A case in study and worthy of notation for researching people often historically classified as other than white.
They came as slaves; vast human cargo transported on tall British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. They were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade.
But, are we talking about African slavery? King James II and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s famed Oliver Cromwell furthered this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor.
The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.
From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.
During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.
Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.
African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.
There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on it’s own to end it’s participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.
But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong. Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories.
All servants imported and brought into the Country. . . who were not Christians in their native Country. . . shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion. . . shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resists his master. . . correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction. . . the master shall be free of all punishment. . . as if such accident never happened. – Virginia General Assembly declaration, 1705
One of the places we have the clearest views of that “terrible transformation” is the colony of Virginia. In the early years of the colony, many Africans and poor whites — most of the laborers came from the English working class — stood on the same ground. Black and white women worked side-by-side in the fields. Black and white men who broke their servant contract were equally punished.
• Arrival of first Africans to Virginia Colony
• Africans in court
Anthony Johnson was a free black man who owned property in Virginia
All were indentured servants. During their time as servants, they were fed and housed. Afterwards, they would be given what were known as “freedom dues,” which usually included a piece of land and supplies, including a gun. Black-skinned or white-skinned, they became free.
Historically, the English only enslaved non-Christians, and not, in particular, Africans. And the status of slave (Europeans had African slaves prior to the colonization of the Americas) was not one that was life-long. A slave could become free by converting to Christianity. The first Virginia colonists did not even think of themselves as “white” or use that word to describe themselves. They saw themselves as Christians or Englishmen, or in terms of their social class. They were nobility, gentry, artisans, or servants.
One of the few recorded histories of an African in America that we can glean from early court records is that of “Antonio the negro,” as he was named in the 1625 Virginia census. He was brought to the colony in 1621. At this time, English and Colonial law did not define racial slavery; the census calls him not a slave but a “servant.” Later, Antonio changed his name to Anthony Johnson, married an African American servant named Mary, and they had four children. Mary and Anthony also became free, and he soon owned land and cattle and even indentured servants of his own. By 1650, Anthony was still one of only 400 Africans in the colony among nearly 19,000 settlers. In Johnson’s own county, at least 20 African men and women were free, and 13 owned their own homes.
In 1640, the year Johnson purchased his first property, three servants fled a Virginia plantation. Caught and returned to their owner, two had their servitude extended four years. However, the third, a black man named John Punch, was sentenced to “serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural life.” He was made a slave.
• Virginia recognizes slavery
• Virginia slave codes
• Colonial laws
Traditionally, Englishmen believed they had a right to enslave a non-Christian or a captive taken in a just war. Africans and Indians might fit one or both of these definitions. But what if they learned English and converted to the Protestant church? Should they be released from bondage and given “freedom dues?” What if, on the other hand, status were determined not by (changeable ) religious faith but by (unchangeable) skin color?
• Virginia looks toward
Africa for labor
In 1670 Virginia seized Johnson’s land…
This disorder that the indentured servant system had created made racial slavery to southern slaveholders much more attractive, because what were black slaves now? Well, they were a permanent dependent labor force, who could be defined as a people set apart. They were racially set apart. They were outsiders. They were strangers and in many ways throughout the world, slavery has taken root, especially where people are considered outsiders and can be put in a permanent status of slavery.
– David Blight, historian
Also, the indentured servants, especially once freed, began to pose a threat to the property-owning elite. The colonial establishment had placed restrictions on available lands, creating unrest among newly freed indentured servants. In 1676, working class men burned down Jamestown, making indentured servitude look even less attractive to Virginia leaders. Also, servants moved on, forcing a need for costly replacements; slaves, especially ones you could identify by skin color, could not move on and become free competitors.
In 1641, Massachusetts became the first colony to legally recognize slavery. Other states, such as Virginia, followed. In 1662, Virginia decided all children born in the colony to a slave mother would be enslaved. Slavery was not only a life-long condition; now it could be passed, like skin color, from generation to generation.
