Aren't some countries unfairly vilified for their slavery/colonial past?

Jun 2015
5,679
UK
#1
Everyone knows about the British Empire, and there are some who says Britain should "pay" for its Empire.
The USA still has issues stemming from slavery, and the South still is poorer than the North (and far West in modern times).

But then countries like Spain don't get the same moral judgment. Spain, and Portugal, started European colonialism and the slave trade, and there aren't as big movements or moral outrage at bad past actions.

Why don't anti-racists target them, as much as they do Britain or America? Regarding the slave trade, the UK has done a lot out of the former participants in it to highlight the horrors and effects. This is as much about moral guilt as anything else, but then Portugal transported more slaves, and they were engaged in slave trading practically as soon as Prince Henry's ships reached Senegal or Guinea. They actually went up river on the Senegal, Gambia, etc. and took local Africans for Portuguese slave markets. But again, there isn't the moral outrage against them.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,726
SoCal
#3
Everyone knows about the British Empire, and there are some who says Britain should "pay" for its Empire.
The USA still has issues stemming from slavery, and the South still is poorer than the North (and far West in modern times).

But then countries like Spain don't get the same moral judgment. Spain, and Portugal, started European colonialism and the slave trade, and there aren't as big movements or moral outrage at bad past actions.

Why don't anti-racists target them, as much as they do Britain or America? Regarding the slave trade, the UK has done a lot out of the former participants in it to highlight the horrors and effects. This is as much about moral guilt as anything else, but then Portugal transported more slaves, and they were engaged in slave trading practically as soon as Prince Henry's ships reached Senegal or Guinea. They actually went up river on the Senegal, Gambia, etc. and took local Africans for Portuguese slave markets. But again, there isn't the moral outrage against them.
Do Spain and Portugal have as active of an SJW movement as the US and the UK have?

Also, what about Arabs who engaged in the slave trade? You didn't mention them here.
 
Likes: andyferdinard
Mar 2016
1,079
Australia
#4
Because Britain and the US are more relevant and important countries in the modern day than Spain or Portugal. More people around the world are aware (or at least think they're aware) of their histories in terms of colonial enterprises than other countries. I think the popular image of Gandhi has a lot to do with that. They watch a movie or documentary about him and think they are an expert on British colonial history. Similarly, it's popular in Western countries to hate on the US for a variety of reasons, so this is just another.
 
Likes: Futurist

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,365
Portugal
#5
But then countries like Spain don't get the same moral judgment.
Are you sure? At least in the English spoken historiography, that is not correct. See the “Black Legend”, a theme already mentioned here often. That historiography even has a distinct word for the Portuguese and Spanish, “Conquistadores”. There was already an English term “Conquerors”, the literal translation, but the Spanish and Portuguese word is used instead. That is itself a moral judgment.

This is as much about moral guilt as anything else, but then Portugal transported more slaves, and they were engaged in slave trading practically as soon as Prince Henry's ships reached Senegal or Guinea. They actually went up river on the Senegal, Gambia, etc. and took local Africans for Portuguese slave markets.
This is historically incorrect and I think that this view distorts the perspective that pop history has about slavery. “Portugal didn’t engaged in slave trading practically as soon as Prince Henry’s…”

Slavery is an ancient institution that exists probably since the beginning of times and Portugal engaged in slave trading since the kingdom was born.

When the kingdom was born the Iberian Peninsula was a frontier society in constant warfare not only in the process known as Reconquista (another Portuguese and Spanish word) a war between the Christians and the Muslims, but also of warfare between the Christian kingdoms and between the different Muslim political entities. War generated captives, slaves. So, I don’t see the need to mention Prince Henry’s ships, since even before the Reconquista ended for Portugal (1248/9), Portuguese ships raided Muslim lands and even the Canary Islands to take captives, as also the Muslims raided the Portuguese coast, doing exactly the same.

For one of the first references of slaves in the Portuguese history see the hagiography “Vita Sancti Theotonii”, a Medieval work about the life of the saint that lived in the 12th century and that has an interesting passage when Saint Theotonius sees the Portuguese king, Afonso I, returning to Coimbra with many slaves, after a raid on Muslim lands. Many of the slaves were Christians and the saint urges to the king for their release.

