When Britons were slaves in Africa.

British slaves in Africa.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, pirates operating out of north Africa enslaved thousands of men, women and children from the British Isles.

Between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th, thousands of Britons were slaves, seized by Barbary corsairs, those infamous privateers and pirates that operated out of north Africa. These men, women and children endured miserable conditions – invariably with little prospect of ever seeing their homes again. The Royal Navy’s inability to protect British citizens indicates its weakness at the time.

When Britons Were Slaves In Africa:

The People Enslaved By Barbary Pirates (www.historyextra.com/period/stuart/when-britons-were-slaves-in-africa/)

According to Robert Davis, between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and The Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries.

From at least the year 1500, the pirates also conducted raids along seaside towns of Italy, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands and as far away as Iceland, capturing men, women and children.

Between 1609 and 1616, England alone had 466 merchant ships lost to Barbary pirates.

Dr. John Callow at University of Suffolk, notes; the experience of enslavement by the Barbary pirates preceded the Atlantic slave trade and “the memory of slavery, and the methodology of slaving, that was burned into the British consciousness was first and foremost rooted in a North African context, where Britons were more likely to be slaves than slave masters.”

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