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Swarthy

CHARLES II & THE SLAVE TRADE“Charles the second was, in the popular language of the day, a tall black man”SOURCES; (Norman Chevers, “An Enquiry into the circumstances of the Death of King Charles the Second”; 1861)



(“A Narrative of The Adventures of Charles the Second after The Battle of Worcester”; 1859)The charter issued by King Charles II in 1663, represents the moment at which the transatlantic slave trade officially began, with royal approval, in the English (later British) Empire…This led to the rapid expansion of British involvement in the slave trade and enslavement of Africans…



The charter granted the Company of Royal Adventurers of England a monopoly in the transportation of people from the west coast of Africa to the English colonies in the Americas…It explicitly sanctioned ‘the buying and selling, bartering and exchanging of, for, and with any negro slaves, goods, wares and merchandizes whatsoever to be vended or found’ in Western Africa..


According to the Emory University Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, by 1875, approximately 306,000 Africans had disembarked in Mainland North America…This 6’2” tall life size wax effigy of King Charles II was made in 1686 possibly by sculptor John Bushnell and the face is a remarkable likeness…


This wax effigy stood by his grave for over a century before being collected, with others, for display in the small Islip chapel. ..It shows the king’s swarthy complexion and may have been taken from a life cast of the king’s face (this was a fashionable thing to have done at this period)Jewellery from the figure was stolen during a funeral in 1700 and it has lost its sword…The wig is an 18th century replacement…“In person Charles was tall, his complexion was swarthy”“The king’s swarthy complexion with its effect heightened by the dark PERIWIG”SOURCES;(Thomas Keightley, “The History of England, Volume 2; 1840)



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