Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Black Legend

1598 engraving by de Bry depicting a Spaniard feeding Indian
children to his dogs, characteristic of the anti-Spanish
propaganda that originated as a result of the Eighty Years' War.
The Black Legend (La Leyenda Negra) refers to a style of historical writing or propaganda that demonizes Spain (and Catholicism) in a politically motivated attempt to incite animosity. Anti-Spanish propaganda is rooted in the 16th century when Spain was at its height of political power, and came under attack by propagandists from rival European powers, namely the Protestant countries of England and the Netherlands, as a means to morally disqualify the country and its people.

Cousin to the Black Legend is Whig History, Anglo-German triumphalist history that celebrates the successes of Anglo republicanism, e.g., abolition, while ignoring it's sins, e.g., the proto-Apartheid Penal Laws imposed on the Irish, leading to the Famine tragedy, Britain's opium wars, and the Nativist roots of the American Republican Party.