Handbook of North American Indians

I tried to authenticate the above citation floating on Facebook, but I could not. What i did find was that page 290 refers to the Delaware Nanticoke Indians who at one point identified as Moors, but there is no general statement that states” That among the reputed ancestors of the Aboriginal American Indian population (Natives) are Moors and Turks. The citation above also fails to identify which Handbook of North American Indians the citation is alleged to have been taken from, as there are several Handbooks discussing different regions of America.

“Although the native people initially showed a desire to deal peacefully with the intruders, contact inevitably led to conflict. …  the Spaniards’ view of the Indians was strongly influenced by previous experiences with the Moors of Spain and the Aztecs and warlike Chichimecs of central and northern Mexico.”

Source: Handbook of North American Indians: Southwest

“The pahkome were divided into two groups—the Moors and the Christians; and the fiestas were organized into two distinct, but duplicate and articulating, parts, associated with the colors red (Moors) and blue (Christians).” 

Source: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 10



“As America sought to assimilate American Indians, intermarriages became more acceptable and frequent. … and Creoles, Dominickers, Irish Creek, Issues, Lumbees (Croatans), Moors, and Red Bones (Price 1953; Gilbert 1946; Berry 1963).”

Source: Handbook of North American Indians: Indians in contemporary society



Afer, Indian, and Aethiops as Equivalents of Maurus

“Although Aethiops is by far the most common generic word which the Greeks and Romans used to designate a Negroid type, Afer (African), Indus (Indian), and Maurus (Moor) are at times obviously equivalents of Ethiopian. The Moretum passages uses Afra of a woman about whose racial identity there can be no doubt. This usage of Afra is evidence that Afer which generally indicates African or Libyan origin, may refer also to a racial type that is unquestionably Negroid.”

“In spite of a common ancient confusion between east and south, both Vergial and Ovid seem to have applied Indi to Ethiopians, that is, African Negroes. The former refers to the Nile pouring down from the colored Indians; the latter to Perseus’ bringing Andromeda from the black Indians. Ab Indis, appearing in both cases at the end of the dactylic hexameter, seems to be a poetical tag, a convenient substitute for an intended Aethiopibus, metrically unsuited.”

“Mauri was also used at times both as the poetical equivalent of Aethiopes and as a broad term which included Ethiopians. S. Weinstock notes that the meaning of Mauri is not sufficiently clear and considers impossible the association which some ancients made between Mauri and the color of the people or the words for black. Manilius, for example, says that Mauretania received its name from the color of its inhabitants.”

“Further, Isidore preserves a similar tradition and adds that the Greeks designated nigrum by….. Martial’s retorto crime Maurus, a phrase clearly suggesting the kinky or frizzy hair associated with the Negro, however, and perhaps Juvenal’s nigri…Mauri provides classical corroboration of a tradition which Weinstock rejects. Claudian speaks of all the Moorish tribes (“omnes Maurorum… populos”) who lived beneath Atlas and of those whom the excessive heat of the sun cut off in the interior of Africa. Early Christian literature, as Den Boer has emphasized, also uses …in the sense of Ethiopian.”

Working Title/Artist: Neck Amphora: Hermes, Apollo, Leto
Department: Greek & Roman Art
HB/TOA Date Code:
Working Date:
photography by mma 1986, transparency 4D
scanned and retouched by film and media (jnc) 12_5_07


“Most pertinent in this connection is the phrase ……(an Ethiopians black as soot), which has the proverbial force of the classical….. Further, a sixth-century A.D. papyrus from Hermopolis pertaining to the sale of a twelve-year-old girl seems to the point the practice of equating Μαυρός and Aethiop. In short, the Greeks and Romans on occasion grouped colored peoples together loosely on the basis of color and, ignoring certain other physical characteristics, used Maurus a comprehensive for various colored peoples of Africa; and from the first century, A.D. onwards at times also used Maurus as an equivalent of Aethiops.”

“On the basis of the Greco-Roman usage of Aethiops, we may safely assume that bearers of that cognomen were of a physical type denoted by that word. That Meroe should have been given as a name to some Ethiopian slaves is what would be expected in light of the importance of the Ethiopian capital of the same name. Such a practice is suggested by an epigram in which Ausonius referred to a tippler who received her name Meroe, not from the black color of those born in Nile-washed Meroe, but from her capacity to consume pure wine, unmixed with water.”

