Beneath the Black Eagle was a Black Saint

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These fools in Charlottesville are psychotic! History has resurfaced and again no one wants to make the connection. White Supremacists are attempting to stage a Reconquista. At demonstrations in Charlottesville their waiving white shields with painted crosses identical to the ones carried by the Crusader knights during the Crusades, and the presence of banners with the black eagle of the Holy Roman Empire. The Nazis were obsessed with the Romanticism of medieval Germany. This idea to rediscover long-lost racial purity is a false hope. First, it’s not realistic. There was never a pure-white Europe, this is all fantasy. There were lots of minorities in medieval Europe, primarily Jews and Muslims.

Secondly, don’t these idiots know how downhill it went for the Christians. Short-term the Crusades were a slight success, but on the long-term a complete failure. If you are going to align your cause with any historical event then appeal to events where outstanding achievements were made and had legendary effects.

The beliefs and actions of white supremacists create distortion in history. My duty as a historian is to get the truth out, so I did some research and discovered the Egyptian saint who inspired the Holy Romans…yes white supremacists are in fact flying banners tied to a Christian man of color. The man I’m referring to is Saint Maurice. The story goes Maurice was born an Egyptian, which wouldn’t make him black. Instead his skin would be tan. It doesn’t make a difference he is still of color, which white supremacists find grotesque. Maurice was the leader of the legendary Theban Legion, one of the Roman Empire’s best fighting forces.

Maurice lived during the 3rd Century AD, early Christianity during its outlawed days. The Theban Legion are described as saints and martyrs by historians. Every one of its six-thousand troops were Christians. The legion’s name, Theban refers to the troops native homeland, Thebes, the capital of Ancient Egypt. During the time of the Romans, this imperial province was fiercely Christian. Diocletian and his co-ruler Maximian considered themselves sons of the gods

If you travel from Geneva to Rome you’ll come across a Swiss town named in honor of Saint Maurice. The Romans called it Aguanum. This is the location where Maurice and his entire legion were massacred on the orders of Empire Maximian. Maurice and Theban legion were called from Thebes to crush an uprising of the Bagaudae. When it was over the legion was ordered to take part in a pagan ritual requiring the sacrifice of Christians. Maurice and his troops refused the call to murder their Christian brothers and sisters.

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History’s Unknown: Special Edition, The Untold Story of 2,000: Caribbean POWs on British Soil

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The siege of Fort Charlotte, St. Lucia in 1796 ended with two-thousand African-Caribbean soldiers and their families surrendering to British forces. They threw down their arms and ammo, and marched onto British ships clapped in irons. Terms of the surrender promised they would be treated as prisoners of war rather than cattle (slaves). The soldiers were ex-slaves, freed by France after the Revolution, but a minority of its garrison was white.

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The journey across the Atlantic to Portchester Castle was rough with soldiers and prisoners both suffering from sickness. A total of 268 prisoners and 100 soldiers died. Approximately 2,080 African-Caribbean and 333 white soldiers, and 99 women and children arrived at Portchester in October of 1796.

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African-Caribbean soldiers were subject to abuse and bullying by European prisoners. A physician argued that the prisoners be feed potatoes for dietary staple reasons seeing that was the closest thing to yams.

A year later, in 1797 it seems a large portion of the imprisoned Afro-Caribbean soldiers defected to the British joining their captive’s navy and forming battalions under British command. The soldiers saw action in France, Russia, and Italy.

Britain’s own black population during this time was relatively small, at least 10-15,000. This is a forgotten chapter in black history, and the identities of the POWs have been lost too. A curator at the English Heritage by the name of Abigail Coppins is responsible for finding this lost fabric of history. This past Wednesday, Portchester Castle opened an exhibit honoring the black fighters, a few of whom were the first to fight against slavery.

The most famous prisoner at Portchester, the one whose identity we do know of is Captain Louis Delgres. He was born in Martinique, a man of mixed ethnicity. His parents were most likely a white man, probably French, and his mother an African slave. However, the practice and customs of slavery in the Caribbean differed from slavery in States. Delgres was captured by the British troops in St. Vincent in 1796.

In 1793, colonies in the West Indies belonging to Britain and France were dragged into war by their colonial masters, Britain and Revolutionary France. Victor Hugues captured the island of Guadeloupe from Britain in 1794 with the intention to end slavery.

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