Very interesting article. I wrote and read a lot about Barbary Corsairs in my hf, Stolen. Fascinating time period. However, I thought Berbers looked more Arab than Black. Berbers I met in Morocco certainly didn't resemble the picture here, but I suppose they are much more mixed now.
Thanks very much for your comment. You are quite right, of course, the Berbers are more Arab in appearance than black, although they were always referred to as 'black' - in the 17th century that term was applied more generally to dark-skinned than it is today. The portrait by Rubens wasn't meant to be illustrative of any civil war soldier, I just wanted a contemporary picture of a black person (which is rare) to accompany the text.
I would say that it does a lot to dispel the myths of 'No Blacks here until the Windrush'. there were in fact thriving black communities in most ports. elizabeth I's edicts calling for deportation of black people as ..."I see too many black faces on the streets of London...and they take away the benefits of my subjects', (Paraphrased from memory) is evidence of the presence in London of a large free black society.
Tiger Bay in Cardiff has also had its Smoalian society since the early 1600s (Think Shirley bassey) - One reason can be linked to the slave trade. Ships, sailing over that period would lose men, to illness, desertion (Who wants to sail back on a possibly disease ridden, malodorous boat). These places were often filled with black sailors - and that is not to mention the black musicians, North Asian tinkers etc.
The main reason that they become hard to trace is that, whilst a West African or Moroccan man may be listed in a census as a Moor or Blackamoor. Any offspring would just be listed as 'English',
there was a believe a soplider imprisoned in pontefract Castle, who was listed as 'A blackamoor'.
Well done to the author.
And the next times some racist nork starts telling you he is 'Pure bred English, please tell him not to be so bloody sure!!
Please note that Shirley Bassey's origin is Nigeria and not Somalia though of course you're correct about the sizeable Somalian community
Great article and fills in some gaps in my knowledge.. Jimbo , love that term racist norks. May I borrow it?
I don't doubt the truth of what you say, but it's worth mentioning that "a black man" could simply mean a man with black hair in this period e.g. "Black Tom" for General Fairfax and "the Black Boy" for Charles II.
Historic Manuscripts Commission, 15th Report, Appendix, Part VII, 1898:
Following the end of the first Civil War, Phillip Togwood made a submission to the Sequestration committee in 1647 concerning Mrs Anne Seymour. In the submission he also relates the siege and capture of Wardour Castle by Parliamentary forces by Col. Edmund Ludlow who “took a servant of the Lord Arundel’s (a blackmoor), whereupon his Majesty’s soldiers sought after me to redeem the blackmoor, which enforced me to leave my house and hide in the woods...” This Black servant possibly served lord or Lady Arundel before the outbreak of war in 1642.
Thank you for beingg you