“Although the Meroe in question may have owed her name to a capacity for imbibing her drinks straight, there is no reason to doubt that other Meroe’s were so named because of their black color and origin in Nilotic Meroe. The association of After and Maurus with unquestionably Negroid types suggest that cognomina Afer and Maurus, though frequently given to non-Negroid types, might also have been used of Ethiopians. An interesting commentary on Maurus as a cognomen for dark persons is found in Ausonius’ observation that his grandmother was given te name Maura by her childhood friends because of her dark complexion.”

“In consideration of the Greek and Roman acquaintance with the Negroid type as revealed by the literary evidence, and in view of the use of the word Ethiopian, it is reasonable to assume that a given passage refers to a Negroid type in the following instances: (2) whenever a consideration of the evidence indicates that Afer, Indus, or Maurus is the equivalent of Aethiops; (4) whenever an individual is designated as belonging to one of the several Ethiopian tribes such as Blemmyes, Megabari, Troglodytes, Nubae, et cetera.”

Source: Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience By Frank M. Snowden

“Black” in the study Black Lives in the English Archives, 1500–1677 Imprints of the Invisible IMTIAZ HABIB is thus “Negro,” “Ethiopian,” “Egyptian,” “moor”/“blackamoor,” “barbaree”/“barbaryen,” and “Indian” (including orthographic variations thereof for all of them). The study’s use of the word also includes geographic names by themselves, such as Guyana or Guinea, where for the early modern English they function openly or implicitly as regional identifers of people of color. Anthony Gerard Barthelemy in Black Face, Maligned Race (pp. 1–17), Michael Neill in “‘Mulattoes,’ ‘Blacks,’ and ‘Indian Moors’” (pp. 273–77), and Margo Hendricks in “Surveying Race” (pp. 15–20) all offer useful demonstrations of the propriety of adhering to a taxonomic looseness in tracing sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English constructions of colored people. At the same time, hidden in the vast archives of parish churches within London and without, all through the Tudor and Stuart reigns, are voluminous cryptic citations of “nigro,” “neger,” “neygar,” “blackamore,” “blackamoor,” “moor,” “barbaree,” “barbaryen,” “Ethiopian,” and “Indian.” The discussions of the records are organized in five chapters dealing with records of black people in early sixteenth-century Britain, in Elizabethan London, in seventeenth-century London, and elsewhere in England, with the last two chapters examining records of black people in the English provinces, and East Indians and other people of color in London and in the countryside.”

Source:  Three principal tribes of Aethiopians, the Hesperi, Garamantes, and Indians

Philostratus claimed that “The Indians are the wisest of mankind. The Ethiopians are a colony of them”. Source: Philostratus Vit. Apol. II:33f.  

Source: Edmund Dene Morel, pages 141–142




History of Brazil, Volume 3


“The Moors of Morocco at this time took from the Portuguese the last of their possessions in that part of Africa. In the noonday of Portugal, her best historians found it necessary to distribute her history into four distinct portions,…so extensive was the empire which she had established in Africa, Asia, and America.”

“The history of Portuguese Africa, (or that part of it which had been of most importance,) was now closed by the fall of Mazagam; and it ended in a happier hour than it began. The immediate consequence was the most advantageous change in the commercial system of Brazil.”

“Hitherto Portugal had been in a state of permanent war with the Moors, and for that reason, the Brazillian trade was carried on by annual fleets,…..the prohibition of single ships, which had commenced during the Dutch war, having been continued in force, first because of the Buccaneers, and their successors the Pirates, and when those common enemies of all mankind had been exterminated, then on account of the Barbary cruizers.”

“Peace was now made with Morocco when there was no longer an old point of honor to impede it, and Oeyars immediately declared, that as soon as the fleets from Baia and the Rio should have returned, the trade with those ports might be carried on by single ships.”

