Single ships rarely yielded as much booty as land raids, but they offered greater potential to acquire skilled tradesmen and seamen.Plus, those on board ships could often be coerced to divulge the location of stowed valuables and the wealth status of passengers.
Today, institutional slavery conjures images of pre-Civil War Southern ownership of African slaves.
However, slavery is an ancient practice dating from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as early Amer-Indian empires in Mexico and Central America.
In Tunis and Tripoli, 10 to 20% of inhabitants were slaves.
Some European coastal communities became virtual ghost towns as residents fled to escape the perils of seafaring Muslim corsairs, Davis writes.
In his book , Ohio State history professor Robert Davis takes a close look at this rarely discussed aspect of modern history.
Originating from the life of the Prophet Mohammed, slavery is deeply embedded in Islamic law and tradition.It was also well established and ideologically sanctioned in the Muslim world from the days of Mohammed.Concurrently with African enslavement in the Americas, a flourishing slave trade existed from 1500 to 1800 of white Christian Europeans by the Muslims of North Africa’s Barbary Coast.Often, the pirates would reappear at the victims’ home port waving a truce flag and displaying to distraught relatives victims available for ransom.Wealthy captives could be freed within a few days or several months, while the less fortunate might be consigned to years of slavery or death in captivity.Davis estimates that during three centuries of Muslim predation, as many as 1.25 million Europeans were permanently and stealthily removed from their families and communities.