Most of us tend to think that black people came to Britain after the war – Caribbeans on the Empire Windrush in 1948, Bangladeshis after the 1971 war and Ugandan Asians after Idi Amin’s expulsion in 1972. But, back in Shakespeare’s day, you could have met people from west Africa and even Bengal in the same London streets.
Of course, there were fewer, and they drew antipathy as well as fascination from the Tudor inhabitants, who had never seen black people before. But we know they lived, worked and intermarried, so it is fair to say that Britain’s first black community starts here. [BBC]