The Barbary Corsairs

Discussion in 'General' started by breakwake_, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. breakwake_

    breakwake_ UKChat Familiar

    Jan 3, 2018
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    Following on from the recent protests by the Black Lives Matter against anything slavery related, thought I'd post a little educational thing. Not that I need to post it as I'm sure we all know everything.

    Copied from The Cornish are a Nation.

    The memory of thousands of Cornish (and Devon) people who were kidnapped and sold into slavery has been 'culturally erased'

    Academics are reviving knowledge about pirates from the Barbary coast in North Africa who terrorised West Country maritime communities during the 17th and 18th centuries.

    Also known as the Barbary corsairs, the seafarers targeted settlements across the western Mediterranean and Atlantic European coasts until they were finally suppressed for good in 1830.

    Historians say Cornish records reveal family members pleading for ransom money to buy their loved-ones back.

    Professor Jo Esra, from the University of Exeter, said the piracy was an “incredibly significant” aspect of the history of the South West.

    “There’s an element that it has been culturally erased in some way,” she said.

    “This was an aspect of history that impacted enormously on those ordinary, maritime communities.

    “They were the ones that were enslaved and they were the ones that were taken, they were the communities that were decimated, through the activities of the barbary pirates.”

    The Barbary pirates operated primarily from Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli and Rabat and occasionally sailed as far as Iceland to capture slaves, which they then traded in North African slave markets.

    As well as raiding coastal towns, they also capture thousands of ships over almost two centuries.

    The activity began to wane in the late 17th century as European navies set out to disrupt it, however it was not until the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15 that the major powers formally agreed the need to act.

    The piracy was fully stamped out in 1830 with the French occupation of much of the North African coastline.

    In August 1625 corsairs raided Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, capturing 60 men, women and children and taking them into slavery.

    In 1626 St Keverne was repeatedly attacked, and boats out of Looe, Penzance, Mousehole and other Cornish ports were boarded, their crews taken captive and the empty ships left to drift.

    It was feared that there were around 60 Barbary men-of-war prowling the Devon and Cornish coasts and attacks were now occurring almost daily.

    In 1645, another raid by Barbary pirates on the Cornish coast saw 240 men, women and children kidnapped.

    The following year Parliament sent Edmund Cason to Algiers to negotiate the ransom and release of captives. He paid on average £30 per man - women were more expensive to ransom - and managed to free some 250 people before he ran out of money. Cason spent the last 8 years of his life trying to arrange the release of a further 400.

    The Barbary slave trade even features in Samuel Pepys’ diary, in an entry from 8th February 1661:

    ‘…went to the Fleece Tavern to drink; and there we spent till four o’clock, telling stories of Algiers, and the manner of the life of slaves there! And truly Captn. Mootham and Mr. Dawes (who have been both slaves there) did make me fully acquainted with their condition there: as, how they eat nothing but bread and water. … How they are beat upon the soles of their feet and bellies at the liberty of their padron. How they are all, at night, called into their master’s Bagnard; and there they lie. How the poorest men do use their slaves best. How some rogues do live well, if they do invent to bring their masters in so much a week by their industry or theft; and then they are put to no other work at all. And theft there is counted no great crime at all…’

    Something had to be done. In 1675 Sir John Narborough, backed by a Royal Navy squadron, managed to negotiate a peace with Tunis. A heavy naval bombardment by the British then brought about a similar peace with Tripoli.

    Algiers was also attacked from the sea, not only by British warships but also by the French and Spanish. The United States fought two wars against the Barbary States of North Africa: the First Barbary War of 1801–1805 and the Second Barbary War, 1815 – 1816. Finally after an attack by the British and Dutch in 1816 more than 4,000 Christian slaves were liberated and the power of the Barbary pirates was broken.

    It is estimated that, between 1530 and 1780, about 1.25 million people from all over Europe - from Greece to Ireland - were kidnapped by pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa.

    Sources Historic UK; BBC; University of Exeter:
  2. Moriarty

    Moriarty UKChat Familiar

    Jan 5, 2018
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    To be honest I care little for historic slavery, the Romans enslaved the brits, the whoever, enslaved whoever.
    I am more concerned trying to fight modern slavery where people are being sold a sex slaves, labourers or even organ donors.
    breakwake_ likes this.
  3. Dong

    Dong UKChat Initiate

    Dec 22, 2019
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    I should think that the delivery driver for one of our on line companies comes close to being slave driven,
    I tried talking to one who came to us recently...but there was no time. It was already afternoon and he still had over 50 more drops, he said.
    It wasn't for us either, we were asked to take it in for a neighbour......what a rotten job!
    breakwake_ likes this.

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