Stonehenge was built by black Britons, children’s history book claims

The illustrated book by Nigerian-born British author Atinuke, entitled Brilliant Black British History, says that ‘every single British person comes from a migrant’
The illustrated book by Nigerian-born British author Atinuke, entitled Brilliant Black British History, says that ‘every single British person comes from a migrant’

Stonehenge was built by black Britons, a new children’s history book has claimed.

The illustrated book entitled Brilliant Black British History, by the Nigerian-born British author Atinuke, says “every single British person comes from a migrant” but “the very first Britons were black”.

Readers of the newly-released book are told that Stonehenge was built while Britain was “a black country”.

The book, published by Bloomsbury and promoted by Arts Council-funded literacy charity The Book Trust, states that “Britain was a black country for more than 7,000 years before white people came, and during that time the most famous British monument was built, Stonehenge.”

The introduction says that “Britain has been a mostly white country for a lot less time than it has been a mostly black country”.

Atinuke’s book, for readers aged seven-plus, takes the reader through a chronological overview of black people’s presence in Britain, saying that Cheddar Man, the oldest human remains found in Britain, had skin “as dark as dark can be”.

‘A hodgepodge of people’

The claims made in the book have caused concern among some historians that children could be brought up reading “misinformation”.

The leaders of 2018 research into Cheddar Man’s DNA said it was impossible to know with certainty how this early inhabitant looked, and other researchers noted problems with attempting to predict skin tone from the genetic model used.

Recent genetic analysis has shown that the inhabitants of Britain in the period when Stonehenge was completed, around 2,500 BC, were pale-skinned early farmers whose ancestors had spread from Anatolia.

On a page featuring an image of a black Roman legionary fighting a white Celt, Atinuke’s book says Rome “turned back to Europe and pushed north” to conquer Britain after first being unable to take the African kingdom of Nubia.

The book states that the Roman historian Tacitus reported that the Silures people in Wales were “dark-skinned and curly-haired”. In Tacitus’ full account, he theorised that they may have been from Spain.

It adds that, by the Middle Ages, Britain was “a hodgepodge of people: original British migrants, Celts, Romans, Britons, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Africans and Normans”, adding:  “They spoke a hodgepodge language too – English”.

In the period of the Tudors and Stewarts, an incoming black Muslim population brought “new knowledge about textiles, medicine, maths and navigation”.

Windrush generation

The book says that following the Second World War, “Britain needed help” and so the “government asked people from the colonies to come”. These included the Windrush generation, and others from counties that had been “left poor after slavery and colonisation”.

It also includes a page on Black Lives Matter, which states that although “race does not scientifically exist”, black people suffer “institutional racism”.

Atinuke’s book has caused concern among historians, with Dr Zareer Masani saying “seems typical of the kind of wokedom that’s been colonising our schools and universities”.

He claimed it was “evidence of brainwashing children with outright lies, confusion and misinformation”.

David Abulafia, a historian and Cambridge emeritus professor,  said: “The Nazis claimed that the cultural achievements of the north were the work of blond, fair-skinned folk.

“Making skin colour a criterion for judging great achievements like Stonehenge is therefore not a new idea. It is also rubbish. It only gets interesting if their skins were blue or green.”

Representatives of Atinuke have been approached for comment.