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    African Immigrants in Tudor England

    We had set students the task of finding examples of kindness towards immigrants to the UK. The article below is from Charlotte in 9C:

    African immigrants in Tudor England: John Blanke
    Although the slave trade was emerging and racist attitudes existed in Tudor England, racism and segregation had not become dominant yet, and there are several examples of black immigrants being treated fairly in Britain. An example of this is John Blanke, a European immigrant of African descent. His birthplace is uncertain but it is likely he came to Britain from Spain with Kathrine of Aragon. He was a musician and trumpeter and worked for Henry VII and Henry VIII as a court musician. Although he was a black immigrant, and may have been less easily received by Brits and royals, he was treated considerably well and had a lot of success as a trumpeter. He performed at the Westminster Tournament in 1511 and is shown in tapestries and rolls recording the event. The most significant thing is the respect and recognition he got from Henry VIII. When a fellow trumpeter died, Blanke petitioned for a pay rise, which would have been hard for a black immigrant to get. However, he succeeded easily and went on to earn double what he earned before. Another sign of respect from Henry VIII was when Blanke got married and received gifts from the monarch, including a gown of violet cloth, a bonnet and a hat. This shows the respect and kindness John Blanke received from the British citizens. This treatment might have been because there was less racial persecution in the early 1500s and prior to the slave trade, and most segregation was centered around faith and religion, and also class. This story shows how a European black immigrant was treated with kindness, even in a time with arguably much more division and punishment than now.

    Mr Gunn