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AfriGeneas World Research Forum

A Woman Named John Brown

Happy New Year to you, Alva and World Researchers:

I found a fascinating story about a woman named John Brown that will pique everyone's interest. The article is entitled, "John Brown: A Black Female Soldier in the Royal African Company."

The author, Dr. Steve Murdoch from the University of St Andrews in Scotland has written an intriguing profile on a woman of color who "passed as a man" in 1693. John Brown's story includes a description of the slave trade and reminds us that " slaves and free people were a common sight in European towns like Seville, Lisbon, and Valencia. Black Africans had first been brought to London in the mid 1550s, and the black population grew to such an extent that, following a five-year debate on the issue, Elizabeth I of England issued a proclamation in 1601 for the deportation of "Blackamoores." However, England increasingly relied on African trade for profit, and the immigration of Africans continued, either directly from Africa or from the growing black populations in the American colonies. Many of the British nobility purchased black slaves as though they were fashion accessories, a fad that grew after Charles II and his wife, Catherine of Braganza, both bought black servants."

The URL below will take you to Murdoch's well-written, well-documented story of the life and times of John Brown.

Many thanks to Dr. Steve Murdoch for remembering her.

K Wyer Lane

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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