England’s Other Countrymen

Black Tudor Society

Onyeka Nubia


A radical resetting of Medieval and Early Modern English History, arguing that in Tudor England people had fluidity in their concepts of ethnicity

The Tudor period remains a source of timeless fascination, with endless novels, TV programmes and films depicting the period in myriad ways. And yet our image of the Tudor era remains overwhelmingly white. This ground-breaking and provocative new book seeks to redress the balance: revealing not only how black presence in Tudor England was far greater than has previously been recognised, but that Tudor conceptions of race were far more complex than we have been led to believe.  

Onyeka Nubia’s original research shows that Tudors from many walks of life regularly interacted with people of African descent, both at home and abroad, revealing a genuine pragmatism towards race and acceptance of difference. Nubia also rejects the influence of the ‘Curse of Ham’ myth on Tudor thinking, persuasively arguing that many of the ideas associated with modern racism are in fact relatively recent developments.

England’s Other Countrymen is a bravura and eloquent forgotten history of diversity and cultural exchange, and casts a new light on our own attitudes towards race.

Author Bio

Onyeka Nubia is a pioneering and internationally renowned historian, writer and presenter committed to the study of comparative histories and intersectionalism. Nubia has been a keynote presenter at numerous venues including the Houses of Parliament and the National Portrait Gallery, and has been a consultant and presenter for television programmes including BBC Two’s History Cold Case and Channel 4’s London’s Lost Graveyard. He is the writer of Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England (2013) and Young Othello (2015).​

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Note on the Text
  • Introduction
  • 1. Imagining Tudor England
  • 2. Beyond our Imaginations
  • 3. Pathology of the Curse of Ham
  • 4. Painting the Blackamoore Black
  • 5. Black Strangers and Slaves turn’d African Neigbours
  • Conclusion


‘One of the most moving aspects of the book is its presentation of ordinary black Tudor lives, in country villages as well as the metropolis. Nubia seeks to restore their place in the story and in the nation.’
Ewan Fernie, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham (Stratford-upon-Avon)

‘An exciting work, well-researched and well-written, and offering a new perspective. It provides evidence not only of the African presence but also demonstrates that Africans were a normal and integrated part of English society.’
Hakim Adi, University of Chichester

‘A fascinating, rigorously researched and readable book restoring the Black presence to early modern British history. Onyeka offers a bold interpretation with significant repercussions for understanding Tudor society, revealing much too about our own times.’
Paul Ward, Edge Hill University


Publication Date: 15 June 2019
352 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786994219
Hardback: 9781786994202
eBook ePub: 9781786994233
eBook PDF: 9781786994226
eBook Kindle: 9781786994240

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