“The inhabitants raised cotton and provisions and were well supplied with fish. Some twenty leagues to the east, the town of Almeirim stood in a commanding situation, at the mouth of the Paru, one of the points which the Dutch occupied when they attempted to establish themselves upon the great river: the remains of their works still make part of the fort.”

“Its population in 1784, was wholly Indian and amounted to about three hundred persons. They cultivated mandioc, maize, rice, pulse, and cotton. The women, at their ordinary occupations, were naked from the waist upward; but when they went to Church they wore a shift and linen petticoat, tied up their hair, and adorned their necks with a bentinho.”

“There were two smaller towns, and two river parishes, (so those parishes are called where the population has no fixed and central point,) between Almeirim and Mazagam. That place was losing its inhabitants because of its unhealthy situation, which proved fatal even to persons brought thither from the coast of Morocco.”

“Below Mazagam was Villa Vistoza da Madre de Deos,…the Beautiful Town of the Mother of God! It ill-deserved this lofty appellation. Three hundred families were planted there by the Government: some of them were good colonist from the Azores, but the greater number were criminals, foreign soldiers, and subjects taken from the house of correction: about nine-tenths of this hopeful population speedily forsook the place. It is on the left bank of the Anauirapucu, a considerable river, seven leagues from its mouth…”

Source: History of Brazil, Volume 3 By Robert Southey

Mexican Moor History

Qouting Dr. Aisha Khan author of Islam and the Americas (New World Diasporas):

“The Spanish conquistador Hernon Cortez arrived in Mexico in 1519 and referred to the Aztecs he encountered as Moors, and one priest in Cortez part said that the indigenous peoples of northern Mexico reminded him of al Arabes or Arabs, Spaniards called Aztec and Inca temples mosques and drew parallels between some Indian and Islamic rituals that involved animal sacrifice.” 

As late as 1572, a Jesuit explorer informed his ruler that the natives were ‘for the most part like the Moors of Granada’. Source: Moors in Mesoamerica: The Impact of AlAndalus in the New World by Simon Shaw

Spoken proverbially of Pedro Carbonero, who penetrated into the land of the Moors, but failed to return, and perished there with all his followers.”

Source: The True History of the Conquest of New Spain

“Eight centuries of Muslim rule left a deep cultural legacy on Spain, one evident in clear and sometimes surprising ways during the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the chronicler of Hernán Cortés’s conquest of Meso-America, admired the costumes of native women dancers by writing ‘muy bien vestidas a su manera y que parecían moriscas’, or ‘very well-dressed in their own way, and seemed like Moorish women’. The Spanish routinely used ‘mezquita’ (Spanish for mosque) to refer to Native American religious sites. Travelling through Anahuac (today’s Texas and Mexico), Cortés reported that he saw more than 400 mosques.”

Source: Muslims of early America

Retreat of Hernando Cortes form Tenochtitlan, Mexico, 1520. Hernando Cortes (1485-1547) Spanish conquistador, led an expedition to Mexico, landing in 1519. Although the conquistadors numbered only some 500 men, an Aztec prophecy regarding the return of the god Quetzlcoatl, whom the natives believed Cortes resembled, enabled them to reach the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, which they then captured, imprisoning the Emperor Montezuma II. The city later revolted, forcing Cortes and his men to retreat. The following year, however, Cortes returned, recapturing Tenochtitlan and overthrowing the Aztec empire. From the British Embassy Collection, Mexico City. (Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)

During the time of war, those Indians who were made prisoners were considered slaves, and were called Indios de guerra, just the same as when the Spaniards made war upon the Moors of Barbary, the slaves, in that case, being called Berberiscos. Then there were the ransomed slaves, Indios de rescate, as they were called, who, being originally slaves in their own tribe, were delivered by cacique of that tribe, or by other Indians, in lieu of tribute. Upon this it must be remarked that the word slave meant a very different thing in Indian language from what it did in Spanish language, and certainly did not exceed in signification the word vassal. A slave in an Indian tribe, as LAS CASA remarks, possessed his house, his hearth, his private property, his farm, his wife, his children, and his liberty, except when at certain states times his lord had need of him to build his house, or labor upon a field, or at other similar things which occurred at stated intervals. This statement is borne out by a letter addressed to the Emperor from the auditors of Mexico, in which they say that, “granted that among the Indians there were slaves, the one servitude is very different from the other. The Indians, treated their slaves as relations and vassals, the Christians as dogs.”

