Black Tudors

October is Black History month in the UK, so in honor of this I’m going to share a few of the things I have been learning about with my children, Starting with Black Tudors.

Black migrants have been in England a lot longer than most people realise. The Tudors reigned from 1485 to 1603 and During the this time there were hundreds of black migrants living in England. They came from Africa, from Europe and from the Spanish Caribbean. They came with privateers, pirates, merchants, aristocrats, even kings and queens, and were accepted into Tudor society. 

One of the most notable black men from that time was JOHN BLANKE, the musician. He was  King Henry VIII’s trumpeter. He performed at Henry VII’s Funeral and at Henry VIII’s coronation.

A black trumpeter is depicted in this tapestry commemorating the Field of Cloth of Gold 1520

Learning this history of Black Tudors shows just how long Britain has been a multicultural country. To learn more about Black Tudors I recommend Miranda Kaufmann’s book Black Tudors: The Untold Story. Hearing about this book is what drew my attention to this topic. I remember learning about the Tudors in School. I know all about King Henry VIII’s Wives but not once did I learn about any of the people in Kaufmann’s book. They way the Tudors was taught to me in school made it seem everyone was white in that time, when that just wasn’t the case. Black history is a part of British history and these stories need to be told, so that we can fully understand out countries past.

The other men and woman featured in the book are:

JACQUES FRANCIS, the salvage diver 

DIEGO, the circumnavigator 

EDWARD SWARTHYE, the porter

REASONABLE BLACKMAN, the silk weaver 

MARY FILLIS, the Moroccan convert 

DEDERI JAQUOAH, the prince of River Cestos

JOHN ANTHONY, mariner of Dover 

ANNE COBBIE, the tawny Moor with soft skin 

CATTELENA OF ALMONDSBURY, independent single woman 

To find out more about these people and their contributions to society check out this talk from Miranda Kaufmann

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