This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume which is about the Black Legend. It suggests that the Black Legend was created when Spain's enemies took Spain's own internal debates about its identity and “purity of blood” and the morality of its behavior in the New World and constructed an image of the Spanish as violent and close to barbarians. This chapter also describes the three simultaneous events that led to the creation of the Black Legend. It also explains that many of the work in this volume were first presented as part of a conference entitled “Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Racial Difference in the Renaissance Empires” held at Duke University in April 2003.
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