Images of Black people in the Middle Ages in The Netherlands

Via Black Germans
In 'Things Aren’t Simple: the Black King in Manuscripts', Dutch Art Historian and curator Ester Schreuders writes about the first black figures in the art of the Low Countries, or Netherlands, figures which are especially found in miniatures, illuminations and illustrations from the late Middle Ages – the Gothic period – and the early Renaissance.  

Check out her blog at


  1. I went to Esther Shreuder's blog and was literally blown away by the wealth of historical information on the African contribution and presence in Europe during the 1400's!

    Most of us are aware of King Balthazar, the Black King of Ethiopia, who visited the baby Jesus in the stable, but what I was NOT cognizant of was the POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION of Africans in Europe during the Gothic Age.

    Ms. Shreuder writes on her blog that,
    "In 1427 ambassadors from King Yeshak of Ethiopia arrived in Valencia (Spain) for talks with Alfonso I to discuss their common struggle against Muslims.

    "In 1450 King Yeshak's successor sent ambassadors to Greece, Rome, Aragon (Spain), and Portugal". THIS-IS-FANTASTIC! When do we learn in our high school and even college world history classes that BLACK AMBASSADORS attended and actively participated in global conferences in the then known world? We don't. Period. That's why Esther Shreuder's exhibit is so potentially life-changing! It changes the whole belief, promulgated over and over again that, sub-Saharan Africans were only in contact with Europeans during that time as kidnapped slaves. The TRUE historical fact, according to these findings of Ms. Shreuder, is that some Blacks were actually diplomats who negotiated the growing threat of radical Islamists' desires to Islamicize the entire region.
    Again. FANTASTIC information!

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form