White Slavery in the Barbary States: Charles Sumner

Sumner’s “views of Christianity and Islam will fascinate historian, clergyman, and educated lay-person alike.” -Goodreads

First published in 1853 by Charles Sumner, “White Slavery in the Barbary States” outlines the history of the centuries in which Moslems enslaved Europeans and later, Americans; and what led to its halt.

Sumner focuses on many specific instances of Europeans and Americans captured and sold at Moslem slave markets.

The Barbary slave trade refers to the slave markets that flourished on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, which included the Ottoman provinces of Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania and the independent sultanate of Morocco, between the 16th and middle of the 18th century. The Ottoman provinces in North Africa were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but in reality they were mostly autonomous. The North African slave markets were part of the Arab slave trade.

The Barbary Coast European slaves were acquired by Barbary pirates in slave raids on ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to the Netherlands, as far north as Iceland and east into the Mediterranean.

The Ottoman eastern Mediterranean was the scene of intense piracy. As late as the 18th century, piracy continued to be a “consistent threat to maritime traffic in the Aegean”.

For centuries, large vessels on the Mediterranean relied on galley slaves supplied by North African and Ottoman slave traders.

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