Inconvenient History; The Barbary Coast Muslim slave trade and the founding of the US Marine Corps

Editors Note. There is a 30 second delay in the start of the video below – worth waiting for.

Published on 4 Feb 2016

Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the White Slave Trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500–1800 (Palgrave Macmillan). Davis estimates that 1 million to 1.25 million white Christian Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people which were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast), 16th- and 17th-century customs statistics suggest that Istanbul’s additional slave import from the Black Sea may have totalled around 2.5 million from 1450 to 1700. The markets declined after the loss of the Barbary Wars and finally ended in the 1830s, when the region was conquered by France.

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries. These slave raids were conducted largely by Arabs and Berbers rather than Ottoman Turks. However, during the height of the Barbary slave trade in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Barbary states were subject to Ottoman jurisdiction and ruled by Ottoman pashas. Furthermore, many slaves captured by the Barbary corsairs were sold eastward into Ottoman territories before, during, and after Barbary’s period of Ottoman rule.

The Barbary Muslim pirates kidnapped Europeans from ships in North Africa’s coastal waters (Barbary Coast). They also attacked and pillaged the Atlantic coastal fishing villages and town in Europe, enslaving the inhabitants. Villages and towns on the coast of Italy, Spain, Portugal and France were the hardest hit. Muslim slave-raiders also seized people as far afield as Britain, Ireland and Iceland.

In 1544, the island of Ischia off Naples was ransacked, taking 4,000 inhabitants prisoners, while some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari Island off the north coast of Sicily were enslaved.870 Turgut Reis, a Turkish pirate chief, ransacked the coastal settlements of Granada (Spain) in 1663 and carried away 4,000 people as slaves. In 1625, Barbary pirates captured the Lund Island in the Bristol Channel and planted the standard of Islam. From this base, they went ransacking and pillaging surrounding villages and towns, causing a stunning spectacle of mayhem, slaughter and plunder. According to Milton, ‘Day after day, they struck at unarmed fishing communities, seizing the inhabitants, and burning their homes. By the end of the dreadful summer of 1625, the mayor of Plymouth reckoned that 1,000 skiffs had been destroyed and similar number of villagers carried off into slavery.’871 Between 1609 and 1616, the Barbary pirates ‘captured a staggering 466 English trading ships.’

In 1627, Pirates went on a pillaging and enslaving campaign to Iceland. After dropping anchor at Reykjavik, his forces ransacked the town and returned with 400 men, women and children and sold them in Algiers. In 1631, he made a voyage with a brigand of 200 pirates to the coast of Southern Ireland and ransacked and pillaged the village of Baltimore, carrying away 237 men, women and children to Algiers.

The barbaric slave-raiding activities of the Muslim pirates had a telling effect on Europe. France, England, and Spain lost thousands of ships, devastating to their sea-borne trade. Long stretches of the coast in Spain and Italy were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants until the nineteenth century. The finishing industry was virtually devastated.

Paul Baepler’s White Slaves, African Masters: An Anthology of American Barbary Captivity Narratives lists a collection of essays by nine American captives held in North Africa. According to his book, there were more than 20,000 white Christian slaves by 1620 in Algiers alone; their number swelled to more than 30,000 men and 2,000 women by the 1630s. There were a minimum of 25,000 white slaves at any time in Sultan Moulay Ismail’s palace, records Ahmed ez-Zayyani; Algiers maintained a population of 25,000 white slaves between 1550 and 1730, and their numbers could double at certain times. During the same period, Tunis and Tripoli each maintained a white slave population of about 7,500. The Barbary pirates enslaved some 5,000 Europeans annually over a period of nearly three centuries.

(Video referred to the Salisbury Review Web site by Sylwia Pucher)







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10 Comments on Inconvenient History; The Barbary Coast Muslim slave trade and the founding of the US Marine Corps

    • As is White Cargo by Don Jordan, a book that Lefty apologists sneer at with references to ‘indentured servitude’, because differentiating between the subtle nuances of enslaving human beings is vitally important, obviously. They’re hardly concerned with traders selling their own people up the river – white or black – and that ours only turned their attention to Africa when they ran out of poor white trash to ship over to the New World. Only the white English privileged few that paid for black souls are worthy of judgement. Fancy that.

  1. Thank you for posting this. The truth about Islam is out there and available, see this youtube from Dr. Bill Warner:
    Well worth the 45 minutes to watch.
    If this history is true (and it is) what then explains the “Islam is a religion of peace” nonsense that we get from western political leadership? Dr. Warner explains this as a fear reaction, probably true in some cases. Others of course, such as the Bushes and Clintons, are a result of payoffs, it is a fact that American politics is as corrupted by money as any 3rd world kleptocracy. Since lying is a deliberate act they know they are lying, we know that they are lying, and they know that we know that they are lying, but apparently this doesn’t matter. This gives rise to a very problematical situation, about what are our leaders telling the truth? If we get into a position where our leaders ask for sacrifices, “Your King and Country need You”, I suggest GFY as a suitable response.
    The damage that has been done to Europe is now irreversible, a new dark age is coming, liberty and freedom will be only scarce remembered wisps from the past.

  2. Interesting article, though the matter itself was no stranger to me before.

    The study seems to center to the Western and Southern Europe (not a rare occasion); however, the subject matter would have allowed professor Davis to elaborate eastwards.

    My native country (Finland) appears to have been subject to rather systematic and heavy-handed slave raiding from 14th to 16th century, first practiced by merchant-lords of Novgorod and later by Grand Duchy of Moscow – halting for the 17th century (Swedish military supremacy preventing it at the time, I venture to guess) only to continue during the Great Northern War (1701-1721).

    During this war some 30,000 Finns of 400,000 total population are estimated to have been captured and herded to the slave markets in Black Sea ad Caspian Sea, leading to the same Ottoman and Persian destinations that the white slaves Of the professor Davis’ opus studies. The blond hair and blue eyes, commonplace in Finland, seem to have excited the taste for exotic in the islamic princes of the time.

    The matter is discussed in a book published in 2014 by professor Jukka Korpela (University of Helsinki), “Idän orjakauppa keskiajalla – ihmisryöstöt Suomesta ja Karjalasta” (“Eastern Slave Trade in the Middle Ages – Abductions from Finland and Karelia”), which, regrettably, has not been translated into English language as yet. Although the study focuses on Finland, it could be safe to assume that other Eastern European countries have similar histories.

    Apologies for the lengthy comment. My wish was merely to point out the expanse and many forms of the muslim slave business in the premodern era – with Russian states as middlemen in the Eastern Europe.

  3. Thanks for the article. Luckily I knew this already from reading the chapter “The Real History of Slavery” in Thomas Sowell’s “Black Rednecks and White Liberals”.

  4. No doubt the left infested establishment will ignore this work unless the hard left twitter mob decides to persecute its author. Then the establishment will weigh in with warnings about the need to exercise “caution” in dealing with “sensitive” issues.