Our earliest ancestors in Britain By Boyd Dawkins

William Boyd Dawkins

 

“In the year A.D. 449 certain Englishmen–for they were Englishmen before our England had received its name–came over here from the North of Germany and from the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. They came with their wives; families, and little ones–they brought their England with them; and after a long war of conquest a series of fighting’s and battles–they gradually pushed away farther and farther to the west that population which had been in possession of this country before it was England–during the time in which it was known under the name of “Britain.” It was not till the year 607 that these English men pushed the borders of England westward as far as Chester. Immediately after the fall of Chester those Englishmen who carved out for themselves the kingdom of Northumbria, including Yorkshire, advanced northwards, and conquered this district, which we now know under the name Lancashire.”

“Up to that time the district was as completely a part of Wales as Denbighsire or any other Welsh county is now; and it was merely by a long process of conquest that the English pushed the Britons west and north, until at last they are only to be found in Wales, Cumberland, Westermoreland, the Highlands of Scotland, Cornwall, and part of Devon. The people whom these English displaced were saturated with Roman civilization. They boasted they were citizens of the Roman Empire—Cives Romani. During that long war of invasion by which our ancestors displaced the people who had preceded them in this country, we hear of great outcries as to the ruthless nature of this invasion. Our ancestors were not men of peace in any sense–they were men of war; and they burned and destroyed everything that was Roman, everything that was British, everything that was termed Welsh–for the term “Welsh” we owe to them–they destroyed that civilization utterly by fire and sword. I must now say a word regarding the Roman invasion. The Roman invasion of this country was distinctly analogous to our occupation of India.”

 

“The Romans did not establish great bodies of Italian colonist in this country, like our colonies in America. They merely occupied it as a military colonists; they formed garrisons here and there; they developed trade; they took as much money out of the country as they could by a most oppressive system of taxation; but in exchange for all that they introduced their own laws and system of politics, doing so much the same work that we are doing in India. They did not introduce into this country any new ethnical elements which are traceable in the present population. The Welsh, or “Ancient Britons,” as they are called in books were in possession of this country long before the Romans came here. When we come to analyze the Welsh people, we find there are two distinct types. On the one had we have the ordinary Celt, or Welshman, as we term him— a tall, fair haired, round headed sort of man–and on the other hand we have the small dark Welshman, who is totally different.”

“I wish to call your attention to these small dark Welshman. for although at first blush of it you might think there was nothing very interesting about them, yet before we leave this room I think we shall have reason to believe that there is a great deal of interest attaching to the arrival of these small dark Welshmen in this country, and to the civilization which they brought along with them. Before I put these points before you I must give you an outline of the sort of materials in my possession which will enable me to give you an idea of these things. Outside the historical frontiers, beyond the written record of history, we have a regular series of civilizations established all over Europe. Just on the other side of the historical record we have that civilization which is marked by the knowledge of iron–that i to say, long before the written record existed in this country there was a people here who were acquainted with the knowledge of iron, and such a knowledge necessarily implied a comparatively high civilization. (p. 96-97)

“At the time when Wales was conquered by the Romans we find that Tacitus describes a certain small dark Iberian population, which I have named. At the present time you have merely to go into the market-places of St. Asaph or Denbigh and you will see small dark Welshmen, with black eyes and hair, contrasting in every point with our ordinary ideas of Welshmen. We find traces of these small dark people in the Highlands of Scotland. Here and there one meets with what is called a “dark Highlander” — a small, black, long-headed man– quite differently from ones idea of a Highlander. So in the southern parts of Ireland we meet a race of people identical with small dark Welshmen. (p. 104)

 

Angola Under the Portuguese: The Myth and the Reality

“Freyre and others maintain that there was considerable miscegenation between the Portuguese and the Moors and Jews which reputedly resulted in a Portuguese tolerance of, even preference for, dark complexioned women. This miscegenation, however, may have been more common during the Moorish occupation. Unquestionably the most peaceful and tolerant relations between the Portuguese, Moors, and Jews transpired under the Moorish rule of Portugal.”

“Ironically, Portugal manifested its most intolerant and brutal behavior towards its own ‘infidels’ at the very time the Portuguese were meeting and colonizing the African and Indian ‘infidels’. In fact, prior to the end of the Inquisition in 1769, Jews, Moors, and Negroes were frequently referred to in official documents as racas infectadas (infected races).”

“If there was a legacy of amicability among the Portuguese towards the Moors after seven centuries of contact in Iberia, it was not apparent in their relations with the Moors they encountered in Africa. Beginning with the conquest of the Moroccan coast town of Ceuta in 1415 and until the middle of the eighteenth century, Portugal was engaged in almost constant warfare with the Moors. At times these battles reached the proportion of a holy crusade; personal accounts of some of the battles reveal that the Portuguese soldiers often made no distinction between combatants and civilians since none of the infidels was deemed worthy of human consideration.”

