Abstract

Critics have long used Queen Elizabeth's public letters ordering the deportation of "blackamoors" as evidence of the extent to which racial prejudice pervaded the early modern English state. Uncovering an otherwise unattended history, I argue that the targeted subjects were West Africans captured from Spanish New World settlements and important primarily as "Spanish" subjects. Elizabeth defends her proposals by categorically derogating "black" subjects. But while her letters articulate a color-based racial discrimination, they also expose political and economic factors that complicate and compromise those terms, making clear that race is not her only or primary concern.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 305-322
Launched on MUSE
2006-05-18
Open Access
No
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