In 1665, Anthony Johnson moved to Maryland and leased a 300-acre plantation, where he died five years later. But back in Virginia that same year, a jury decided the land Johnson left behind could be seized by the government because he was a “negro and by consequence an alien.” In 1705 Virginia declared that “All servants imported and brought in this County… who were not Christians in their Native Country… shall be slaves. A Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves … shall be held to be real estate.”
• Court document regarding Anthony Johnson
• Royal African Company established
English suppliers responded to the increasing demand for slaves. In 1672, England officially got into the slave trade as the King of England chartered the Royal African Company, encouraging it to expand the British slave trade. In 1698, the English Parliament ruled that any British subject could trade in slaves. Over the first 50 years of the 18th century, the number of Africans brought to British colonies on British ships rose from 5,000 to 45,000 a year. England had passed Portugal and Spain as the number one trafficker of slaves in the world.
The transformation from indentured servitude (servants contracted to work for a set amount of time) to racial slavery didn’t happen overnight. There are no laws regarding slavery early in Virginia’s history. By 1640, the Virginia courts had sentenced at least one black servant to slavery . . .
Three servants working for a farmer named Hugh Gwyn ran away to Maryland. Two were white; one was black. They were captured in Maryland and returned to Jamestown, where the court sentenced all three to thirty lashes — a severe punishment even by the standards of 17th-century Virginia. The two white men were sentenced toan additional four years of servitude — one more year for Gwyn followed by three more for the colony. But, in addition to the whipping, the black man, a man named John Punch, was ordered to “serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere.” John Punch no longer had hope for freedom.
It wasn’t until 1661 that a reference to slavery entered into Virginia law, and this law was directed at white servants — at those who ran away with a black servant. The following year, the colony went one step further by stating that children born would be bonded or free according to the status of the mother.
The transformation had begun, but it wouldn’t be until the Slave Codes of 1705 that the status of African Americans would be sealed.
The status of blacks in Virginia slowly changed over the last half of the 17th century. The black indentured servant, with his hope of freedom, was increasingly being replaced by the black slave.
In 1705, the Virginia General Assembly also removed any lingering uncertainty about this terrible transformation; it made a declaration that would seal the fate of African Americans for generations to come…
“All servants imported and brought into the Country…who were not Christians in their native Country…shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion…shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resist his master…correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction…the master shall be free of all punishment…as if such accident never happened.”
The code, which would also serve as a model for other colonies, went even further. The law imposed harsh physical punishments, since enslaved persons who did not own property could not be required to pay fines. It stated that slaves needed written permission to leave their plantation, that slaves found guilty of murder or rape would be hanged, that for robbing or any other major offense, the slave would receive sixty lashes and be placed in stocks, where his or her ears would be cut off, and that for minor offenses, such as associating with whites, slaves would be whipped, branded, or maimed.
For the 17th century slave in Virginia, disputes with a master could be brought before a court for judgement. With the slave codes of 1705, this no longer was the case. A slave owner who sought to break the most rebellious of slaves could now do so, knowing any punishment he inflicted, including death, would not result in even the slightest reprimand.
They Were White and They Were Slaves – The lesson our teachers forget
By Jack Renshaw – British students will be well aware that in our education system, we students are indoctrinated by the liberal establishment and Marxist teachers into feeling guilty for black slavery that took place in the industrializing world.
What if I was to tell you that way before black slavery became prominent in the colonies, the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish were enslaved by the ruling elite that then made up our parliament? Given the increased betrayal of the British people over recent years, I am sure it would come as no real surprise.
Slavery has always been a race less issue; whilst many slaves are taken because they are seen as subhuman, all races have been victims of slavery, and that includes whites.
The information in this article is based upon the book, “They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America“, by American researcher, Michael. A. Hoffman.
In Ancient Greece whites were enslaved and used for the manual tasks the higher up classes did not want to partake in. Also, in Ancient Rome, Gauls and Angles (early English) were taken as slaves – Caesar enslaved as many as one million Gauls.
Viking raiders sold captured Britons into slavery in the Muslim world, whom of which, were using slaves for numerous jobs, including military service.
