According to Historic UK, the British Kingdom has so far had 63 monarchs.
These are spread over about 1200 years and include both kings and queens of England and Britain.
All 63 heads of state left a mark in history. There’s something legendary (or negative) that each monarch did for his or her country.
One popular British monarch is King James.
A lot has been said about the man – both good and bad.
He’s been said to have been a great uniting force in the UK during his reign.
Others have called him a homosexual with reports of him having male sexual partners.
There are also claims that he was black as well.
Let’s zoom in on the last part. We have set the record straight on whether King James was black or not.
Who is King James?
King James 1 of England (or James VI of Scotland) is a key figure in British history.
His name was James Charles Stuart and he ruled Britain, Ireland, and France from 1603 – 1625 succeeding Elizabeth 1 who died childless.
He was born on 19 June 1566 as the only son of the infamous Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotts, and her cousin Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley).
The popular king was known for being one of the wisest and greatest English monarchs.
For one, he united the warring territories of Scotland and joined England and Scotland into what we know as the British Empire.
The second and perhaps the most important achievement of King James is the translation of the Bible.
He is the man behind the King James Version (the very first English translation Bible).
During his era, only churches in England were allowed to possess a Bible.
The common man had no access to it. Amidst great opposition from the church, the king gathered 54 of the finest scholars of his time to carry out the task.
The team took seven years to translate what we know as the KJV Bible today.
Why Was King James Said To Be Black?
Historians try their best to depict past events, people, and places in the exact form they were back then.
They use available literature, pictures, paintings, engravings, and other forms of art to paint a real picture of the past.
Unfortunately, some of these strategies cause more confusion than clarity among historians.
Take the example of engraved images. Despite their best efforts, engravers sometimes don’t capture enough details in engraved portraits of past people.
This was the case with King James.
If you know one or two things about the 16th and 17th centuries, you’ll confirm that photography hadn’t been invented yet.
Photography came into light in 1822 – almost two centuries after the death of King James.
In the 1600s, portrait engraving was the order of the day.
The allegations surrounding the race of King James (possibly peddled by Jewish Israelites) are essentially centered on his engraved portraits.
Those that state that he was black place a lot of emphasis on particularly two portraits.
These, as they claim, are darker thus depicting King Charles as a black man.
There’s no deep explanation for the allegation only that the portraits look like those of a black man.
There’s also a video on the IUIC Captains YouTube channel that tries to prove – through scripture and historical books that King James is indeed black.
There are plenty of scriptures and books that try to make this claim.
One of the literature references in the video states that King James comes from a long line of Scottish blacks who happened to be kings.
The book goes on to say that during what is referred to as the “dark ages”, blacks ruled Europe including Scotland, Britain, Wales, France, and Ireland.
Blacks are believed to have reigned in Europe from the 14th century to the 17th century.
Before the white man took over Europe, portraits of kings used to be black. This is according to this claim. All the kings before that were all African American.
When whites rose to power, they whitewashed all the portraits of former kings. This they did, to hide the past about kings being black.
Hence, King James must have been black only they were whitewashed.
Was He Really Black?
As you might have noticed, there are two schools of thought to the idea that King Charles was black.
One is based on his portraits and another one is the claim that the monarch was a Scottish black.
Both theories are simply not factual.
We strongly believe that the great king of Scotland and England was not black.
He was an original white English man from the royal bloodline. Check out why below:
I. Line Engraving Cannot Be Relied Upon To Show The Color Of Skin
Let’s start with the claim that King James was black based on his portraits.
When you look at the said portraits, there’s no proof of the color of his skin.
As mentioned before, the technology used to create portraits back then is engraving or specifically line engraving.
This is where images were outlined and impressed on a metal. Copper was largely used but other metals such as zinc, brass, iron, and silver could also be used.
To get an impression, an engraver would trace the outline of the subject in question on the copper.
Next, a triangular tool would be set on varying pressure to cut grooves of different depths to form a fine or coarse line on the finished impression.
During engraving, engraving lines form on the image. If you look at the image from a distance, it is easy to think that the person is black.
This rings true if the material used to engrave the image reveals dark features.
And this is the case for some of King James’ portraits. A closer look at them reveals the dark lines of engraving and not the actual color of his skin.
The material used to impress the image also plays a role in making him appear dark-skinned.
Specific metals result in darker engravings than others.
Based on this, one cannot conclude that King Charles is black. Even a white man’s face would appear black if certain materials and engraving lines are in abundance.
II. Blacks Didn’t Rule England In The 16th And 17th Centuries
The second accusation about James Charles 1 being a Scottish black doesn’t hold water as well.
Indeed there are sources that claim that blacks also called the Moors ruled Europe for about 700 years in the Middle Ages.
They are believed to have ruled the Iberian Peninsula –predominantly Portugal and Spain mostly.
The Moors are technically Europeans of African descent. William Shakespeare mentioned them in his writings. They have African features including black, frizzled hair, flat and wide face, thick lips, and a flat nose.
There is enough evidence of the presence of people of African descent in Europe in the middle ages.
According to National Geographic, these people initially constituted North African Muslims who were found in Europe.
Over time, the term referred to anyone with darker skin.
The Moors remained in Europe until 1492 when they were expelled from Spain by Monarchs Isabella I and Ferdinand II.
The European blacks are certainly believed to have ruled the Iberian Peninsula for about seven centuries.
They didn’t necessarily rule but control this territory of Spain from around 711 until 1492 when they were banished from the land.
Assuming Moors actually ruled Spain, can we then conclude that King Charles must have been black based on this? Not really.
For starters, there are no records showing that Moors ruled Britain at any particular point in history.
They might have controlled some parts of Spain but there’s no evidence showing that they moved over to the British kingdom.
Additionally, their reign ended in 1492 – 75 years before King Charles was born.
By the time the monarch was being handed the throne, Moors had been evicted from Europe. Thus, the king cannot have been black.
When you search for King Charles, you will be bombarded with portraits of a white man with a beard.
That’s because the king was white and not black.
The claims of him being black are baseless.
Both of his folks were white and had ties to the British royal family.
His mother, Mary Queen of Scotts, is described as one with a darker complexion than his father, Henry Stuart, but both were essentially white.
Henry was Henry VII’s great-grandson. None of these lineages had blacks in them.
It is thus unlikely that James Charles would end up being black.
You may also want to check: Was King Solomon Black?