, in Vienna, he is celebrated in song and dance and national memory. And today, in America, two Moorish Rite lodges so far have been named in Soliman’s honor.
Aalim Bey Al Dey’s The Moorish Prince Of Vienna (a soon to be published book on Angelo Soliman) will cover more about the incredible life of this great ancestor and Freemasonic pioneer.