A “Racial” Approach to the History of Early Afro-Portuguese Relationships? The Case of Senegambia and Cabo Verde in the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries

  • José da Silva Horta
  • Peter Mark


This chapter discusses the historiography of relations between Africans and Europeans, and among Africans, on the Senegambia/Upper Guinea Coast and in the Cabo Verde Islands in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. While social domination was connected with slave or free status, “racism” and a “racial” approach do not accurately explain it. Prevailing scholarly interpretations of “racism” in Early Modern Europe are contested as prone to an ahistorical and teleological approach. An alternative to the idea of an underlying “racism” or “racisms” as a constant across historical periods and common to many diverse cultures would be a focused and historically contextualized study of the manner in which societies categorized people and then either did or did not ascribe characteristics to members of the resultant groups.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • José da Silva Horta
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Mark
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for HistoryUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Wesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA

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