England’s African towns

The UK’s major towns and cities are famed for their diverse non-indigenous populations. According to the Office of National Statistics’ 2011 census records that 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.

Queen Charlotte was the first Queen of England of African descent. Image captured from National Museum Cardiff

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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