Black people have lived in Britain since the Roman occupation over 1000 years ago. The first black people in England were not victims and they contributed far more to English history than they are usually given credit for. The shameful and barbaric English slave trade did not begin until after Queen Elizabeth the first’s death and the black men and women living in England before then were totally free.
This cannot be said for other kingdoms in Europe and by 1502 the Spanish were transporting black slaves from Africa to South America for profit. Some of these slave ships were intercepted and raided by English Privateers (Pirates) and the slaves were brought to England and freed. According to historian David Olusoga on BBC Bitesize, Africans brought to England were accepted and lead very normal lives. Some were employed by merchants, seamstresses, beer brewers, silk and needle makers. They lived as far out of London as Suffolk working in the cloth trade which was the most important English trade at that time. The records show that Black Christians were baptised, married and buried in English churches.
According to Historian Miranda Kaufmann’s website, ‘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.”
The English were more interested in trading in pepper, gold, pearls and ivory than in people Continue reading “They were NOT slaves… It’s time to talk about black Tudors…”
If you had ‘goose bumps’ in the 16th century it did not mean you had little bumps appearing on your arms because you were cold. Having ‘goose bumps’ was Elizabethan slang for having venereal disease. There were thousands of prostitutes or doxies as they were known, in Norwich, Exeter, York, London and elsewhere. In fact there were far more prostitutes in Elizabethan London than there are now in modern-day Birmingham or any other large British town in 2016. The most notorious stews, trugginghouses or brothels were in Southwark on the south side of the river Thames. Continue reading “Sex, brothels and prostitution…”
Tudor physicians believed that fish could cause leprosy, Fresh fruit was considered unhealthy and the stars could put our bodies ‘humours’ completely out out of balance.
The bills of mortality show that Tudor people thought they could die from things such as: wind, worms, gripping of the guts, the teeth, a cough and even of surprise. There were many other Tudor ailments that we don’t even think of as being fatal or even ailments at all. Tudor beliefs about health and medicine can be very strange to modern eyes.
Readers could be forgiven for feeling that the surviving notes of doctor Hall, who practiced in Elizabethan England are more like spells from J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter books than anything like the serious medical documents they were intended to be:
To stop bleeding from the nose a small cloth was dipped into frog spawn and left to dry. This little ‘tent’ was then inserted into the nostril. (Frog spawn was meant to cool burns and inflammation.) Then clay was applied to the forehead, temples and neck. Continue reading “Tudor medicine… Frog’s spawn anyone?”