School of History and Heritage Seminar – Black African’s Freedom Papers in Sevilla and the Spanish Atlantic world, 1550-1630 by Dr Chloe Ireton

18 MAY
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Please join us at the next School of History and Heritage’s Research Seminar:

Wed 18th May, 5-6pm – LINK

Black African’s Freedom Papers in Sevilla and the Spanish Atlantic world, 1550-1630

Dr Chloe Ireton (UCL, London)


My current book project, Slavery & Freedom in Black Thought in the Early Spanish Atlantic, traces how enslaved and free Black Africans reckoned with the brutal violence and dispossession of the Atlantic world that they were forced to inhabit, and the different ways that they engaged with and shaped the intellectual life of colonial societies. The book explores how free and enslaved Black Africans conceptualized two strands of political thought – freedom and slavery – in the early Spanish Atlantic, and maps how they sought to place limits on the legal and theological justifications for their enslavement, while broadening the meanings and privileges of freedom. Drawing on materials from a work-in-progress chapter, this talk explores how Black Africans and their descendants in sixteenth-century Sevilla spearheaded the emergence of a culture of freedom papers in order to protect their status as free people and expand the meanings of freedom in the Spanish empire.


Chloe Ireton is a Lecturer in the History of Iberia and the Iberian World 1500-1800 at University College London, and works on the histories of race, slavery, freedom, and empire in the early Southern Atlantic world. Chloe is currently at work on Intellectual History from Below: Slavery & Freedom in the Early Iberian Atlantic, a monograph that explores how free and enslaved Black men and women in the early Atlantic world conceptualized two strands of political thought – freedom and slavery.

Recent articles include: “L’imaginaire éthiopien dans le premier monde hispanique : esclavage et baptême dans le Catéchisme évangélique de Sandoval,” Revue d’Histoire Moderne & Contemporaine, 68-2, avril-juin 2021, 102-128. Stable link:, “Black Africans’ Freedom Litigation Suits to Define Just War and Just Slavery in the Early Spanish Empire,” Renaissance Quarterly, 73(4), 1277-1319. Awarded the Renaissance Society of America William Nelson Prize for best article published in the Renaissance Quarterly in 2020. doi:10.1017/rqx.2020.219. Stable link:, ““They Are Blacks of the Caste of Black Christians”: Old Christian Black Blood in the Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Iberian Atlantic.” Hispanic American Historical Review, 97:4, 2017, 579-612. Stable link:

All welcome!

Please, feel free to forward this invitation to staff and students who might be interested.

Story submitted by Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo