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Black European Nobility Hidden Away


Black Nobility Europe Moor
Moors once ruled parts of southern Europe

A Moor by Juriaen of Streeck (1619-1673). Most people do not realize how many pictures exist of Moors in Europe. Why the love of Moors? Names, family crests, geographical indications, all references to the Moor, according to Codfried.

On the forum someone writes, that this is a picture of a servant.








Black Nobility Europe Moor Head
Moor’s Head

As a response Codfried writes: “Part of the Moritzburg Treasure (Renaissance), , with a gold and silver cup in the form of a Moor’s head, which was used at high nobilty marriages. Why Moor’s head? The Moor was apparently in high regard.”








Black Nobility Europe African Man
African portrait

PORTRAIT OF AN AFRICAN MAN January Mostaert (ca.1474-Haarlem Haarlem 1552/1553) Ca. 1520-1530. A unique 16th-century portrait

A painting of an African in European clothing – with sword – portrayed as a Habsburg-Burgondian nobleman from that period. The self-conscious attitude, clothes and rich attributes demonstrate a successful assimilation of this man within the cultural norms of the European Renaissance. (Research lab Black is beautiful Dutch)

But, the research lab also writes, Africans were in the 16th-century Europe rarely people of distinction. Most of them were imported as slaves in Spain and Portugal. A small number of them were released over the years, but most were employed as servant to Europeans.

Only the Congo, which in the late 15th century was Christianized by the Portuguese, had a special status as a Black kingdom of which the elite was educated in Portugal. Some Congolese made it as scholar, clerk, musician and jester quite far.

Most remained employed in subordinate occupations. In the Netherlands, where the slave status was not recognized, negroes usually came along as servants of Spanish and Portuguese traders.

But why is it so important to show that Black or coloured people were part of the European nobility? Codfried’s motivation is to show that Europe was never as ‘White’ as we have been taught. Black people were always in Europe, even among the European nobility.

Looking at the portraits of those 16th and 17the century Black people in Europe, I wonder what they would think of us now.


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