The origin of the Gullah language is as unique as the cadence and rhythm of its sound. It is popular belief that the name Gullah is a distortion of the name Angola, a region that supplied some 40% of the slaves brought to and sold at the Charleston slave market. The Gullah are a distinctive group of African Americans whose origins lie along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, as well as the adjacent sea islands. Nearly a million Gullah live between Jacksonville, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida today.


Some members of the Gullah community tend to associate the name with the "pre-American" story of the Golas and the Gizzis (of the Kissi tribe), two cultural groups living near Liberia during the African slave trade. Members of these groups were also kidnapped, sold and enslaved in large numbers. Africans from their region along the Windward Coast entered through Charleston (Guale territory) and joined an extensive Underground Railroad network from North America, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Mexico.