by Olivette Otele

A dazzling history of Africans in Europe, revealing their unacknowledged role in shaping the continent

Conventional wisdom holds that Africans are only a recent presence in Europe. But in African Europeans, renowned historian Olivette Otele debunks this and uncovers a long history of Europeans of African descent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as “Africans” and those called “Europeans.” She gives equal attention to the most prominent figures—like Alessandro de Medici, the first duke of Florence thought to have been born to a free African woman in a Roman village—and the untold stories—like the lives of dual-heritage families in Europe’s coastal trading towns.

African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history, and will redefine the field for years to come.

Interview with the Author

History Extra
African Europeans
6/19/21        42 min

Episode 26: Olivette Otele on the history of African Europeans
5/16/21         31 min

African Europeans, with Olivette Otele
2/17/21         29 min

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