'A morisco born where they are not christened'


This is the deposition of Anthony de Nicholao Rimero (a Venetian sailor and occasional 'drinking pal' of Pietro Paulo Corso), his Black diver Jacques Francis (here called 'James'), and other named servants of Corso's. In it, Rimero denies that Corso has suffered any loss as a result of the accusation made against him.

Rimero's deposition confirms the slave status of Jacques Francis. He goes on to state that, as 'a morisco born where they are not christened' and a slave, no weight should be given to anything Francis says. Similarly, in Domenico Erizo's deposition (in HCA 24/17), the validity of a statement made by a 'pagan infidel black' is also questioned.

We do not know if Jacques Francis had been baptised, although his European name could suggest it. Nor do we know how far Rimero and Erizo's objections were based on his colour, his non-Christian or perhaps merely 'Christianised' state, his status as a slave, or a combination of these factors. We do, however see all these forms of prejudice being utilised to justify discrimination against and mistreatment of Black people for centuries to come.

HCA 13/93, ff. 275-6 (28 May 1548)

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