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There have been Black people in Wales for centuries.

When the Roman army came to Britain, it brought soldiers from all over its empire, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa. A third century inscription, found in Caerleon, recorded the presence of Titus Flavius Postumius Varus, an African who had settled in Italy before being stationed in Wales. He later became a prefect of Rome.

During the medieval and Tudor periods, as British and European explorers sailed further and further afield, records show men and women of African origin living in cities and villages in the United Kingdom, mostly living free lives.

From the later 17th century, as the British Empire expanded and the trans-Atlantic slave trade grew, the African population also grew, particularly in port cities involved in the trade. This population included servants, children, seamen and some freed slaves. 

Wales’ archives are littered with reference to Black and minority ethnic individuals. We see them in household accounts, parish records and letters, and through oral accounts that were passed down through generations within communities. Wales’ diverse history is full of fascinating stories which have helped shape the country. 

In this section you can find out about a few individuals who left their mark.