Friday, January 30, 2015

Black Europeans were in America before African Slaves

The Afro-Americans have a tripart heritage: African slave, Black Native American and Black Europeans. As a result Afro-Americans are not just the descendants of slaves.

In The Souls of Black Folk (1903) W. E. B. Du Bois also specifically mentioned the slave-ship that "first saw the square tower of Jamestown" as an American beginning point (Du Bois 1986, 424) and asked, "Your country? How came it yours? Before the Pilgrims landed we were there" (Du Bois 1986, 545).

" Based on a census taken in March of 1619, there were already 32 blacks (15 men and 17 women) "in the service" of Jamestown planters prior to the August arrival of the Dutch ship.

Some of these Blacks were freemen from Europe. In 1624 John Phillips “a negro, Christened in England 12 years since” testified against a white man.

The presence of Free Black men in Britain was not strange because of the “free” status of Blacks in Britain, back in the 17th Century.


And it really was true that Africans in England were free. Diogo, an African who had been taken to England by an English pirate in 1614, later reported to the Portuguese Inquisition that when he laid foot on English soil, "he immediately became free, because in that reign nobody is a slave." It was not legally possible to be a slave in Tudor and Stuart Britain and the hundreds of black people present in these isles during those centuries were not treated as slaves either. Africans such as Jacques Francis and Edward Swarthye were allowed to testify in court – a privilege denied to slaves in ancient Rome and the American south, as well as to English villeins.

Jan Rodriguez was a free Black sailor working for Dutch merchants. In 1612, he was left behind on Manhattan Island to establish trade with the local native population.

It would appear that many Black Europeans from Spain and Portugal settled in Colonial America.

The Jamestown Census shows that there were 12 Blacks in Jamestown before the 20 Blacks taken to Jamestown by the Dutch.

Moreover, in 1624 John Phillips had been Christened in 1612, this meant that he had been a Black European from Britain.

In summary, the Jamestown Census and life of Phillips prove there were Black Europeans in the English colonies .

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