The finding suggests that black people have contributed to the “indigenous” British gene pool despite previous evidence to the contrary.
Africans were first recorded in northern England some 1,800 years ago, part of a Roman garrison brought in to defend Hadrian’s Wall against raids by tribes in what is now Scotland, the study team said.
But slaves from West Africa, Jobling said, were the most likely source of the African DNA revealed in the study.
“The first boatful of slaves showed up in 1555 in England, and so from that time on their numbers increased,” Jobling said.
In 1601 Queen Elizabeth I issued an edict “that black people should be expelled from Britain because there were too many of them around, which everybody ignored,” he added.
Historian Ron Ramdin, author of Reimaging Britain: 500 Years of Black and Asian History, said that by the end of the 18th century an estimated 10,000 black people were living in Britain, mostly concentrated in cities."