How Spain turned “white”: the Slavs (Saqqalibas) of Spain

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The Slavs (Saqqalibas) of Spain:

The Cambridge Economic History of Europe: Trade and industry in the Middle Ages:

Most slaves, however, before the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul) in the 15th century were “whites” coming from the north and mixing with the very dark-skinned black and near black groups of people known as “Arabs” in Spain, North Africa and the Near East. Thus, from the peoples named “Slav” north of the Arabs came the word “slave” in western parlance. And thus, many Arabic speaking historians asserted up until the 14th century that the Arabs equated slave origins with fair skin or vice versa. One of these Arabic speakers, the Syrian , Al Dhahabi wrote in the 14th century “Red, in the speech of the people from the Hijaz, means fair-complexioned and this color is rare amongst the Arabs. This is the meaning of the saying, …a red man as if he is one of the slaves. The speaker meant that his color is like that of the slaves who were captured from the Christians of Syria, Rome and Persia.” See, Seyar al Nubala’a, Al Dhahabi of Damascus Syria, also cited on p. 55, The Unknown Arabs, 2002.

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6 thoughts on “How Spain turned “white”: the Slavs (Saqqalibas) of Spain”

    1. No silly. Olive skin. They turn dark in the sun just like white people. My husband is Puerto Rican. He turns very dark almost black in the sun. However, if he does not tan, so to speak, he is whiter than me.

    2. I vow to never tan again. I love my Slavic olive/white skin!
      Also, My father, who is Croatian, considered white, turned deep red when tanning.
      It was the way of the poor to tan in those days. Only the royalty stood out of the sun and bathed in milk to stay white. Remember Moses? The Pharaohs wife bathed in milk and stayed out of the sun. She was milk white! So much for all the conspiracy theories against WHITE people!

  1. Slavs is not a name for a people, but it is a name for any white person who venerated a protective deity of their family, their property, their lands, their animals and their surrounding forests, mountains and valleys. As a exemple, a family dedicated to hunting, would have a protective deity of hunting, which protect their family in general. Once a year, on the day of that divinity, they would invite friends to their house and eat, drink and celebrate the succesful year. The celebration is called Slava and means something like Salve in spanish or italian, from Slava we have not only Salve in Spanish but also Savior, Save (Let me be saved), etc… So all Europeans were Slavs at one time. They were the same people as todays, it does not mean a Russian is the same as a Spanish person, but they once all had in common that they celebrated a Slava. The Slava in Catholic (Western) Europe became a person’s name Saint (for instance San Joaquin is celebrated by all men who are called Joaquin in Spain) and in Eastern Europe, the Orthodox Christinas, still celebrate the Slava as a family protector but the once divine deity became family Saints. So when this Arab writer talkes about Slav in Spain, it is simply the same people as today, but who did not yet become Catholic and therefore, celebrated Slava and were called Slavs or Sclavi by Romans. Captured Slavs were forced to work for free and the word for forced worker, became Slave. Later, any captured person who was forced to worked, be it Afrocan black, Olive Arab or European White, could be called a slave if he was not a free person but someone’s personal unpaid worker.

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