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About Black Diaspora and Germany

Black Diaspora and Germany Black Diaspora and Germany 1 - Persons of African descent have been present in Europe throughout the past millennium. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Africans crossed the Mediterranean to Spain, Sicily, and Italy or made their way to Europe via the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire. In later centuries, the system of transatlantic trade brought black people from the different regions of the Americas to Europe. 2 - In Central Europe, African ?court moors? became increasingly present during the Early Modern Period and were an integral part of courtly representation. As a result of exchange processes between Europe, Africa, and the West Indies, the social roles of blacks in Europe and European discourses on blacks diversified over time. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, an increasing number of black Europeans lived in middle-class households, especially those of retired colonial officials, plantation owners or merchants residing in Europe. Others lived independently as seamen or as guild members. 3 - Transatlantic chattel slavery, however, fundamentally reconfigured Afro-European relations and transformed perceptions of black people throughout the Atlantic World. Over time, black people were increasingly referred to as ?slaves? or ?negroes? instead of ?moors,? an older term associated with, among other things, images of brave warriors that derived from the presence of black soldiers in the armies of the Islamic Empire on the Iberian Peninsula and humanist images of a Christian ?land of the moors? ruled by a mythical Prester John in Ethiopia. 4 - By the early nineteenth century, racist views on blacks had found broad public acceptance in Europe. Scientific racism, a branch of ethnology that began to infiltrate Western science from the 1840s onward, further consolidated notions of black inferiority and was widely used to justify the continued enslavement of African peoples. Simultaneously, proslavery arguments were vehemently challenged by Enlightenment ideas of human equality, which gained broader significance on both sides of the Atlantic through the rise of various abolitionist and revolutionary movements. This dialectical contest between racial egalitarianism and white supremacy persisted well into the early twentieth century, when the latter reemerged forcefully in the guise of European imperialism. 6 - This website Black Diaspora and Germany, 1450-1914 will retrace these processes of change and revaluation from the eleventh century to the beginning of World War I. Particular emphasis will be laid on the interactions between blacks of various origins (the Americas, the Caribbean, Byzantine Empire, Africa, or born in Europe) and people in the German-speaking parts of Europe.
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