Africans in ancient Britain.

Author:Sherwood, Marika
Position:Letters - Letter to the editor

I would like to add to the Black History Month article, 'The Best is Yet to Come' in the October issue. Readers might want to know that the armies of the Roman empire when invading this small island (UK) and then ruling it included African regiments.

There were African soldiers in some of the other regiments, including some officers. Emperor Septimius Severus, who was born in Libya, came here in 208 as some of the local tribes were rebelling and the peoples in what was then called Caledonia (today, Scotland) were trying to invade.

He had to be carried much of the way to Eboracum (today's York), then the capital city, as he was unwell. His wife Julia Domna, who accompanied him, was Syrian.

The Emperor marshalled all his troops and at Hadrian's Wall defeated the Caledonians. He was carried back to York where he died in 211.

Archaeologists have found evidence of African soldiers, pottery, etc around Britain (Britannia). We also know that there were some Africans among the Roman troops who married local women. Research of documents has also revealed that some of the Roman governors of Britannia were Africans.

Sadly, there were no black studies departments in our universities until last year, so much of the research on the history of Africans in the UK has been carried out by non-academics.


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