While reading about Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera "The Pirates of Penzance" I was intrigued to find 

information about the subject of piracy in general, not least the slave-taking activities of the infamous 

Barbary Coast pirate mob from North Africa, essentially based in the ports of Tunis, Algiers andTripoli. 

Throughout the 17th century and beyond, they marauded around the seas. Sailors from English West

West Country ports ran the very real risk of capture and enslavement at their hands. In one case, a  

Cornish sailor was captured and taken as a slave to Algiers where he converted to Islam and served

on a Turkish vessel.  His vessel was seized by an English Man o' War and he found himself back in 

England where he faced penance for his apostacy.  The threat of the Barbary pirates lasted until the  

late 19th century and saw even the US Navy become involved in defeating their lawless endeavours. 

It was instructive to learn that slavery was still not declared illegal iin one prominent North African

country until quite recently.  As the adage reminds us: Old habits die hard.  




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M.C. Newberry

Wed 12th May 2021 15:12

Hi Philipos - I've even been reminded that the Bible itself contains
words about the duty that slaves owe to their masters and to act accordingly.


Tue 11th May 2021 21:13

It would appear that slavery was the lingua franca of the day. Fair skinned slaves brought greater pay back and females stocked the harems of the Emirs.

St Patrick was enslaved I read somewhere before later becoming the famous Patron Saint of Ireland via a circuitous route.

Head men in UK villages would trade their expendable boys and girls for profitable amounts.

History can be horrifying at times.


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