Anyway, making a fast forward move here, when the movements against slavery developed in Britain, Britain was by far the biggest slave trader, surpassing the Portuguese numbers in the 18th century and even hiring Portuguese ships for the effect, so it is natural that at that time the “English” eyes would look primary to the British trade, since it was a reality that they knew better.
 
Jun 2015
5,679
UK
#7
Are you sure? At least in the English spoken historiography, that is not correct. See the “Black Legend”, a theme already mentioned here often. That historiography even has a distinct word for the Portuguese and Spanish, “Conquistadores”. There was already an English term “Conquerors”, the literal translation, but the Spanish and Portuguese word is used instead. That is itself a moral judgment.



This is historically incorrect and I think that this view distorts the perspective that pop history has about slavery. “Portugal didn’t engaged in slave trading practically as soon as Prince Henry’s…”

Slavery is an ancient institution that exists probably since the beginning of times and Portugal engaged in slave trading since the kingdom was born.

When the kingdom was born the Iberian Peninsula was a frontier society in constant warfare not only in the process known as Reconquista (another Portuguese and Spanish word) a war between the Christians and the Muslims, but also of warfare between the Christian kingdoms and between the different Muslim political entities. War generated captives, slaves. So, I don’t see the need to mention Prince Henry’s ships, since even before the Reconquista ended for Portugal (1248/9), Portuguese ships raided Muslim lands and even the Canary Islands to take captives, as also the Muslims raided the Portuguese coast, doing exactly the same.

For one of the first references of slaves in the Portuguese history see the hagiography “Vita Sancti Theotonii”, a Medieval work about the life of the saint that lived in the 12th century and that has an interesting passage when Saint Theotonius sees the Portuguese king, Afonso I, returning to Coimbra with many slaves, after a raid on Muslim lands. Many of the slaves were Christians and the saint urges to the king for their release.

Anyway, making a fast forward move here, when the movements against slavery developed in Britain, Britain was by far the biggest slave trader, surpassing the Portuguese numbers in the 18th century and even hiring Portuguese ships for the effect, so it is natural that at that time the “English” eyes would look primary to the British trade, since it was a reality that they knew better.
in terms of the enslavement of Africans the Portuguese were definitely the pioneers.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,365
Portugal
#8
in terms of the enslavement of Africans the Portuguese were definitely the pioneers.
Slavery in Africa or the enslavement of the Africans predates the existence of Portugal by centuries if not millenniums.

If you mean that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to catch and trade directly sub-Saharan slaves, or that the Portuguese begun what we know as the Atlantic slave trade, than I agree with you.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,280
Spain
#9
The other day took place this Conference I would like to be..

El Clan de los Martínez y el tráfico de esclavos en el siglo XIX (Martínez´s Clan and the traffic of slaves in 19th Century).



Los Martínez were a Cantabrian family set in Cadis... and they buil a Slave-Trade Empire in 19th Century.. became very very rich...they were (under Portuguese False Flag) from Cadis to "Costa de los Esclavos" (Slaves - Coast)... Benin, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Guinea, Cote d´Ivore etc....they didn´t capture slaves as in the movies.. but they bought slaves to the Black Princes.... in Togo, Dahomey etc markets...they had their own ships...loaded with "black Gold" (they named "bultos" (package) and they sold their cargos in USA...Brazil, West Indies...etc etc

Between 1815 to 1866...Cadis replaced Liverpool and Lisbon as world capital of the slave trade .. the most important merchants in that bussiness was set in Cadis (and in Barcelona, second in the list)...and some of the Spanish Elite in 2019 came from Slave trade.. most of them from Catalonia, as Artur Mas, Vidal Quadras, Loyala de Palacio.... but also British as David Cameron...whose family sold slaves in Jamaica...

I would say the great "negreros" (slave trade) were (by alphabetic order): British, Dutch, French , Portuguese and Spanish.

