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He was definitely a Maure but as racism, whiteness and blackness were unknown concepts as we know it today, we can’t know his ‘race’ for sure. Even very common socio-cultural concepts of today such as ‘French’, ‘German’ or ‘English’ didn’t exist in those days such that it would be silly to argue whether historical figures of those days were German or French.
But even before the 15th century and during Roman times, a time when colour of skin still wasn’t a racist stigma but just another physical feature, black people lived in Europe.After the 15th century, Portugal entered an intense relationship with African kingdoms in the Gulf of Guinea and the Congo coasts.Slave trade (although not based on race) and exchange between the kings led to the presence of Europeans on the West- and Central African shores, just as Africans in Portugal.There is no doubt this man has African roots while being a respected member of European culture.We can only guess that this man is of Maure origin, i.e.Accounts from those days tell us that the sight of black people in the streets of Lisbon wasn’t a rarity during the Middle Ages, more on the contrary. Lowe(eds.)Africa's discovery of Europe, David Northrup As a consequence of the slave trade free blacks also arrived in Europe between the 16th and 19th century.
I want to refer to following books for those who want to know more about this topic: Black Africans in Renaissance Europe, Thomas Foster Earle, K. Blacks lived in London, Liverpool, Lisbon, Seville, … Other historical books with scientific authority give you in depth knowledge of this: Hugh Thomas’s ‘The Slave Trade’Ivan Van Sertima’s ‘African Presence in Early Europe’All this publications teach us something about this hidden part of European history.
Leo Africanus is often stated as one of these black and European noble men and scholars.
But it is rather speculation to state if he was black or white.
a Muslim having converted to Christianity or even the second or third generation of converts. I will give you some internet links, book references and a list of early Europeans of African descent, each time linked to their wiki page.
If you know more about the subject I invite you to add information in a comment.
A codified system of racial stratification began to take form in South Africa under the Dutch Empire in the late eighteenth century, although informal segregation was present much earlier due to social cleavages between Dutch colonists and a creolised, ethnically diverse slave population.