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Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 (Early Modern History) Paperback – November 4, 2004


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Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 (Early Modern History) + White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America + They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America
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Product Details

  • Series: Early Modern History
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403945519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403945518
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters is about a subject of immense importance, which has been strangely neglected...It is very well researched, and... at a time of unprecedented interest in racial slavery in America, it is interesting to read a crucial and informative preview to that subject.' - David Brion Davis, Yale University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert C. Davis is in the Department of History, Ohio State University, Columbus.

More About the Author

Robert Davis is a professor of Italian Renaissance and pre-modern Mediterranean history at Ohio State University. He studies Naples, Rome, Palermo, Venice, the Vatican, and Perugia, and mostly works on the lives of ordinary people and the values they cherished. His subjects have ranged from shipbuilders, bull fighters, and amateur boxers in Venice to the corsairs who terrorized the Mediterranean everywhere else. He has also recently co-authored a study of Venice, as the world's most touristed city, and after reading this, no one can ever look at Romantic Venice in quite the same way. He has been in a number of television documentaries, on shipbuilding, Carnival, and the Mediterranean slave trade.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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With good reason.
Ronald T. Jones
This is a well written book and any student of Southern Europeaninternational relations would be well advised to read it.
Air Cdre A. Lambert
Well written and a very interesting book.
O.V.R. Hill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Ronald T. Jones on January 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mass slavery in the popular imagination had always been associated with the capture and subsequent enslavement of Africans. With good reason. The sheer scale of the African slave trade stretched the limits of imagination. Enslaved Africans were ubiquitous from Brazil to the Carribbean to the plantations in the Southern United States. Slavery undergirded economies, dehumanized victims and victimizers alike and generated profits for those who benefited from this egregious institution. In the Western world, especially the United States, the history of slavery bares a black face. There is no denying the suffering of Africans in bondage. Robert C. Davis, author of Chritian Slaves, Muslim Masters,however, presents us with another picture of bondage, one no less brutal, repressive and disheartening. This bondage was experienced by Europeans at the hands of North African Muslims. Between 1500 and 1800, dates in the subtitle, corsairs sanctioned by the North African govenments of Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers and Morrocco attacked European ships in the Medditeranean and raided European shores. These plundering expeditions netted hundreds of thousands of captives. As many as a million and a quarter Europeans, according to the author, were enslaved by North Africans. A small figure compared to the estimated twelve million Africans carried off to the new world over a span of centuries, but not an inconsiderable one by itself. The author channels a prodigious research effort into a detailed anaylsis of slave life, how they were captured, their national origins, the types of labor they were consigned to and their physical and mental states. Muslims raids reached as far afield as Iceland, but the proximity of Italy to the North African coast made it a convenient and frequent target for Muslim slaving activities.Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By O.V.R. Hill on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
if you want to have a better understanding of what is going on in northern Africa today. You may have learned in American history that President Jefferson sent the Marines to the Mediterranean when American shipping was being attacked by the Barbary pirates. I attended public schools and was never taught that whites as well as blacks were taken by Muslims and sold in the slave markets. Well written and a very interesting book.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Air Cdre A. Lambert on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book makes a very good attempt of analysing the scale and effect of Muslim slavery practised against the Europeans in the XV to XIX centuries. Although, as the author would be the first to accept, the data are culled from a variety of sources and are derived by correlating information, nevertheless it is more than enough to convince.

This is an important work as it rolls back the shutters of political correctness and gives an objective analysis of an important determinant of European history. Although Muslim slavery was relatively small compared to the wholesale transport of Africans to the New World (12 million), Davis has shown that approximately 1.25 million to 1.5 million Europeans were captured and enslaved by the Arabs and Ottomans. Most were men bound for the galleys; fewer were the women bound for the harems. Unlike the Pirates of the Caribbean whose aim was to steal treasure, Muslim piracy was targeted against people. Whole villages of Southern Europe were depopulated and trade and fishing became risky occupations.
This is a well written book and any student of Southern Europeaninternational relations would be well advised to read it.Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 (Early Modern History)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By fastidious one on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an eye-opening account of Barbary Coast slavery, American historians have studied every aspect of enslavement of Africans by "whites" but have largely ignored enslavement of "whites" by North Africans which flourished during approximately the same period as the trans-Atlantic slave trade. What is most striking about Barbary slaving raids is their scale and reach. Pirates took most of their slaves from ships, but they also organized huge, amphibious assaults that practically depopulated parts of the Italian coast. Italy was the most popular target, partly because Sicily is only 125 miles from Tunis, but also because it did not have strong central rulers who could resist invasion. The Barbary Coast extends from Morocco through modern Libya, was home to a thriving man-catching industry from about 1500 to 1800. The great slaving capitals were Salé in Morocco, Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli, and for most of these periods, European naval protection was too weak to put up more than token resistance.

The trans-Atlantic trade in "blacks" was commercial, but for Arabs, memories of the Crusades and fury over expulsion from Spain in 1492 seem to have fueled an almost war-like Christian stealing campaign. For example; when pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy in 1554, they took an astonishing 6,000 captives. Algerians took 7,000 slaves in the Bay of Naples in 1544, in a raid that drove the price of slaves so low it was said you could "swap a Christian for an onion."

Spain also suffered attacks. After a raid on Granada in 1566 netted 4,000 men, women, and children, it was said to be "raining Christians in Algiers". For every large-scale raid of this kind there would have been dozens of smaller ones.
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