The African Diaspora in England



King Henry VIII; King Henry VII, by Hans Holbein the Younger, circa 1536-1537 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

King Henry VIII; King Henry VII
by Hans Holbein the Younger
circa 1536-1537
NPG 4027

The presence of Africans in England dates back to at least the Roman period when African soldiers who served as part of the Roman army were stationed at Hadrian's Wall during the 2nd century AD. Septimus Severus, the emperor who was born in modern Libya, spent his last three years in Britain before he died in York.

By the time of the Tudors, African men and women were found in the English Royal Courts and African ladies served in the Scottish Court in 1513. 'John Blanke' was a trumpeter in the court of Henry VIII.

Trumpeter

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