Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda KaufmannBlack Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann

Black Tudors: The Untold Story

Contribution byMiranda Kaufmann

Hardcover | November 17, 2017

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Seeking to overturn the common assumption that there were no black communities in Britain before Caribbean immigration after the Second World War. - The New Yorker "Highly readable yet intensively researched? lively prose and fascinating microhistories, [BLACK TUDORS] should draw some well-deserved attention." - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review "A highly instructive history of an understudied part of Tudor society. An eminently readable book that offers contemporary readers valuable insights into racial relations of centuries past." - Kirkus Reviews "For a modern audience acculturated to thinking of Africans in the West as either enslaved or altogether absent, the picture that emerges challenges the centrality of whiteness and slavery in the Tudor period." - Foreword Reviews A black porter publicly whips a white English gentleman in a Gloucestershire manor house. A heavily pregnant African woman is abandoned on an Indonesian island by Sir Francis Drake. A Mauritanian diver is dispatched to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose? Miranda Kaufmann reveals the absorbing stories of some of the Africans who lived free in Tudor England.From long-forgotten records, remarkable characters emerge. They were baptized, married and buried by the Church of England. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. Their stories, brought viscerally to life by Kaufmann, provide unprecedented insights into how Africans came to be in Tudor England, what they did there and how they were treated. A ground-breaking, seminal work, Black Tudors challenges the accepted narrative that racial slavery was all but inevitable and forces us to re-examine the seventeenth century to determine what caused perceptions to change so radically."
Miranda Kaufmann is a senior research fellow at the University of London's Institute of Commonwealth Studies. She has appeared on Sky News, the BBC and Al Jazeera, and she's written for The Times, Guardian and BBC History Magazine. She lives in London.
Title:Black Tudors: The Untold StoryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.2 × 6 × 1.51 inPublished:November 17, 2017Publisher:Oneworld PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1786071843

