Anton Wilhelm Amo and Adoption


ca. 1703-56

African-Dutch-German academic and philosopher

Amo was born on the Gold Coast (Ghana) about 1703 and taken to Amsterdam when he was about four. He was given to the Duke of Wolfenbüttel and baptised Anton Wilhelm. He was educated with support from the Princess of Braunschweig, and studied at the university of Wittenberg (with a PhD from Wittenberg in 1730), also learning Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German and Dutch. He became a lecturer at Halle and Wittenberg universities, but in the 1750s, after his patroness' death, he was forced by racists to return to Africa. The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg has an annual Anton Wilhelm Amo Prize of DM 2,000 in his honor.


Blakely, Allison. "Problems in Studying the Role of Blacks in Europe." Formerly available at: "Zur Geschichte der Martin-Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg." Available at: New Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1998 Abraham, W., "The Life and Times of Wilhelm Anton Amo," Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, 7 (1964), pp. 60-81 Wimmer, Franz Martin. "Rassismus und Kulturphilosophie," in: Willfährige Wissenschaft: Die Universität Wien, 1938-1945. (Vienna: Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik, 1989), pp. 89-114. Also available at: