Queen Charlotte

With features as conspicuously Negroid as they were reputed to be by her contemporaries, it is no wonder that the black community, both in the U.S. and throughout the British Commonwealth, have rallied around pictures of Queen Charlotte for generations. They have pointed out the physiological traits that so obviously identify the ethnic strain of the young woman who, at first glance, looks almost anomalous, portrayed as she usually is, in the sumptuous splendour of her coronation robes.

Queen Charlotte, wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. The riddle of Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry was solved as a result of an earlier investigation into the black magi featured in 15th century Flemish paintings. Two art historians had suggested that the black magi must have been portraits of actual contemporary people (since the artist, without seeing them, would not have been aware of the subtleties in colouring and facial bone structure of quadroons or octoroons which these figures invariably represented) Enough evidence was accumulated to propose that the models for the black magi were, in all probability, members of the Portuguese de Sousa family. (Several de Sousas had in fact traveled to the Netherlands when their cousin, the Princess Isabella went there to marry the Grand Duke, Philip the Good of Burgundy in the year 1429.) Read more about England’s black queen.

SIGILLUM SECRETUM Part III Sable

By Mario de Valdes y Cocom
Another reason for the black blazon of the imperial eagle is to be found in the rules and regulations governing the use of ‘metals’ and ‘tinctures’ in coat armour.
Following the classical Greek analysis of light and colour, black and white were considered the two primaries since the interplay between light and dark is what was held to produce the spectrum. Furthermore, white, or more accurately, light, was not defined as a colour or ‘tincture’ but as the gold or the silver which, to this day, are still the only options for the term ‘metal’ in the language of heraldry. Black, therefore, was considered the most important of colours, ranking above the red, blue and green standardly referred to as ‘tinctures’.

Thirteenth century texts explaining the imperial insignia go even further. Because of medieval conceptions of the absorption of light by darkness, the writers theorized that within the color black was contained all the light or the white it had displaced.

This is obviously the reason why when the ruby is substituted for red or ‘gules’ and the emerald for green or ‘vert’ according to the traditions of gemnological blazonry, it is nothing other than the diamond that stands for ‘sable’. In all probability, it is also this line of reasoning that contributed to the cult of the Black Madonna. For, having borne the Light of Creation within her very womb, the devotion to the Mother of God as the (coal) black Queen of Heaven is a superb example of how this law of physics was at one time interpreted.

Alessandro de Medici

Despite the many portraits of this 16th century Italian Renaissance figure, his African heritage is rarely, if ever, mentioned.[Editor’s Note: For more on this omission as it has occurred in the art world, read this January 2005 update.]

Alessandro wielded great power as the first duke of Florence. He was the patron of some of the leading artists of the era and is one of the two Medici princes whose remains are buried in the famous tomb by Michaelangelo. The ethnic make up of this Medici Prince makes him the first black head of state in the modern western world.

Alessandro was born in 1510 to a black serving woman in the Medici household who, after her subsequent marriage to a muleteer, is simply referred to in existing documents as Simonetta da Collavechio. Historians today are convinced that Alessandro was fathered by the seventeen year old Cardinal Giulio de Medici who later became Pope Clement VII. Cardinal Giulio was the nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Read more about the blackness in this family tree.

SIGILLUM SECRETUM Part II Divine Darkness

By Mario de Valdes y Cocom
In the middle of the 14th century, one of the most profound examples of the symbol of the blackamoor can be seen in the use of this image to represent Christ. It is clear from the documentation we have for the city of Lauingen in Germany, for example, that at about this time, the city’s seal with the head of Christ wearing a crown of thorns is transformed to the head of a blackamoor wearing a golden crown. That the latter insignia is meant to represent the former is quite obvious from the accompanying inscriptions. One of the earlier ones read: “Sigillum civium de Lougingin” (seal of the city of Lauingen), while a later version clearly explains itself as the “Sigillum secretum civitatis palatinae Lavgingen (secret seal of the palatinate city of Lauingen).” Read the rest here.

SIGILLUM SECRETUM

By Mario de Valdes y Cocom

SIGILLUM SECRETUM (Secret Seal) On the image of the Blackamoor in European Heraldry(a preliminary proposal for an iconographical study)
byMario de Valdes y Cocom
Considering the deep roots of Christianity in the cultural experience of the African American community, it is only natural that even in the most cursory of discussions on Black history, the hope always is raised of discovering Christ as a man of colour. Moreover, in this global village of television and transatlantic travel, the standard Euro-centric portrayal of Christ is both anomalous and anachronistic, particularly in these racially sensitized times. It might therefore prove a great source of spiritual strength and psychological affirmation for those of us of African descent if a relatively unknown and forgotten medieval European tradition regarding the image of the black was reconstructed for all to see and share. What I am referring to are the coat of arms of the blackamoor which proliferated in both the private and civic European escutcheons (coat of arms) throughout the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Read this fascinating history here.

The Sole of Africa

A Message From Mike Kendrick – Founder of The Mineseeker Foundation.

LANDMINES kill, maim, terrify and starve the population. There are over 70 million landmines buried beneath the surface of this planet. Every twenty minutes a land mine kills or maims someone??? usually women and children. They render over 800 thousand square kilometers of land useless and terrify millions of people who live in constant fear.The cost to human life is horrific and the economic effect is devastating. This is not an act of God, or a natural disaster – It is a man made disaster that is bigger, in terms of lives lost, than civil disruption and economic deprivation, including the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina or the Pakistan earthquake.

Read all about The Mineseeker Foundation at The Sole of Africa.