ISBN - 13:9781786071842

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Editorial Reviews

Splendid? an excellent study of this hitherto silent minority.""The very concept of black Tudors may sound unlikely, but in this highly readable yet intensively researched book, Kaufmann, senior research fellow at the University of London's Institute of Commonwealth Studies, makes clear that people of African descent were residing in England centuries before the postwar Windrush generation and were not necessarily enslaved. By examining in detail the lives of 10 previously obscure men and women, Kaufmann depicts the great diversity of their experiences in 16th- and early-17th-century England. John Blanke, a trumpeter to Henry VII, lived at the Tudor court and earned twice the annual wage of a white agricultural laborer, while mariner John Anthony's travels took him to Virginia just as the first enslaved Africans arrived in the colony. The exotically named Cattelena of Almondsbury was an unmarried African woman who managed to make a life for herself in rural Gloucestershire. Kaufman also persuasively argues that the enslavement of Africans emerged as a response to the socioeconomic conditions of England's Caribbean and North American colonies, rather than as an inevitable result of a supposedly inherent racism within early modern English culture. Kaufmann's crucial contention, in conjunction with her lively prose and fascinating microhistories, should draw some well-deserved attention.""[The] audience will find itself in the hands of a historian of excellent investigative skills, who shows attention to detail, uses evidence with appropriate caution, and has the sensibility of a scholar.""The industry and skill with which Miranda Kaufmann has hunted for these sources and teased out their meanings are exemplary? Kaufmann's greatest skill is her ability to fill in the background on every topic that arises, from piracy to silk-weaving to brothels to Anglo-Moroccan diplomacy? In the hands of a lesser writer this would be mere padding with secondary material, but she investigates every subject in the same depth? a fascinating book, which brings a sadly neglected part of our history to life, and grinds no ideological axes in the process. Five Stars.""Miranda Kaufmann's intricately researched and brilliantly written new book pieces together fragments from the archives to reconstruct the lives of ten black Tudors. And what lives they are: a sailor, a silk weaver and a salvage diver who swam to the wreck of the Mary Rose. Then there is John Blanke, a trumpeter to the Tudor court who was witness to the coronation of Henry VIII. Through these biographies Kaufmann paints a wider panorama of a Renaissance England that was globally aware and in contact with Africa and her people. This is history on the cutting edge of archival research, but accessibly written and alive with human details and warmth. Black Tudors is a critical book that allows us to better understand an era of our national past that fascinates us like no other.""Tudor England's legendary history is a rich locus in the popular imagination. Full of pageantry and larger-than-life personalities, the period is a favorite of the Anglophilic world. But what if that seemingly monolithic world was also black? Miranda Kaufmann's THE BLACK TUDORS: The Untold Story combs historical records and reveals that, in fact, it was. Kaufmann looks at surviving documentation and reveals the African men and women who were present in England as full membersof society, filling a variety of roles, collecting wages, and functioning autonomously. Over ten chapters, Kaufmann's vignettes interpret individuals' lives within their historical moments. Yet, the historical record is not limited to Kaufmann's ten; appearing alongside the chapters' main characters are others whose presence is no less fascinating for only appearing scantly in historical records. For a modern audience acculturated to thinking of Africans in the West as either enslaved or altogether absent, the picture that emerges challenges the centrality of whiteness and slavery in the Tudor period. Kaufmann takes pains to situate England on the national stage as a minor nation emerging from civil war and fighting to be acknowledged at the international level. Tudors were fascinated with North Africa and heavily invested in trading alliances and cultural exchange with African sovereigns, she reveals. Although hierarchical and heavily dependent on servants, Tudorsociety didn't have slaves, a precedent so well known that slaves of several nations schemed their way to England in a bid for freedom. Whether with Edward Swarthye, a black porter, delivering Tudor justice when he whips a white servant, or the suggestion that Anne Cobbie, the "tawny moor with soft skin," might have been a literary inspiration, Kaufmann's THE BLACK TUDORS concentrates on individuals who are enmeshed in the historical narrative and effectively places them right back where they've always belonged.""A thought-provoking account of 10 remarkable people, and a valuable corrective to some unthinking assumptions about both Tudor society and the role of racial minorities in English history." - Times Higher Education (UK) "Who knew that a diver from West Africa worked to salvage Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose? Based on a wealth of original research, Miranda Kaufmann's Black Tudors restores the black presence to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England in all its lively detail. Africans lived and worked not as slaves but as independent agents, from mariners to silk weavers, women and men, prince and prostitute. Black Tudors challenges assumptions about ethnic identity and racism in Tudor England. It will be required reading for anyone interested in new directions in Tudor history.""Miranda Kaufman'sThe Black Tudors, grounded in extensive and impeccable archival research, presents an evocative and convincing picture of the lives of real men and women of black African descent in Renaissance England. Concentrating on ten strikingly varied individuals - from a royal trumpeter to a silk-weaver - Kaufman persuasively argues that Africans who came to England this era were able to find a meaningful place in English society, not only in London, Southampton, and Bristol but also in rural areas. Drawing on parish records, legal cases, letters, visual images, and her broad knowledge of Tudor-era economic history and global mercantile expansion, Kaufman dispels the myth that the black Britons of this era existed only at the very upper or lower margins of society. Each of her ten individuals, who are cleverly linked to the records of many others, is vividly brought to life through a discussion of their goals, their labor, and their vicissitudes, and set within the complex social, political, economic, and religious history of the period. The book is a brilliant example of how to use the most detailed kind of archival data to present a broadly accessible picture of the past, and one which has enormous relevance to the present controversies about immigration and diversity.""The presence of Africans and their descendants in Europe is a subject that has recently received a lot of attention from scholars who are discovering much more diversity in the Middle Ages than was once believed. Miranda Kaufmann's book is a splendid addition to this literature, meticulously researched and well written. She has managed to recover the stories of a remarkably large number of medieval people of African descent, and in surprising places, not just as servants or slaves, but also as skilled tradespeople and even people of substance. Kaufmann's lively prose rests on a solid base of painstaking and far reaching documentation, enough for any historian to admire.""Miranda Kaufmann has written a superb antidote both to the cliches of Tudor history and to the assumption that Black migration to Britain began with the Windrush. Her vivid portrait of Black Tudor lives sweeps readers around the world in the company of Diego, manservant to Sir Francis Drake, and back to the life of single woman Cattelena in the Gloucestershire countryside. Grounded in precise and detailed historical research, Black Tudors promises to change perceptions of a period at the heart of Britain's national identity.""Fascinating.""Seeking to overturn the common assumption that there were no black communities in Britain before Caribbean immigration after the Second World War, Kaufmann presents characters such as John Blanke, a trumpeter at the court of Henry VIII, and Reasonable Blackman, a London silk weaver who lost two children in the plague of 1592. Many slaves fled Spanish or Portuguese territories in the New World, boarding ships bound for England after hearing rumors that all men there were free; one helped Sir Francis Drake recruit Africans for attacks on the Spanish. Kaufmann speculates about cultural aspects: three decades after Drake's ship abandoned a pregnant African woman on an island, Shakespeare created Sycorax, the mother of Caliban.""An intriguing history of Africans in Tudor England. Kaufmann (Senior Research Fellow/Institute for Commonwealth Studies, Univ. of London) presents the stories of 10 African men and women engaged in a variety of occupations, from trumpeter to trader. The author argues that the common perception that all Africans were enslaved by the British is erroneous and that Renaissance England had many free Africans who were part of the social fabric. "Despite the insatiable appetite for all thingsTudor, from raunchy television series to bath ducks modelled as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn," she writes, "the existence of the Black Tudors is little known." Through meticulous archival research, Kaufmann creates compelling portraits of her subjects, including a trumpet player at Henry VIII's court, a salvage diver, a circumnavigator, a porter, a silk weaver, a Moroccan convert, a prince involved in trade negotiations, a mariner, a woman involved in sex work, and an independent single woman. Since they left few documents behind, Kaufmann pieces together their histories from church records, references in various documents by influential Englishmen, literary works, paintings, and other sources. Each story is anchored in the social and political history of the time. Thus, readers learn much about Henry VIII's courtiers; West African deep-sea divers, who used no diving equipment but could reach sunken ships to retrieve goods; Francis Drake and his treacherous ways; prostitution in Tudor and Stuart England; and the processes of silk weaving and dairy farming. The narrative is engaging, and the author's argument about how Africans were generally accepted in Tudor England is persuasive. She provides a wealth of detail and only occasionally gets lost in minutiae, making the book a highly instructive history of an understudied part of Tudor society. An eminently readable book that offers contemporary readers valuable insights into racial relations of centuries past.""