Iberian Moors migrated into West Africa 1492

Moor, 1) Muslim of North Africa. Although often assumed to be a black race, in fact, the Moors were of Berber and Arab descent, mixed with considerable Negroid and Iberian blood. The word probably derives from Mauri, L. by way of Gr. for ‘dark men.’ Their native lands constituted parts of Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania. One theory is that the name originally derives from Berber Amazigh, ‘freemen,’ referring to their nomadic existence, and in Greek times came to mean anyone with dark skin. By the Middle Ages the term came to be applied to any Muslims (similarly, all Europeans were called Franks in the Mohammadean world). Since Moors were thought of as being dark skinned, the word was also used generally to apply to blacks, although light-skinned Moors were well known. The word ‘blackamoor’ was also common, which implies a distinction from lighter-skinned Moors.

In any case, attitudes to race were much different then because there had been so little direct contact between the population of England and the ‘exotic races. There was also no long history of the disgusting racist theories which still burden the modern world. There were celebrity Moors in London, but the overall awareness would be of a faraway people, who to a greater or lesser degree were allied with the enemies of Christendom. After their early history (see Mauritania), the Moors were overrun by the Arabs in the 7th c., who replaced their religion and language and formed a dynamic culture. In the 8th c. the Moors defeated the Visigoths and conquered Spain.

Their attempt to move north into France was turned back by Charles Martel in 732, though they conquered Sicily in 827. Gradually the Christian reconquest drove them back until the only Moorish stronghold in Spain, Granada, fell in 1492.“The Iberian Moors, who had considerably intermarried, returned to Africa where they were known as Andalusians, and scattered over the enormous range of the Moors, from the Mediterranean to the Senegal river, and from the Atlantic to Timbuktu.” 

Source:  The Shakespeare Name Dictionary By J. Madison Davis, Daniel A. Frankforter

“Ever since the Andalusians had turned on alMutawakkil, however, al-Mansur had held them in suspicious respect, even going so far as to have a spy monitor them at the Battle of Wadi al-Makazin. After having their leader, al-Dughali, disposed of he retained substantial Andalusian troops, but drew his senior commanders from the ranks of the renegados, who commanded what was essentially a standing professional army of twenty-six thousand troops, with another twenty-five thousand scattered throughout the country.  Smith, Ahmad al-Mansur, 52. This of course changed over time. By 1602, according to Weston F. Cook, something resembling a standing national army consisted of some fifty thousand men under al-Mansur’s direct command stationed around Marrakech. Discrete units made up of Turks, Algerians, and Andalusians remained, with commanders drawn from their ranks and well as from those of renegados. Most of the cavalry were Moroccans organized by region or as jaysh tribes. By the end of his reign al-Mansur had also introduced black Sudanese slaves to the army. Cook, The Hundred Years War, 261.”

Source: MOROCCO IN THE EARLY ATLANTIC WORLD, 1415-1603 A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History By Earnest W. Porta, Jr., J.D


The word “Moor” is older than “Negro” according to Century dictionary & cyclopedia By Benjamin Eli Smith


“In the Century dictionary and cyclopedia By Benjamin Eli Smith  the terms Moor and Negro are found.  Moor is defined on Page 3852 Moor, n. [Earl mod. E. also Moore, More; <ME. More, Moore, Moore = D. Moor = , MLG. Mor (ef. equiv. MLG, Morian = Dan. and Sw. Morian, Dan. also Maurer) = F. More, also Muare = Pr. Mor = Sp. Moro = Dan. and Sw. Morian, Dan. also Maurer) = F. More, also Maure = Pr. Mor = Sp. Moro = Pg. Mouro = It.  Moro, < L. Maurus, M.L. also Morus <Gr. Maupoc, a Moor; perhaps <……., dark (see amaurosis); but perhaps the name was of foreign origin. Cf. blackamoor. Hence Morian, Moresque, Morisco, morris.] One of a dark race dwelling in Barbary in northern Africa. They derive their name from the ancient Mauri or Mauritanians (See Mauritanian), but the present Moors are a  mixed race, chiefly Arab and Mauritanian origin. The name is applied especially to the dwellers in the cities. The Arabic conquerors of Spain were called Moors. The folk of that Country be blacke now, and ore black than in the other parts; and there ben ckept Moures. Manderville, Travels P. 146″



“When we turn to the definition for Negro we find negro (ne’ gro), n. and a. [= F. negre O E. ne- ger, now nigger = D. Gr. Dan. Sw. neger = Buss. negru: see nigger^), < Sp. Pg. It. negro, black, as a noun, negro, m., negra. f., a black person, a negro; It. also nero = Pr. negre, nier = OF. negre, nigre, necre, ner, neir, F. noir, black, < L. niger (nigr-), black, dark, dusk, applied to the night, the sky, a storm, etc., to pitch, ete., to ivy, etc., to the complexion (‘dark’), etc., and also to the black people of Africa, etc. (but the ordinary terms for ‘ African negro ‘ or ‘ African ‘ were ethiops and Afer); also, fig., sad, mourn ful, gloomy, ill-omened, fatal, etc. Cf. Skt. nig, night; but whether Skt. nig, night, is related to nahta, night, or either to L. niger, black, is not clear. From L. niger are also ult. E. nigrescent, nigritude, Nigella, niello, anneal1 (in part), etc.”

The words Moor*, blackamoor, in the same sense, are much older in E. ] I. n. ; pi. negroes (-groz). A black man: specifically, one of a race of men characterized by black skin and hair of a woolly or crisp nature. Negroes are distinguished from the other races by various other peculiarities — such as the projection of the visage in advance of the forehead; the prolongation of the upper and lower jaws; the small facial angle; the flatness of the forehead and of the hinder part of the head; the short, broad, and flat nose; and the thick projecting lips.

The negro race is generally regarded as comprehending the native inhabitants of Sudan, Senegambia, and the region southward to the vicinity of the equator and the great lakes, and their descendants in America and elsewhere; in a wider sense it is used to comprise also many other tribes further south, as the Zulus and Kafirs. The word negro is often loosely applied to other dark or black-skinned races, and to mixed breeds.

As designating a “race,” it is sometimes written with a capital. Toward the south of this region Is the kyngedome of Guinea, with Senegal, Iaiofo, Gambra, and many other regions of the blacke Moores called Ethiopians or Negros, all which are watered with the river Negro, called in olde tyme Niger R. Eden. See First Three English Books on America [(ed. ArberX p. 374. H. a. Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of black men or negroes: as negro blood; negro dances. It is often asked what Races are Negro, as the meaning of the term is not well defined. . . .The word is not a National appellation but denotes a physical type, of which the tribes In North Guinea are the representatives. When these characteristics are not all present, the Race is not Negro, though black and woolly-haired. R. N. Oust, Mod. Langs, of Africa, p. 53.

See The Century dictionary and cyclopedia By Benjamin Eli Smith