 “A richly detailed narration of these voyages by Henry’s personal chronicler, Gomes Eanes de Azurara, recounts the initiation of the African slave trade with the exons of Antao Goncalvez and Nuno Tristao to Senegal in 1441 and 1442 respectively. By 1446 there were nearly a thousand African slaves in Portugal. Azurara, who witnessed the return of many of the early slave ships, described the anguish which overcame the Africans as families and friends were separated indiscriminately, ‘faces bathed in tears…[while] others struck their faces with the palms of their hands, throwing themselves upon the ground.”

 “Slavery, however, was not the only objective of the Portuguese explorations. They also sought minerals, ivory, spices, and souls as they searched for a land or sea route to the fabled riches of the Orient. Their experience in the Maghreb provided them with important knowledge which fed these ambitions: they learned of gold on the Guinea coast which was beyond the control of their Muslims enemies, and of Arab navigation on the East African coast, confirming that the continent was surrounded by water.”

 “By 1471 Portuguese sailors had arrived in Ghana and found it so rich in gold that a decade later they built their first fort in West Africa (Elmina), in order to deter other European explorers from following in their wake. Another fort was built at Benin (Nigeria), where Portugal found not only more wealth but a well-developed kingdom which greatly impressed the crown. The Portuguese and Benin kings exchanged gifts and diplomatic missions and the latter’s son even adopted Christianity. Further down the coast, along the northern frontiers of Angola, the Portuguese encountered in 1482 the undisputed leader among the coastal states of Central Africa–the vast Kongo Kingdom. In a letter directred to Joao III (1526) Afonso wrote, ‘there are many traders in all corners of the country. They bring ruin to the country. Everday people are enslaved and kidnapped, even nobles, even members of the King’s own family.” 

“Portugal, the native inhabitants of Portugal were influenced and shaped by a variety of cultural, ethnic, racial and religious groups. From the arrival of the Phoenicians in the eighth century BC until the final expulsion of the Moors in the thirteenth century AD, the Iberian tribes absorbed at least seven major civilizations including the Greeks, Celts, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. Each left an indelible mark on the emerging Portuguese society.”

“Unfortunately, there is scanty information concerning miscegenation in Portugal during the period when blacks formed a part of its population. In fact, most histories of Portugal contain little more than passing references to the presence of African slaves. Yet, African slaves constituted an important segment of Portuguese society, being an integral part of the labor force, for more than three centuries–long than the period of slavery in the United States.”

“In a 1533 letter written from Evora, a Flemish priest wrote, undoubtedly exaggerating that ‘slaves were swarming all over. All the work is done by captive blacks and Moors. Portugal is being glutted with this race. I’m beginning to believe that the slaves in Lisbon outnumber the Portuguese. Actually, from about the middle of the sixteenth century until at least 1620 approximately 10 percent of Lisbon’s 100,000 inhabitants were Africans.”

“Although slavery was abolished in Portugal (not in the colonies in 1761, as late as the mid-nineteenth century Lichnowsky reported seeing ‘thousands of blacks on the streets in Lisbon’, noting that they were not treated as men by the Portuguese ‘but as an inferior race of domestic animals’.”

 Source: Angola Under the Portuguese: The Myth and the Reality By Gerald J. Bender

 

The Spanish Conquest in America: and its Relation to the History of Slavery and to the Government of Colonies: Volume I

“As to the Canary islands “Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Genoese, Normans, Portuguese, and Spaniards of every province (Aragonese, Castilians, Galicians, Biscayans, Andalusians) have all made their appearance, in these islands.* The. Carthaginians are said to have discovered them and to have reserved them as an asylum in case of extreme danger to the state. Sertorius, the Roman general, who partook the fallen fortunes of Marius, is said to have meditated retreat to these “islands of the blessed,”…

“We learn that Prince Henry had conversed much with those who had made voyages in different parts of the world, and particularly with Moors from Fez and Morocco, so that he came to hear of the Azenegues, a people bordering on the country of the negroes of Jalof. Such was the scanty information of a positive kind which the prince had to guide his endeavors. Then there were the suggestions and the inducements which to a willing mind were to be found in the shrewd conjectures of learned men, the fables of chivalry, and, perhaps, in the confused records of forgotten knowledge once possessed by Arabic geographers. The story of Prester John, which had spread over Europe since the Crusades, was well known to the Portuguese prince. A mysterious voyage of a certain wandering saint, called Saint Brendan, was not without its influence upon an enthusiastic mind. Moreover, there were many sound motives urging the prince to maritime discovery, among which a desire to fathom the power of the Moors, a wish to find a new outlet for traffic, and a longing to spread the blessings of the faith, may be enumerated.”

“In the course of Prince Henry life he was three times in Africa, carrying on a war against the Moors; and at home, besides the care and trouble which the state of Portuguese court and government must have given him.”

“A contemporary chronicler AZURARA, whose work has recently been discovered and published, tells the story more simply, and merely states that these captains were young men, who after the ending of the Ceuta campaign, were as eager for employment as the prince for discovery, and that they were ordered on a voyage having for its object the general molestation of the Moors, as well as that of making discoveries beyond Cape Name.”

“In 1442, the Moors whom Antonio Goncalvez had captured in the previous year promised to give black slaves in ransom for themselves, if he would take them back to their own country; and the prince, approving of this, ordered Goncalvez to set sail immediately, “insisting as the foundation of the matter than if Goncalvez should not be able to obtain so many negroes (as had been mentioned) in exchange for the three Moors, yet that he should take them; for, whatever number he should get, he would gain souls, because they (the negroes) might be converted to the faith, which could not be managed with the Moors. Goncalves obtained ten black slaves, some gold dust, a target of buffalo hide, and some ostriches’ eggs, in exchange for two of the Moors, and, returning with his cargo, excited general wonderment on account of the color of the slaves. These, then, we may presume, were the first black slaves that made their appearance in the Penninsula since the extinction of the old slavery.” * BARROS does not say of what race these slaves were, but merely calls them” almas.” Faria v Sousa gives them the name of”Moors,” a very elastic word. I imagine that they were Azenegues.”

“In 1444, a company was formed at Lagos, who received permission from the prince to undertake discovery along the coast of Africa, paying him a certain portion of any gains which they might make. This has been considered as a company founded for carrying on the slave-trade. The expedition accomplished, successfully attacking the inhabitants of the islands Nar and Tider, and to bring back about two hundred slaves. Prince Henry awarded Lancarote large honors for this and received his own fifth of the slaves. We have an account from an eye-witness of the partition of the slaves brought back by Lancarote, which, as it is the first transaction of the kind on record, is worthy of notice, more especially as it may enable the reader to understand the motives of the prince, and of other men of those times. “
“From Ca da Mosta the reader at once learns the state of things with regard to the slave-trade. The Portuguese factory at Arguim was the headquarters of the trade. Thither came all kinds of merchandise, and gold and slaves were taken back in return. The “Arabs” of that district (Moors the Portuguese would have called them) were the middlemen in this affair. They took their Barbary horses to the negro country, and “there bartered with the great men for slaves,” getting from ten to eighteen slaves for each horse. They also brought silks of Granada and Tunis, and silver, in exchange for which they received slaves and gold. These Arabs, or Moors, had a place of trade of their own, called Hoden, behind Cape Blanco. There the slaves were brought, “from whence, Ca da Mosto says, they are sent to the mountains of Barka, and from thence to Sicily, part of them are also brought to Tunis, and along the coast of Barbary, and the rest to Argin, and sold to the licensed Portuguese. Every year between seven and eight hundred slaves are sent from Argin to Portugal. Before this trade was settled,” says Ca da Mosto, “the Portuguese used to seize upon the Moors themselves (as appears occasionally from the evidence that has before referred to), and also the Azengues who live father toward the south; but now peace is restored to all, and the Infante suffers no farther damage to be done to those people. He is in hopes that by conversing with Christians, they may easily be brought over to the Romish faith, as they are not, as yet, well established in that of Mohammed, of which they know nothing but hearsay.” 

Islam And The English Enlightenment, 1670–1840 By Humberto Garcia

(L to R) Bushra Rahman15, Muktha Sikdar14 and Rahayla Kurshid 14 from Camden School for girls who had a photo taken with The Queen at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill, London which were officially Inaugurated by the Queen. * The memorial is to recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by Ethnic service men and women.

A dedicated collector of manuscripts on the Islamic sciences, theology, poetry, music, history and literature, Shairani used Stubbe’s manuscript as a political tool for bolstering Muslim nationalist sentiments, in the India Punjab and Abroad, and opposing the anti-Islamic Orientalism that facilitated imperial rule in the nineteenth and twentieth century British India.”

“In his introduction, Shairani is explicit about his anti-imperialist political theology. Reflecting on Stubbe’s political career and his historical account of how the Roman empire imposed the Trinitarian heresy on primitive Christians, Shairani writes, “To us, who are Muslims, these admissions are of deep significance, especially at the present time, when England is sending a army of missionaries to cajole us into accepting these very doctrines [Trinitariannism]” (xiii).”

“His appendix to the manuscript notes that Orientalism which he calls “hostile propaganda” is responsible for the Crusades, the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, and “last, not least, the modern attempt to rob the Muslims of their faith, in order to lure them to the belief in the doctrines of Trinitarianism. (238)”

“In Shairani’s imagination, the Trinitarian heresy enabled Western imperialism’s missionary agenda in fourth century Roman Europe and twentieth century British India. Implicitly, he interprete Stubbe’s account as a corrective to this repressive and faulty political theology, which was enshrined in late Victorian and Edwardian definitions of a progressive Christian modernity.”

Source: Islam and the English Enlightenment, 1670–1840  By Humberto Garcia