White slaves acted as a form of foreign exchange when dealing with Muslim countries – mostly English people living on the coast, Slavs, Irish and Flemish slaves were sold to the Muslim world, or kidnapped by Muslim pirates, and whilst the men were worked to death as galley slaves, women and children were made into prostitutes.
The establishment also likes to make us think that the slavery that took place in Spain involves a mass number of black slaves – but – until the fall of Muslim Spain, whites made up the majority of slaves in Spain.
The Russians, when they weren’t enslaving each other, were being enslaved by Ottoman and Mongolian raiders.
In the summer of 1716, a Cornish cabin boy named Thomas Pellow and fifty-one of his comrades were captured at sea by the Barbary pirates (corsairs). Their captors, Ali Hakem and his network of Islamic slave traders, had declared war on the whole of Christendom. France, Spain, England and Italy had suffered a series of devastating attacks. Thousands of Europeans had been snatched from their homes and taken in chains to the great slave markets of Algiers, Tunis and Salé in Morocco. This story can be read in more depth in “White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves”.
Historian Richard Dunn has stated that the early sugar plantations of the British West Indies were nothing more than mass graves for white workers. (Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, p. 302)
The most recent direct slavery that Britons had to endure took place when our parliament passed laws that resulted in the poorest Britons being sent to work in the colonies (modern day US). An Englishman, William Eddis, after observing white slaves in America: “they groan beneath a worse than Egyptian bondage”.
Aristocratic Tories, such as Sir Humphrey Mackworth, supported the program of slavery forced upon the poorest. This came at a time when, quite frustratingly, British Parliament was condemning the black slavery that was taking place in the West Indies. Yes – whilst whining about mistreated black slaves in the West Indies, they were passing laws that enabled their own people to be sold into slavery. Work that one out!
Oliver Cromwell, whilst known for oppressing Catholics, also enslaved many Protestant whites; many of them also sent to the colonies. In February, 1656, Oliver Cromwell sent 1,200 poor women for enslavement and deportation to the colonies. In March, he repeated the process, but increased the order to “2,000 young women of England.”
Charles II continued to enslave white Protestants after Cromwell. In 1656, when ensuring the enslavement of Protestant rebels in the Caribbean colonies, the legislation he passed resulted in very harsh conditions for the slaves – Richard Hall noted, in “Acts Passed in the Island of Barbados”: “The condition of these Rebels was by this Act made as bad, if not worse than the negroes”.
Slavery manifested itself in all sorts of forms. The Cherokee Indians and many blacks were even known to have purchased or obtained white slaves. The Southern Confederacy’s land owners were actually known to treat the black slaves to better clothes, accommodation and food – as compared to the white slaves. This was because black slaves, being much rarer in the earlier years of slavery in the colonies, were also much more costly and so land owners treated the blacks well, even if for their own interests. Due to this, many white slaves died of malnutrition or of various diseases.
Whilst many of the white slaves in the later years were criminals, many of them were poli
tical prisoners, including Scottish Royalists sent to the colonies as slaves after the Battle of Worcester, during the English Civil War. There were also slave hunting gangs that traded slaves illegally, most of the victims, of course, innocent.
If a white slave was to have sexual intercourse with another slave during the 18th century slavery in the colonies, the period they are expected to be a slave would be extended, and if the female white slave got pregnant, the children would have to serve a modern life sentence (give or take a few years) in slavery.
On the topic of child slavery, many British children sold into slavery, some as young as eight, were sold so that they can work on the Virginia fields as labourers. Some were even used as human brooms to sweep chimneys.
Below is a letter from white slave, Elizabeth Sprigs, in Maryland, to her father, John Sprigs, in London, 1756.
…O Dear Father… I am sure you’ll pity your distressed daughter. What we unfortunate English people suffer here is beyond the probability of you in England to conceive.
“Let it suffice that I am one of the unhappy number toiling day and night, and very often in the horse’s druggery, with only the comfort of hearing me called, ‘You bitch, you did not do half enough.’
