African-American history is the part of American history that looks at the African-American or Black American ethnic groups in the United States. Most African Americans are the descendants of Africans forcibly brought to and held captive in the United States from 1555 to 1865. Blacks from the Caribbean whose ancestors immigrated, or who immigrated to the U.S., have also traditionally been considered African-American, as they share a common history of predominantly West African or Central African roots, the Middle Passage and slavery.
African Americans have been known by various names throughout American history, including colored and Negro, which are no longer accepted in English. Instead the most usual and accepted terms nowadays are African American and Black, which however may have different connotations (see African American#Terminology). The term person of color usually refers not only to African Americans, but also to other non-white ethnic groups. Others who sometimes are referred to as African Americans, and who may identify themselves as such in US government censuses, include relatively recent Black immigrants from Africa, South America and elsewhere.
African-American history is celebrated and highlighted annually in the United States during February, designated as Black History Month. Although previously marginalized, African-American history has gained ground in school and university curricula and gained wider scholarly attention since the late 20th century.
Most African Americans are descended from Africans brought directly from Africa as slaves. Originally these slaves were captured in African wars or raids and transported in the Atlantic slave trade. African Americans are descended from various ethnic groups, mostly from western and central Africa, including the Sahel. A smaller number came from eastern and southeastern Africa. The major ethnic groups that the enslaved Africans belonged to included the Hausa, Bakongo, Igbo, Mandé, Wolof, Akan, Fon, Yoruba, and Makua, among many others.