Black Society in Spanish Florida

Black Society in Spanish Florida

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The first extensive study of the African American community under colonial Spanish rule, "Black Society in Spanish Florida" provides a vital counterweight to the better-known dynamics of the Anglo slave South. Jane Landers draws on a wealth of untapped primary sources, opening a new vista on the black experience in America and enriching our understanding of the powerful links between race relations and cultural custom. Blacks under Spanish rule in Florida lived not in cotton rows or tobacco patches but in a more complex and international world that linked the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and a powerful and diverse Indian hinterland. Here the Spanish Crown afforded sanctuary to runaway slaves, making the territory a prime destination for blacks fleeing Anglo plantations, while Castilian law (grounded in Roman law) provided many avenues out of slavery, which it deemed an unnatural condition. European-African unions were common and accepted in Florida, with families of African descent developing important community connections through marriage, concubinage, and godparent choices. Assisted by the corporate nature of Spanish society, Spain's medieval tradition of integration and assimilation, and the almost constant threat to Spanish sovereignty in Florida, multiple generations of Africans leveraged linguistic, military, diplomatic, and artisanal skills into citizenship and property rights. In this remote Spanish outpost, where they could become homesteaders, property owners, and entrepreneurs, blacks enjoyed more legal and social protection than they would again until almost two hundred years of Anglo history had passed.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 521.63g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252067533
  • 9780252067532
  • 1,652,561

Review quote

"Lander's well-written book is the first extensive study of the African American community in Florida during the long period of Spanish colonial rule (1565-1763 and1784-1821). The author's skillful research in archives in Spain, Florida, and the Caribbean reveals an African America community in early Florida that was remarkably different from contemporary Anglo America... Highly recommended." -Choice "The interlocked world of triracial Florida was temporarily destroyed by American invasion and conquest in the early nineteenth century. But as Florida once again becomes more like the neighboring Afro-Hispanic world of the Caribbean, readers are fortunate to have Jane Landers's excellent new book telling them of an earlier Floridian version of that world." - T. Stephen Whitman, The North CarolinaHistorical Review "Sophisticated, meticulously researched, and highly informative monograph... The factual information recovered by this study is of inordinate importance to the history of both the United States and the Caribbean... This book illustrates splendidly that what was lost should not be forgotten." -- Franklin W. Knight, Journal of Interdisciplinary History "Landers' work should interest a wide variety of historians, including students of the Spanish borderlands, the antebellum South, the Atlantic slave trade, as well as historians specializing in either colonial Latin America or the colonial United States." -- Stephen I. Schwab, Southern Historian "A fully realized book, clearly written, deeply researched in archival sources, and engaged with relevant historiography. Spanish Florida will never be the same." -- David J. Weber, American Historical Review\ "Clearly the best book yet to appear in English on Africans in Spanish Florida." -- Daniel C. Littlefield, William and Mary Quarterly "Fine study... This book is not only beautifully conceived and well executed, it intrigues with its stories of the many people who played out their lives in a frontier society about which we have known so very little... Landers expertly mines a wealth of previously unused primary documentation in order to fully portray the complex and detailed society within which people of African descent took advantage of law, custom, and frontier conditions to create community and opportunity." -- Virginia Gould, Florida Historical Quarterly ADVANCE PRAISE "A truly original, beautifully and skillfully researched, conceived, and written work which will have a major impact upon how colonial United States and Caribbean history will be understood in the future."-Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, author of Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Centuryshow more

Rating details

16 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 38% (6)
4 38% (6)
3 19% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 6% (1)
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