Anton Wilhelm Amo

Anton Wilhelm Amo (c. 1703 Nkubeam in Axim, Ghana today; † after 1753 probably in what is now Ghana) is the first known philosopher and legal scholar of African descent in Germany.


Anton Wilhelm Amo, also known as " Anthony Guilielmus Amo Afer from Aximo in Guinea ," was to 1703 Nkubeam, a village near Axim (now Ghana) born. As a child he was enslaved and the Dutch West India Company (Dutch: Geoctroyeerde West India Company, often short WIC) deported to Amsterdam and "given away " to Anton Ulrich of Brunswick and Lüneburg -Wolfenbüttel, the him of his son August Wilhelm " further inherited ." In 1708 he was baptized in the chapel Salzdahlum in Wolfenbüttel Evangelical on the name " Anton Wilhelm Amo " and confirmed in 1721. His godparents and thus were named Duke Anton Ulrich and his son, August Wilhelm; with the partial name " Amo " but his African name could be continued.

Amo received an excellent education at the humanist court of Brunswick- Wolfenbüttel. From 1717-21 he attended the knight academy Anthony Rudolph in Wolfenbüttel and by 1721-27 the Protestant University of Helmstedt. Besides German, he learned French, Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

From 1727 he studied at the University of Halle philosophy and law. In 1729 he wrote his first defense under the title De jure maurorum in Europe in Latin ( to German: On the Legal Status of the Moors in Europe), in which he examined the status of blacks in Europe at that time. In 1730 he matriculated at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Wittenberg and earned the academic degree of Master of Philosophy and Liberal Arts. 1734 he received his doctorate at Wittenberg with a dissertation on De Humanae mentis apatheia in Latin ( to German: The mind-body problem). From 1736-38 he taught at the Philosophical Faculties of the Universities of Halle and Wittenberg as lecturer. 1739 he taught according to a lecture announcement from his pen at the University of Jena.

Since 1740 Amo is no longer is in Jena, about his later residence is not known. In 1747 he left Germany in the direction of Ghana. Backgrounds are probably the death of his mentors and friends, occupational difficulties, increasing racism and social isolation: 1731 died his mentor Duke August Wilhelm, died in 1743 his friend Johann Peter von Ludewig. On a proposal of marriage followed in 1747 a mockery campaign that culminated in the publication of racist lampoons the Halle professor of rhetoric Johann Ernst Philippi. Amo lived first in Axim / Ghana and later in the fort of San Sebastian at Shama. His exact year of death is not known; on his - new - grave stone in front of the Fort Shama is the date of death 1784th


Built in 1965, the sculptor Gerhard Geyer on behalf of the University of Halle -Wittenberg, a statue commemorating Amo. Because of him no portrait exists, is the monument of an African woman and an African man dar. 1975, it was added to a memorial plaque. Both can be found next to the Robertinum at University Square.

Since 1994, the University of Halle -Wittenberg gives the " Anton Wilhelm Amo Prize" for outstanding scientific work of students and graduates.


  • Inauguralis Dissertatio de jure maurorum in Europe (Dissertation: On the Legal Status of the Moors in Europe), 1729 ( lost)
  • Dissertatio de inauguralis Humanae mentis apatheia (the " mind-body problem " ), Wittenberg, 1734
  • Tractatus de arte et Sobrie accurate philosophandi (Dissertation: On the art of philosophizing sober and precise ), 1738
  • Disputatio philosphica continens ideam distinctam eorum quae competunt vel vel menti corpori vivo nostro et organico.