Barbary slave trade
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The Barbary slave trade refers to slave markets 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.
European slaves were acquired by Barbary pirates in slave raids on ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to the Netherlands, Ireland and the southwest of Britain, as far north as Iceland and into the eastern Mediterranean.
- There are no records of how many men, women and children were enslaved, but it is possible to calculate roughly the number of fresh captives that would have been needed to keep populations steady and replace those slaves who died, escaped, were ransomed, or converted to Islam. On this basis it is thought that around 8,500 new slaves were needed annually to replenish numbers - about 850,000 captives over the century from 1580 to 1680. By extension, for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000.
- Robert Davis, as quoted in "New book reopens old arguments about slave raids on Europe" (11 March 2004), by Rory Carroll, The Guardian
- The Barbary states of North Africa (or, if you prefer, the North African provinces of the Ottoman Empire, plus Morocco) were using the ports of today's Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia to wage a war of piracy and enslavement against all shipping that passed through the Strait of Gibraltar. Thousands of vessels were taken, and more than a million Europeans and Americans sold into slavery.
- Christopher Hitchens, "Jefferson's Quran" (January 2007), Slate
- The ambassador answered us that [the right to enslave] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
- Thomas Jefferson, as quoted in "Jefferson's Quran" (January 2007), by Christopher Hitchens, Slate
- The origins of America’s interventions in the Third World form part of the origins of the American state. When Thomas Jefferson intervened against pirates on the North African coast – in the American image, the precursors of twenty-first-century terrorists – the aim was both to secure American commerce and to impose American standards of behavior. It was also to declare to the outside world that the United States was prepared to impose its will abroad. The need for such a declaration – later to be repeated as dogma for Latin America in the Monroe Doctrine – grew out of the visible contrast between building empires overseas, such as the West European powers were doing, and constructing a continental or even ‘‘inner’’ empire, such as Americans did through the twin processes of westward expansion and slavery.
- Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Intervention and the Making of Our Times (2012), p. 23
- Encyclopedic article on Barbary slave trade on Wikipedia