Spain: Annual blackface parade reflects the history of when black African Moors ruled over the Iberian Peninsula

Spain: Annual blackface parade reflects the history of when black African Moors ruled over the Iberian Peninsula
Moors and Christians of Alcoy – The Cavalcade of Kings

Thousands gathered in Alcoy, Spain on January 5, 2019 to attend the oldest ‘Three Kings’ parade in Spain, notable for the hundreds of teens dressed as royal pages and donning blackface.

The ‘Kings’ paraded the streets, kissing children, while the 440 royal pages – aged 16 to 18 – handed out gifts, often climbing ladders to deliver them through the windows of apartments.

Reminiscent of other notable blackface traditions in Europe, such as ‘Black Pete’ in the Netherlands, the figure has been the subject of some controversy, as it can be seen as being racially insensitive.

The festival of Moors and Christians is the most important event of the year in Alcoy.

It is dedicated to San Jorge, a figure shrouded in ancestral traditions. The festival dates back to the 1500s (16th century) and commemorates a battle which was fought in 1276. At that time, Alcoy stood on the border of the Muslim African black Moorsish held territories of Spain. There were frequent skirmishes between the two factions until, on April 23, 1276, the Muslim troops of Al-Azraq attempted to storm the town. According to legend, San Jorge appeared during the battle and, thanks to his intervention, the Christian army won the day, forcing the Muslims to retreat and never to return. In recognition of his timely intercession, the townsfolk of Alcoy made him their patron saint and promised to hold a festival in his honor.

Video: Spain: Teenagers don blackface and hand out gifts to children in parade

Video: Alcoy, Spain’s parade




The 1965 movie “Othello” staring actor Laurence Olivier in blackface as Othello, the Moor of Venice a tragedy by William Shakespeare

Learn about the origins of why blackfaces are used -the black African Moors who ruled over Spain and Portugal
See links

In 711, the black African Moors invaded Visigoth (modern Spain), Christian Hispania (Iberian Peninsula
The Moors ruled in the Iberian peninsula, except for areas in the northwest and the largely Basque regions in the Pyrenees, and in North Africa.

In 1492 King Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the entire Jewish community is expelled from Spain. This occurred when the Spanish Army defeated black African Muslim Moorish forces in Granada, thereby restoring the whole of Spain to European Christian rule.

In 1494 Jews of Florence and Tuscany were expelled.

In 1497 Portugal expelled its Jews. King Manuel of Portugal agreed to marry the daughter of Spain’s monarchs. One of the conditions for the marriage was the expulsion of Portugal’s Jewish community. In actuality only a few Jews were exiled from Portugal and the rest were converted by force to Christianity. On March 19, 1497 (the first day of Passover), Jewish parents were ordered to take their children, between the ages of four and fourteen, to Lisbon. Upon arrival, the parents were informed that their children were going to be taken away from them and were to be given to Christian Catholic families to be raised as good Catholics.


The black African Moors in Europe- U.S. newspapers from the 1880s and 1890s
Treaty of Peace and Friendship

Black African images used in the European Christian Church- Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI pray together in front of the black Madonna

Spain opens door to Sephardic Jews after historic expulsion



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