“Then I am tied up and whipped to that degree that you’d not serve an animal. I have scarce anything but Indian corn and salt to eat and that even begrudged. Nay, many negroes are better used…
“…after slaving after Master’s pleasure, what rest we can get is to wrap ourselves up in a blanket and lay upon the ground. This is the deplorable condition your young Betty endures…”
Whilst the political establishment would tell us blacks got most of the punishment, the truth is, more often than not, it was whites who were punished the most. An eyewitness to black slavery in the South and the treatment of white sailors on American naval ships at sea reported:
“…that on board of the American man-of-war that carried him out, he had witnessed more flogging than had taken place on a plantation of five hundred African slaves in ten years” – (Herman Melville, White Jacket or The World in a Man of War, Oxford University Press edition, p.142).
Trading of White European Slaves by the Barbary Corsairs
By Dr Radhasyam Brahmachari
Who were the Barbary Corsairs:
It is well known that from 17th to 18th centuries, the European nations began their endeavors to colonize many Asian and African countries. For example, in 1600 AD, the British East India Company was incorporated in London that started colonizing India after the Battle of Plassey in 1757 AD. But many do not know that a century before, many of these European nations were under the threat of piracy by the Barbary corsairs. These Barbary pirates used to intercept commercial vessels in the sea, loot the merchandise as booty and at the same time kidnapping white Europeans sailors as slaves to be sold in the slave markets of the Middle East and other Muslim countries. In addition to mid-sea piracy, they used to launch raids in the coastal villages of Europe and capture both male and female Europeans and forced slavery on them.
The term Barbary States is used for the Muslim States of North Africa like of Tripolitania, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco and the pirates operating from these Barbary States were known as Barbary corsairs. Previously, these states were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, but from the 16th century, Tripolitania, Tunisia, and Algeria were turned into autonomous provinces of the Turkish Empire. The piracy carried on thereafter by the Muslims of North Africa began as part of the wars against Spain and in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the Turkish hold on the area grew weaker, the raids became less military and more commercial in character. The booty, ransom, and slaves that resulted from attacks on Mediterranean towns and shipping and from occasional forays into the Atlantic became the main source of revenue for local Muslim rulers.
A potential buyer is inspecting the private parts of a female slave
All the major European naval powers made attempts to destroy the corsairs, and British and French fleets repeatedly bombarded the pirate strongholds. Yet, on the whole, countries trading in the Mediterranean found it more convenient to pay tribute than to undertake the expensive task of eliminating piracy. But towards the end of the 18th century, the power of the piratical states diminished. The United States and the European powers took advantage of this decline to launch more attacks. And after the Napoleonic wars, European fleets intensified their war against the pirates and practically destroyed pirate gangs.
Finally, in 1816, Lord Exmouth with an Anglo-Dutch flotilla put an end to the naval power of the Dey of Algiers, signaling the end to the menace of Barbary corsairs. [Dey was the title given to the rulers of the Regency of Algiers (Algeria) under the Ottoman Empire from 1671 onwards. Twenty-nine deys held office from the establishment of the deylicate in Algeria until the French conquest in 1830. The dey was chosen by local civilian, military, and religious leaders to govern for life and ruled with a high degree of autonomy from the Ottoman sultan. The rule of the deys came to an end on 5 July 1830, when Hussein Dey (1765–1838) surrendered to invading French forces.] 
“An ultimatum from the European Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1819) compelled the Dey of Tunis to give up piracy. The Tunisian fleet was subsequently sent to help the Ottomans in Greece and was destroyed (1827) at the battle of Navarino. In 1830, France, after a three-year blockade of Algiers, began the conquest of Algeria. The Ottoman Turks were able to reassert (1835) direct control over Tripolitania and end piracy there. About the same time the sultans of Morocco, who had occasionally encouraged piracy, were forced by France, Great Britain, and Austria to give up plans to rebuild the Moroccan fleet, and North African piracy was at an end”, says a historian. 
Slave trade by the Barbary Corsairs:
The Barbary Slave Trade was mainly confined to the slave markets which flourished on the Barbary Coast, or modern day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Western Libya between the 16th and 19th centuries. As it has been mentioned above, that these markets prospered while the states were nominally under Ottoman rule, but in reality were mostly autonomous. These Barbary pirates used to capture black African slaves, but they were more interested to capture white European slaves for a better demand for them. Although the slave markets were filled by peoples from many places, they were distinct from other slave markets because they sold both black African and white European slaves, acquired through piratical raids on ships and coastal towns and villages.
