September 25, 2007

THE AFRICANDIASPORA DID NOT, AS SO MANY suppose, originate in the New World; it began in North Africa, the Creum-Mediterranean, Europe and Asia. We do 1250 and as early as 1258 Moorish traders appeared at fairs at Guimaraes (Northern Portugal) offering sub-Saharan Aft Tricans for sale." During the Christian Reconquest of Iberian territory and the subsequent e xpulsion of Moors, Jews. and non-Christian not know how long black people had been traveling to these blacks between 1492 and 1502, Rout argues, "..to the white areas, or when the first slaves were brought there. We do Christians of Spain, the captive from Negrerfa [the totality of know, however, that in 711, as the Muslim conquestof Iberia black western Africa] and/or his lacliiw descendant were began black soldiers were prcsent in the Islamic forces believed to be loyal, superstitious4 lighthearted, of low men- Farther north, according to the historian Polarin Shyllon. talky, and distinctly in need of white supervisiort4' "Irish records suggest that during a Viking raid on Spain and In sixteenth-century Spain the term "negras ladinos" North Africa in 862. a number of Africans were captured and referred to Africans or African descended people who he- some carried to Dublin, where they were known as 'blue came hi'span+cizc d and embraced (or paid lip-service to) men'." In the tenth century. black Africans who fought Christianity. Alsoknownasnegrosiatinasornegroscastiia. alongside North African Moors were a significant part of the whether fre e or enslaved, rich or poor. they were bound to conquering army of the Iberian Peninsula. serve whites. By contrast, hoza Its were blacks fresh from By the eleventh and twelfth centuries (and on into the Africa. From the opposition ladino-bozed came the opposi- sixteenth), images of black Africans were present in mono- tion mulatto -black, whtch continues to permeate society in mental art and architecture, Christian icortography, and he- contemporar y Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and elsewhere, raldic shields throughout Western Europe. Between the With the perfection of the lateen sail and other innova- fourth and fourteenth centuries representations of Africans tions such as the single rudder and caravel-designed vessel appear in religious works involving the land of Ethiopia, the movement f arther and farther down the coast of Africa (and coming of the Mag't. the realm andperson of Prester John, the eventually around the horn.) became possible for Iberian Queen of Sheba, St Maurice, and the meaning of Old (mostly Portuguese) explorers and traders. As soon as Euro- Testament legends and prophecies about the relationship peans were able to travel back to Iberia with relative ease between darkness and light, from their ventures in the west coast ports of black Africa, the By the mid-to-late fifteenth century, religious imagery of Atlantic traf fic in African slavery (the slave ships werecalled blacks in Europe had succumbed to the power politics of the negreros, black bringers) began in earnest and the African Iberian kingdoms. Historian Leslie B Rout, Jr. outlined the diasporaexpanded exponentially. "Between 1441 and 1550? correspondence that developed between black African war- says the C'amhridge Eat vet opedin of LatinAnre eka and the riors to be feared and black Africans to be conquered and Caribbean, "more than half of the slaves extracted from the enslaved. "During the centuries of bitter struggle, the black coast of West Africa were destined for the labor market in African had become known to the Christians essentially as a Europe, part icularly the Iberian peninsula, or for use in the soldier fighting for the Moors or as a slave laborer." Rout emergent pla ntation econonnes of the Atlantic jCanary] wrote in The African Experience in Spanish America. "The islands?' The Afticandiaspora then became a Circum Atlan Portuguese, therefore, looked upon blacks as the logical tie phenomenon that rapidly expandedto the coasts of Central answer to their problems of a cheap source of labor after America and northern South America.

Tags: afrolatinos, slavery, African diaspora, race

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