Black Africans, a Black Legend, and Challenges of interpretations.pdf

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Black Africans in the British ImaginationSmith, Cassander L.Published by Louisiana State University PressSmith, Cassander L.Black Africans in the British Imagination: English Narratives of the Early Atlantic World.Louisiana State University Press, 2016.Project MUSE.muse.jhu.edu/book/49177.For additional information about this bookAccess provided at 16 Jan 2020 22:38 GMT from Liberty University
INTRODUCTIONBlack Africans, a Black Legend, and Challengesof RepresentationThis book examines the extent to which the physical presence of blackAfricans in the early Atlantic world disrupted English responses to Span-ish imperialism.1It maps a course from sixteenth-century West Africa to sev-enteenth-century New Spain and traces the growing tension between Spainand England, fighting for imperial dominance in the Americas. Due to Spain’smore lucrative start in 1492, England played catch-up, consequently findingitself responding to Spanish imperialism through a bevy of propagandisticliterature designed to discredit Spain as a vile, inhumane empire, earning thelatter nation the infamous moniker of “Black Legend.”2English travelers tothe Americas were key in producing some of the most widely circulated infor-mation about Spain’s alleged brutalities.3In narratives about their encounters,those travelers often described the manner in which conquistadores burned,hanged, whipped—physically tortured—native populations to subdue andenslave them. The torture reportedly was so atrocious that one of Spain’s ownDominican friars, Bartolomé de las Casas, advocated the use of sub-SaharanAfricans as slaves to alleviate Native American suffering. Although he laterregretted that prescription, Las Casas’s remedy illustrates the kinds of racialideologies (predicated on cultural and geographical distinctions) that were al-ready forming throughout Europe and that would soon fuel the Atlantic slavetrade. Black Africans were exported across the Atlantic in increasing numbers.The growing presence of black Africans in the Americas created rhetoricalconflicts for English priests, merchants, explorers, and privateers, who soughtto understand those black Africans within racial and anti-Spanish discourses.Writers on occasion replaced Native Americans with black Africans as the vic-tims of Spanish cruelty. In the material world beyond the texts, however, blackAfricans conducted themselves in ways contradictory to England’s anti-Span-%
2Black Africans in the British Imaginationish rhetoric, complicating writers’ efforts to articulate their experiences inaccordance with ideology and political agendas.Black Africans in the BritishImaginationexamines how and why those first English encounters with blackAfricans in the early Atlantic world produced moments of narrative crisis inwhich writers struggled to correlate the material details of their encounterswith literary, rhetorical objectives. That struggle manifests itself in the texts as

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Term
Fall
Professor
Eric Bailey
Tags
Sir Francis Drake, Test, Spanish colonization of the Americas, Black Legend, British Imagination

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