But the markets declined after the loss of the First and Second Barbary wars and ultimately ended in the 1830′s when the entire area came under French rule. The Barbary States ultimately turned into colonies of France.
As a matter of fact, the slave trade had existed in North Africa since antiquity, with a supply of African slaves arriving through trans-Saharan trade routes. The towns on the North African coast, even during the Roman times, were famous for their slave markets, and this trend continued up to the medieval age. But it’s influence, along the Barbary coast, considerably increased in the 15th century when the Ottoman Empire took over as rulers of the area. With Ottoman protection and a host of destitute immigrants and Moorish refugees, newly expelled from Spain, the coastline soon became reputed for piracy. Crews from the seized ships were either enslaved or ransomed.
“Pirate raids for the acquisition of slaves occurred in towns and villages on the African Atlantic seaboard, as well as in Europe. Reports of Barbary raids and kidnappings of those in Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Scotland as far north as Iceland exist from between the 16th to the 19th centuries. Between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by pirates and sold as slaves during this time period. Famous accounts of Barbary slave raids include a mention in the Diary of Samuel Pepys and a raid on the coastal village of Baltimore, Ireland, during which pirates left with the entire populace of the settlement. Such raids in the Mediterranean were so frequent and devastating that the coastline between Venice to Malaga suffered widespread depopulation, and settlement there was discouraged” says a study.
Golden age of Barbary slavery:
As mentioned above, after the decline of the influence of the Ottoman Turks, in the mid 17th century, the towns of Tripoli, Algiers, Tunis and others became more or less independent and the pirates started to gain much influence. Pirate raids for the acquisition of slaves occurred in towns and villages on the African Atlantic seaboard, as well as in Europe. Their area of operation, between the 16th to the 19th centuries, included the vast area starting from Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, England, Ireland, Scotland as far north as Iceland. It is roughly estimated that between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by pirates and sold as slaves during this time period. Famous accounts of Barbary slave raids include a mention in the Diary of Samuel Pepys and a raid on the coastal village of Baltimore, Ireland, during which pirates left with the entire populace of the settlement.
Such raids in the Mediterranean were so frequent and devastating that the coastline between Venice to Malaga suffered widespread depopulation, and settlement there was discouraged. In fact, it was said that this was largely because ‘there was no one left to capture any longer. The power and influence of these pirates during this time was such that nations including the United States of America paid tribute in order to stave off their attacks.
Study by of Robert Davis:
Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed a scientific method to calculate the number of white Christians who were enslaved along Africa’s Barbary Coast, arriving at much higher slave population estimates than any previous studies had found. The research by Dr Davis suggests that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 – a far greater number than had ever been estimated before. 
“Pirates from cities such as Tunis and Algiers – would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children”, says Davis. The impact of these attacks by the Barbary pirates was devastating. France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships. Long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior. Through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers. Even Americans were not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793.
“Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe. … Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear”, says Davis.
The common notion is that, over the course of four centuries, the Atlantic slave trade was much larger – about 10 to 12 million black Africans were brought to the Americas. But the work of Dr Davis has revealed that, from 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas. “It is useful to compare this Mediterranean slavery to the Atlantic slave trade that brought black Africans to the Americas. … One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature – that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true”, says Dr Davis. “Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland,” he adds.
The United States of America and some European nations fought and won two Barbary Wars against the pirates in the early years of the 19th century, After that, a joint Anglo-Dutch raid on Algiers in 1816 destroyed most of the Pirate fleet and the Dey of Algiers was forced to surrender and sign an agreement which included a cessation of the practice of enslaving Christians, although slave trading in non-Europeans could still continue.
Thus due to naval attacks by the European and American powers, the Barbary States went into decline. A consequent British attack on Algiers in 1824 brought an end to Barbary piracy. The menace was finally abolished in 1830 and 1831, when France took control of Algiers and Tunis respectively. The slave trade finally ceased on the Barbary coast when European governments passed laws granting emancipation to slaves.
Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800
 Four videos : http://wn.com/Barbary_Slave_Trade
Originally posted by Just call me Jari:
OLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study suggests that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 – a far greater number than had ever been estimated before.
In a new book, Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed a unique methodology to calculate the number of white Christians who were enslaved along Africa’s Barbary Coast, arriving at much higher slave population estimates than any previous studies had found.
Most other accounts of slavery along the Barbary coast didn’t try to estimate the number of slaves, or only looked at the number of slaves in particular cities, Davis said. Most previously estimated slave counts have thus tended to be in the thousands, or at most in the tens of thousands. Davis, by contrast, has calculated that between 1 million and 1.25 million European Christians were captured and forced to work in North Africa from the 16th to 18th centuries.
Davis’s new estimates appear in the book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).
“Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland.”
“Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe,” Davis said. “Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.”
Davis said it is useful to compare this Mediterranean slavery to the Atlantic slave trade that brought black Africans to the Americas. Over the course of four centuries, the Atlantic slave trade was much larger – about 10 to 12 million black Africans were brought to the Americas. But from 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas, according to Davis.
“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature – that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true,” Davis said. “We cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people.”
During the time period Davis studied, it was religion and ethnicity, as much as race, that determined who became slaves.
“Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland,” he said.
Pirates (called corsairs) from cities along the Barbary Coast in north Africa – cities such as Tunis and Algiers – would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact of these attacks were devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior.
Although hundreds of thousands of Christian slaves were taken from Mediterranean countries, Davis noted, the effects of Muslim slave raids was felt much further away: it appears, for example, that through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers.
Even Americans were not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793.
Davis said the vast scope of slavery in North Africa has been ignored and minimized, in large part because it is on no one’s agenda to discuss what happened.
The enslavement of Europeans doesn’t fit the general theme of European world conquest and colonialism that is central to scholarship on the early modern era, he said. Many of the countries that were victims of slavery, such as France and Spain, would later conquer and colonize the areas of North Africa where their citizens were once held as slaves. Maybe because of this history, Western scholars have thought of the Europeans primarily as “evil colonialists” and not as the victims they sometimes were, Davis said.
Davis said another reason that Mediterranean slavery has been ignored or minimized has been that there have not been good estimates of the total number of people enslaved. People of the time – both Europeans and the Barbary Coast slave owners – did not keep detailed, trustworthy records of the number of slaves. In contrast, there are extensive records that document the number of Africans brought to the Americas as slaves.
So Davis developed a new methodology to come up with reasonable estimates of the number of slaves along the Barbary Coast. Davis found the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time. He then estimated how many new slaves it would take to replace slaves as they died, escaped or were ransomed.
“The only way I could come up with hard numbers is to turn the whole problem upside down – figure out how many slaves they would have to capture to maintain a certain level,” he said. “It is not the best way to make population estimates, but it is the only way with the limited records available.”
Putting together such sources of attrition as deaths, escapes, ransomings, and conversions, Davis calculated that about one-fourth of slaves had to be replaced each year to keep the slave population stable, as it apparently was between 1580 and 1680. That meant about 8,500 new slaves had to be captured each year. Overall, this suggests nearly a million slaves would have been taken captive during this period. Using the same methodology, Davis has estimated as many as 475,000 additional slaves were taken in the previous and following centuries.
The result is that between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.
Davis said his research into the treatment of these slaves suggests that, for most of them, their lives were every bit as difficult as that of slaves in America.
“As far as daily living conditions, the Mediterranean slaves certainly didn’t have it better,” he said.
While African slaves did grueling labor on sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, European Christian slaves were often worked just as hard and as lethally – in quarries, in heavy construction, and above all rowing the corsair galleys themselves.
Davis said his findings suggest that this invisible slavery of European Christians deserves more attention from scholars.
“We have lost the sense of how large enslavement could loom for those who lived around the Mediterranean and the threat they were under,” he said. “Slaves were still slaves, whether they are black or white, and whether they suffered in America or North Africa”