Commercials in a Newspaper in Spain in the year 1867 (Slavery was legal in Spain... in 1865 slavery was banned in Confederate States. .but not in Spain)



Between the Spanish made their money (and their social promotion) in the Slave Trade (Oro Negro... Black Gold as it was named in 19th Century):

Don Antonio López y López (1817 - 1883)... ennobled as Marquis of Comillas, famous because he was a great social benefactor. He was born poor and he died being Noble and very rich.

Don Juan Güell y Ferrer (1800 - 1872). He was able to be one of richest man in Europe with the "African" business.

His son:

Don Eusebio Güell y Bacigalupo (1846 - 1918). ennobled as Count of Guells. He is famous because he economically protected to Antonio Gaudí (the famous architect built Sagrada Familia). If you travelled to Barcelona.. for sure you were in Parque Güell... Gaudi built this park for the memory of this slave trader man.

Don José Xifré.. this man is from my village. (1777 - 1856). He stablished one of the most important bank in Spain today (from 1990) named La Caixa. He was a great social benefactor.

Vidal Quadras and Artur Mas.. two politicians whose families made their fortunes with the slave trade. The same about Sisters Koprowitz.. one of richest women in Spain. His mother is Esther Romeu de Juseu y Armenteros, from cuban aristocracy with the cuban titles of Marquise de Casa Peñalver, de Campoflorido, del Real Socorro y de Bellavista,... however this long list of nobles titles.. she came from a Slave Trade man from Cadis.

Don Pablo Epalza from Bilbao (1802 - 1868). He stablished other of the most important banks in Spain: Banco de Bilbao (Today BBVA). He maded his fortune selling slaves from Africa to Caribbean and USA. (In USA was not legal to sell... but they sold).

Don Agustín Fernando Muñoz y Sánchez (1808-1873).. ennobled as Duke of Riánsares get married with the Queen of Spain, Doña María Cristina de Borbón. He made his fortune with the "black Gold"...

According with the British consul in Havana (but never PROVED).. Don Leopoldo O`Donnell (1809 - 1867) was one of the most important slave trade man in the world and earned a fortune around 10.000.000 Spanish Duros in that time around 310 billions euros in 2019... but I think British exaggerated to much... to say O´Donnell "controlled" 1 out of 8 "slaves" sent to Americas.... maxima when not even it is proved O´Donnell had been in that kind of bussiness.

According with this book (I think too much exaggerated) Spanish slave-Traders sold 443.399 slaves (Accounting books) or 700.000 (not registred) between 1820 to 1868... Spaniards didn´t sell only in West Indies but in America.. from USA to Brazil.




Well I think who really worked in the Slave trade were British and Portuguese....and I think not morale lessons... if we investigate the British or Portuguese Social Elite.. we are going to find the same that in Spain:

For example... David Cameron... comes from a Slave- Trade family bought slaves in West Africa and sold in Jamaica...

Regards.
 
Jun 2017
2,773
Connecticut
#10
Everyone knows about the British Empire, and there are some who says Britain should "pay" for its Empire.
The USA still has issues stemming from slavery, and the South still is poorer than the North (and far West in modern times).

But then countries like Spain don't get the same moral judgment. Spain, and Portugal, started European colonialism and the slave trade, and there aren't as big movements or moral outrage at bad past actions.

Why don't anti-racists target them, as much as they do Britain or America? Regarding the slave trade, the UK has done a lot out of the former participants in it to highlight the horrors and effects. This is as much about moral guilt as anything else, but then Portugal transported more slaves, and they were engaged in slave trading practically as soon as Prince Henry's ships reached Senegal or Guinea. They actually went up river on the Senegal, Gambia, etc. and took local Africans for Portuguese slave markets. But again, there isn't the moral outrage against them.
I think your making a case more that Portugal and Spain are under vilified, Portugal especially. Same would go with the Belgians for their actions in the Congo. I think the explanation here is the most powerful countries gets the spotlight and the British Empire's brief time on top was pretty recent compared to a lot of other European countries who either are small(Portugal, Belgium) or whose worst atrocities were centuries and centuries ago(Spain).

But yeah my reparations plan in the US has always been to go for Portugal and Spain cause they are technically the ones who started all this and that way you avoid getting Americans to pay other Americans which is divisive.
 
Likes: notgivenaway

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