World Black History Month (Canary Islands edition)

We recently stumbled upon this fascinating paper titled “Black Presence in the Canary Islands (Spain)” by Roberto Nodol. According to Dr Nodol, historical documents dating as far back as 1602 indicate the presence of African slaves on the island of La Palma. These historical documents also indicate that there was a “large and uninterrupted importation of [West African] slaves to sugar-growing areas such as Tazacorte” and that a “large number of slaves … settled in some urban areas such as La Laguna and Santa Cruz de Palma.” Professor Nodol concludes that the slave population of the Canary Islands was large enough to sponsor cultural and religious festivities, such as the festivity of San Benito de Palermo (pictured below). Since his paper was published in 1981, we wonder if there has been any subsequent research on this topic. (Image courtesy of Colonial Arts.)

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