The Hidden History of Black Diplomacy

Exploring the important, but elusive, diplomatic role played by people of African descent in early modern Europe.

Study by Albrecht Dürer, 1508 © akg-images.
Study by Albrecht Dürer, 1508 © akg-images.

Diplomacy in the early modern period was not limited to grand treaties, elaborate ceremonies and frequent warfare. In order for diplomacy to function, a host of individuals were required, including informal advisers, messengers, translators, bureaucrats and merchants. All these people played a role in advising the monarch, transporting information and representing their country in a foreign court. 

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