England’s African towns

The UK’s major towns and cities are famed for their diverse non-indigenous populations.

Queen Charlotte of England was of African descent captured from © National Museum Cardiff

In the Office of National Statistics’ latest census in 2011, almost 100,000 Ghanaians are living in Britain with big cities such as London, Birmingham, and Manchester having significant populations.

But it has not always been the way. According to historian Onyeka, author of ‘Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, their Presence, Status and Origins’ , the African presence in England between 1485 and 1603 can be traced to more provincial parts of the land.

His evidence is based on more than two decades of research and over 250,000 documents and artefacts mainly from Tudor England.

Onyeka argues that Africans had a rich and diverse presence in Tudor England that transcends the familiar and singular slavery story.

In this podcast segment, Onyeka highlights the strong African presence that unlikely rural towns such as Lowestoft in Suffolk, and port cities such as Plymouth in Devon, and Portsmouth in Hampshire, had during Tudor times here:

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