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Kate Lowe
Professor of Renaissance History and Culture, Queen Mary, University of London Read More ...
 
 
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The second half of the fifteenth century saw an increase in the number of sub-Saharan Africans in Florence. Whereas prior to that point, their presence had been rare and sporadic, the Portuguese voyages down the West coast of Africa meant that a steady trickle of black slaves arrived in Florence, complementing the very small number of Africans who arrived as envoys or pilgrims. Many of these slaves were female. Willingly or not, they had sex and became pregnant. The records of the Innocenti capture the precise moments when babies born to African mothers and usually Florentine fathers were deposited at the Innocenti, allowing us to tease out some understanding of the physical and cultural encounters between them. The documentary record in in quite sharp contrast to visual depictions of the Innocenti’s uniformly white babies, often presented in idealised form with blond hair.

 
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Florentine Academic Communities: A Few Reflections from a Recent Experience
By Alessandra De Luca, Researcher in Comparative Law, University of
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Mixed Ancestry Babies at the Innocenti (Spring 2017)
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