Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann

“As early as 1489, William Caxton wrote: ‘He was so angry for it, that he became black as a Moor’. In 1550 William Thomas, in his Principal rules of the Italian grammar, defined ‘Moro’ as ‘ a Moore or blacke man’, as if the two were synonymous. Shakespeare described Othello, and Aaron in Titus Andonicus, as ‘Moors’, but references to Othello’s sooty bosom’ and Aaron’s ‘coal black’ visage make it clear that both were conceived as being dark skinned. A brief glance at Henry Peacham’s drawing of a staging of Titus Andronicus confirms that Aaron was played as a black man. Standing alone, it seems ‘moor’ had come to signify black skin.”

“With addition of “tawny’, meaning brown, ‘tawny moor’ referred to lighter skin North Africans. In the The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare described the Prince of Morocco as a ‘tawnie Moore’, and his Cleopatra as having a ‘tawny front. John Pory, the scholar who translated Leo Africanus Description of Africa in 1600, spoke of the ‘tawnie Moores’ who inhabited North Africa.”

“One Welsh squire wrote that the sunburnt peasants of Pembrokeshire are forced to ensure the heat of the sun in its greatest extremity, to parch and burn their faces, hands, legs, feets and breasts in such sort as they seem more like ‘tawny Moors’ than people of this land. But other than these literary sources, ‘tawny’ was rarely applied to a person’s complexion; to date, Anne Cobbie is the only persons frond in the archives of the period to be described this way.”

‘Tawny moor’ suggest a North African origin; that she was either from Morocco, like Mary Fillis, or from one of the other ‘Barbary States’ (Algeria, Tunisia, Tripoli) which, unlike Morocco, were part of the Ottoman Empire. Or, perhaps, given her English surname, she was the mixed-race child of a Black Tudor and an Englishman or woman. ”

Source: Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann

First Three English Books On America: 1511-1555 A.D


In  The First Three English Books On America we find continuous commentary on the Moors spelled in  the book as Moores or blacke Moores.

“The three Books are all the oceanic voyages performed by the English in the reign of Henry VIII, which we have been able to trace. It was under Edward, that English sailors first began to creep down the African coast. In the first voyage to Barbary, there were two Moores, being noblemen, whereof one was of the King’s blood conveyed by the said Master Thomas Windham into their country out of England. Your humble at your commandment, James Alday”

“There is a Section called “How the King of Portugal Subdued certain places in India: and the rich City o Malacha” The special significance of these voyages lay in the then accredited proprietorship (through the Papal Bull, reprinted at pp. 201-204) of the Portuguese to the entire continent of Africa; and the intentional and studied ignorance of its coastline, in which the World was kept by that nation. Every English voyage to its west coast was therefore at once an act of revolt against the Papacy, and a challenge to the pretensions of Portugal. The First Voyage to Barbary in 1551, Described by James, Alday, Servant to Sebastian Cabot.”

“The original of the first voyage for traffic into the Kingdom of Marocco in Barbarie, begun in the year 1551, with a tall ship called the Lion of London, whereof went as captain Master Thomas Windham, as appeareth by this extract of a letter of James Alday, to the worshipful master Michale Locke, which Alday profetith himself to have been the first inventor of this trade.”

“The African sea coast, so honorably and so patiently discovered, was (by all laws, human and divine, hitherto accepted) the possession of its brave discoverers. It was, therefore, a new impulse, that made our English ships, passing the familiar Straits of Gibraltar on their left hand, to go forward southward, first to Barbary, and then to Guinea; cost what it might. Discoveries are made by successive steps, one after another; and the passage of English ships around the world and to the Eastern seas was but the succession and development of these first attempts to Marocco. All that we know of these Barbary voyages is preserved to us by Hakluyt, who collected his information fort to fifty years after the event and has thus transmitted it to us.”

“This book was originally published prior to 1923 and represents a reproduction of important historical work, maintaining the same format as the original work. While some publishers have opted to apply OCR (optical character recognition) technology to the process, the preservers believe this leads to sub-optimal results (frequent typographical errors, strange characters, and confusing formatting) and does not adequately preserve the historical character of the original artifact.”

“The preservers believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as blurred or missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work or the scanning process itself. Despite these occasional imperfections, the preservers have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints.”

“He is a moore and is name Raia Siripada. He is King of a greate poure, and hat vunder hym many other Kynges, Ilandes, and cities” See Page 257. “

“The king is a Moore, and is named Raia Sultan Mauzor. The lands of Molucca are five in number and are thus name, Tarenate, Tidore, Mutir, Macchian, and Bacchian. Of these, Tarente is the Chiefest. See Page 258.”

“Furthermore, all that is written hereafter of this Kyng and these regions, they learned by information of a Moore that was in the land of Timor. He affirmed the said Kynge owned kynges under his empyre, and hathe a porte in the sea name Canthan. See Page 260.”

West Africa 1743. Year: 1743. This great Historic Map print shows ancient “Aethiopia included West Africa from Gabon in the south to Niger, Mali, and Mauritania in the north.

“The chief city of Ethiope where this great Emperor is resident, is called Amaciz being a fair city, whose inhabitants are of the color of an olive. There are also many other cities, as the city of Saua upon the river of Nilus where Th[e] emperor is accustomed to remain in the former season. There is likewise a great city named Barbaregaf: And Afcon from whence it is said that the Queene of Saba came to Iresulaem to here the wisdom of Salomon. This citie is but little, yet very fare and one of the chief and tributaries to The [e]mperour of Ethiope. In this province are many execdynge higher mountains upon the which is said to be the earthly Paradise: And some say that there are trees of the sun and moon whereof the antiquity maketh mention: yet that none can pass thither by reason of great deserts of a hundredth days journey. Also beyond these mountains is the cape, Buona Speranza. And to have said thus much of Afrike it may suffice. ‘See Page 374.”

1737 map Hase, Johann Matthias, 1684-1742.
“Africa secundum legitimas projectionis stereographicae regulas et juxta recentissimas relationes et observationes in subsidium vocatis quoque veterum Leonis Africani. . . .” Copperplate map, with added color, 45 x 57 cm. [Historic Maps Collection]
“the King being a blacke moor (although he not so blacke as the rest) See page 376.

King Raia Siripada, whose kingdom is detailed In ‘Magellan’s Voyage; the diaries of Antonio Pigafetta’ in the area of Brunei in Borneo; approx 1521


Source:  The First Three English Books On America: ?1511-1555 A.D. : Being C…