Source: The Spanish Conquest in America: And Its Relation to the History of Slavery and to the Government of the Colonies Volume 3 By Sir Arthur Helps

“In 1878, his attention as directed to its former presence at the Belvidere Museum by a notice in Baron von Sacken’s descriptive catalog of the Imperial Ambras collection printed in Vienna in 1855, wherein, among rare objects from various parts of the world, it is mentioned as follows: “No. 3—A Mexican head-dress about 3 ft. in height composed of magnificent green feathers studded with small plates of gold. This specimen was termed in the inventory of 1596 ‘a Moorish hat.”

“Guided by this note, Herr von Hochstetter with the assistance of Dr. Ilg, the custodian of the Ambras collection, found the precious relic and rescued it from an obscure corner of a show-case where it hung, folded together, next to a medieval bishop’s mitre and surrounded by sundry curiosities from North America, China and Sunda Islands.”

“On folio 472 of the ancient document, it is cataloged with other objects in feather-work contained in a chest (No. 9) and is described as a Moorish hat of beautiful, long, lustrous green and gold-hued feathers, bedecked above with white, red and blue feathers and gold rosettes and ornaments. In front, on the forehead, it has a beak of pure gold. The term Moorish, as here applied can scarcely be regarded as a deceptive one inasmuch as “Montezuma, the king of Temistitan and Mexico,” is subsequently designated as “a Moorish king” in this same inventory of 1596. (See p.9)”

“It is interesting to note the gradual changes that occur in the wording of the subsequent periodical official registrations of this “Moorish hat. In 1613 its description was faithfully reproduced. In 1621 the word “Indian” was substituted for “Moorish:” with this single alteration, the original text was transcribed in 1730.”

“In 1788, however, a remarkable transformation was effected, the hat became “an apron” and the official record reads An Indian apron of long green feathers. It is garnished above with a narrow band of white feathers, followed by a broad one of green, then there is a narrow stripe of red and broad one of blue. The bands are studded with crescents or horseshoes, small circular plates and other than gold pieces. The old inventory designates this object as an Indian hat.
“The Inventory of 1596 affords the corroborative proof of a previously existing method of labeling the articles in the Arch-ducal Museum by the reference (after its brief entry) to ” a slip of paper attached to it,” for further details concerning the history of an Indian axe ” that had belonged to a Moorish king. This weapon belonged to Montezuma II, king of Temistitan and Mexico.” It was sent by the Spanish Captain Ferdinand Cortes to the Pope whence it came as a present to Archduke Ferdinand.”
Northeast exposure of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Considered to be the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

“The blurring of Indian and Moor was not limited to architectural expression but also arose in dramaturgy.  A play entitled ‘The Conquest of Jerusalem’, organized by the mendicant orders in Tlaxcala in 1539, saw a re-enactment of an epic battle between Christian and Muslim in which Fray Motolinía informs us ‘troops from Castilla y León made up the vanguard, with real weapons and standards’ alongside Indians. In also casting the natives as Moors, the Spanish reveal much of how Islam continued to affect them in the New World.

Source: Simon Shaw Moors in Mesoamerica: The Impact of AlAndalus in the New World

                  Capilla Real, Cholula
“This popular genre of play has been analyzed by historians as mere cultural hangovers from Spain’s Islamic past; however it can also provide further insights into the preoccupations of the Franciscans through their casting of actors and plot, as well as emphasizing the need to assess Spanish behavior in the context of their experiences with Muslims. The continuing tendency for Christians to evoke their Moorish rivals in a range of mediums in the New World reveals the importance of Al-Andalus in the struggle to interpret the nature of the Indians as well as their primary goal of liberating Jerusalem. Clearly, the ‘discourse of similitude’, favoured by both missionary and soldier alike, is a theme that is not confined to the writings of the Spanish but to a wider range of cultural products than historians have so far admitted. Thus, dramaturgy and architecture can be used to highlight the way in which the Spanish treated Moors and Indians as the same race.”