The African influence on Spanish culture
Dominque Georges Frédéric de Pradt highlights the significant influence of Africa on Spanish culture.
“It is an error of geography to have assigned Spain to Europe; it belongs to Africa: blood, manners, language, the way of life and making war, in Spain everything is African. The two nations have been mixed up for too long--the Carthaginians who came from Africa to Spain, the Vandals who left Spain for Africa, the Moors who stayed in Spain for 700 years--for such a long cohabitation not to have confused the race and customs of the two countries. If the Spaniard were Mohammedan, he would be completely African; it is religion that has kept it in Europe.” Memoires Historiques Sur La Revolution d'Espagne by Dominque Georges Frédéric de Pradt pg 168
This is why it is said "Africa begins at the Pyrenees."
Carl Van Vechten highlights the similarities of Spanish music to African music.
The resemblance between Negro and Spanish music is very noticeable. Mr. krehbiel says that in south America Spanish melody has been imposed on negro rhythm. In the dances of the people of Spain, as chabrier points out, the melody is often practically nil; the effect is rhythmic (an effect which is emphasized by the obvious harmonic and melodic limitations of the guitar, which invariably accompanies all singers and dancers). If there were a melody or if the guitarist played well (which they usually do not) one could not distinguish its contours what with the cries of Ole! and the heel-beats of the performers. Spanish melodies, indeed, are often scraps of tunes, like the African Negro melodies. The habanera is a true African dance, taken to Spain by way of Cuba, as alber friedenthal points out in his book, “music, tanz, und dichtung bei de kreolen amerikas.” The Music of Spain
By Carl Van Vechten pg 38-39
All Spanish dances are from the African Chica
"Almost every Spanish dance, such as bolero, the cachucha, the seguidillas, of Moorish origin, are imitations of the African fandango or Chica." The code of Terpsichore. The art of dancing, tr. By R. Barton By Carlo Blasis 1830 pg 16
Much African blood flows in the veins of Spanish people from Taharka's Ethiopians, Carthage's multi- ethnic African army and The Black Moors who ruled for 800 years.
“Spaniards generally, indulge in the belief, or at least feign to do so, that creoles are mulattoes, and allege with wonderful assurance, that by mere fact of being born in Spain, every peninsular is a white. In many cases, however, the evidence of the senses is opposed to this assertion, as the complexion of the greatest part of them is nearer that of negroes, than white people; and there are besides, well-grounded reasons for believing that much African blood flows in their veins, though there are many families that are evidently white, as is also the case in Cuba. One of the armies that invaded Spain in the eighth century was formed of four thousand Negroes from Ethiopia, who never were known to have left the country. What must now be the number of the descendants of those Negroes, after eleven centuries? In fact, by their features and by the quality of their hair, the origin of many Spaniards can be confidently traced to the African race. Nevertheless, in some provinces of the peninsula, they style themselves not only pure whites, but noblemen also; and it is very difficult to meet with a Spaniard who considers himself a commoner (plebeyo).” Yankee travels through the island of Cuba: or, The men and government, the ...
By Demoticus Philalethes, Ignacio Franchi Alfaro pg 319-320
(The numbers of Africans this Arthur admits is greatly underestimated because there were millions of Africans that entered Spain throughout it's history.)
The Morion helmet or the Moorish helmet (similar to how the Burganet helmet is a Burgundian helmet)
This helmet was said to have been worn by the moors, hence; is why it is called the Morion helmet. During 16th century Europe, this helmet along with the Morris pike (moorish pike), was a favorite for European armies.
“Murrion, G. Morion. I. Morione, a Mauris qui huiusmodi utebantur casside, of the Moores which used this kinde of head-peece.” john minsheu
"Morion (murrion): armor for the head, a Moorish helmet, anything moorish, f. morione" Etymons of English Words
By John Thomson
Alphonso El Sabio records Tarik and his African moors conquest of Spain.
|Los moros de la hueste todos uestidos del sirgo et de los pannos de color que ganaran, las riendas de los sus cauallos tales eran como de fuego, las sus caras dellos negras como la pez, el mas fremoso dellos era negro como la olla, assi luzien sus oios como candelas; el su cauallo dellos ligero como el leopardo, e el su cauallero mucho mas cruel et mas dannoso que es el lobo en la grey de las oueias en la noche. La vil yenta de los affricanos que se non solie preciar de fuerca nin de bondad, et todos sus fechos fazie con art et a enganno, et non se solien amparar si non pechando grandes riquezas et grand aver, essora era exaltada, ca crebanto en una ora mas ayna la nobleza de los godos que lo non podrie omne dezir por lengua. Espanna mezquina!| “The Moors of the host wore silks and colorful clothes which they had taken as booty, their horses' reins were like fire, their faces were black as pitch, the handsomest among them was black as a cooking pot, and their eyes blazed like fire; their horses as swift as leopards, their horsemen more cruel and hurtful than the wolf that comes at night to the flock of sheep. The vile African people who were not wont to boast their strength nor their goodness, and who achieved everything by stealth and deceit, and who were not accustomed to help each other except by paying over great quantities of wealth, was at that moment raised on high, for in a short time they speedily shattered the greatness of the goths in a way that man has no words to express. Oh Wretched Spain!” DEL DUELLO DE LOS GODOS DE ESPANNA ET DE LA RAZÓN PORQUE ELLA FUE DESTROYADA from the book Primera Crónica General, Alfonso X El Sabio
The Moors of Grenada were known to be black skinned.
Je vois presentement; interrompit la marquise, comment sont faits les habitans de venus. Ils ressemblent aux mores grenadins, un petit people noir, brule du soleil, plein d’esprit et de feu; troujours amoureux, faisant des vers, aiant la musique, inventant tous les jours des fetes, des danses et des tournois. “im beginning to see,” the marquise interrupted, “how these venusians are made. They resemble our moors of grenada, a small black people, sunburnt, full of verve and fire, always amorous, writing verses, loving music, inventing celebrations, dances, and tournaments every day.” Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds
By M. de (Bernard Le Bovier) Fontenelle pg 49
The bull fights were of African origin and was introduced into Spain.
“Para ver acosar toros valientes (Fiesta Africana un tiempo, y despues goda, que hoy les irrita las soberbias frentes)” chp otra pg 215 Rimas de Lupercio, i del dotor Bartolome Leonardo de Argensola
We ourselves inclined to trace the origin of the bull fight to the African and Moorish hunting of the wild boar. This animal already hateful from religious prejudice, furnished by the fierceness an additional excitement to sportsmen- who lived in an age when danger was courted with the rashest eagerness. The mimic chase was represented to the people in thick cities pent; frequent mention occurs in early Spanish chronicles of the public baiting of the cerdo. In the advance of agriculture cultivation, the bull presented a more ready and more formidable antagonist. The national ballads, which, though written in Spanish, were either translations or imitations of Moorish originals, and faithful records of manners and feelings, dwell on the bull fights of Granada. We need only to refer our Spanish readers to that beautiful ballad of the deeds of Ganzul at the combat given on the festival of st john the Baptist. A chivalrous rivalry existed between the moors and castillians, with both of whom the bull fight formed the chief attraction of royal and religious festivals. It was in earlier times admitted to be of Moorish origin;- ‘para ver acosar toros valientes, fiesta un tiempo Africana y despues goda.’ B. de Argensola.
The celebration of a bull fight is first mentioned in 1107, at avila, on the marriage of blasco munoz, at which moors and Christians mutually contended. They soon extended over spain, for in 1124 they were given at saldana, when alphonso VII married the daughter of the count of Barcelona. The conquest of Andalusia, in the ensuing century, led to a closer connexion with moors of Ronda ad Granada , the headquarters of this combat. It is probable that the fighters were moors, for the profession was included by alphonso the wise among those entailing infamy (partidas, Viii. 4); and the clergy were prohibited from attending the exhibition. “The” Quarterly Review, Volume 62 Pg 391-392
Oldest race on the Iberian peninsula was the African:
The Portuguese not only fuse readily with alien race types, but also fix them immutably. Thus it is easy to recognize, not only the imported Negro, but also a type generally confused with him, the aboriginal Negroid Iberian. Greek or Phoenician colonists survive obviously in certain coast villages; the Moor and the Hindu appear sporadically; and, last but not least, the Jew permeates the whole urban population and predominates in some towns like Braganca. Sir John Alexander Hammerton’s Peoples of All Nations: Palestine-Sin-kiang pg 4155
(There is no difference between a Moor and a Negro)
- "moor:[maurus] a black, a negro" The Synonymous, Etymological, and Pronouncing English Dictionary: In which ...
By William Perry (lecturer in the Academy at Edinburgh.)1805
Tacitus a roman historian believed the Silures were Spanish because of their African features.
“Silurum colorati vultus, torti plerumque crines et posita contra Hispania Hiberos veteres traiecisse easque sedes occupasse fidem faciunt” (The dark complexion of the Silures, their usual wooly hair, and the fact that Spain is the opposite shore to them, are an evidence that Iberians of a former date crossed over and occupied these parts.) Tacitus: Agricola Book 1. 11
The Ancient Tartessian (ancient Spaniards) recorded in their histories that Ethiopians conquered all of north Africa and they pushed in to Spain and conquered their coasts.
Ephorus says the Tartessians (ancient Spaniards) report that Ethiopians overran Libya (North Africa) as far as its western limits, and that some of them stayed, while others occupied a great part of the sea-board (of Spain);
(These Ethiopians were led by Taharka)
Leave a reply