The Republic of Bou Regreg where Emmy in my novel His Obsession was taken and sold into slavery in a pirate’s harem is located on the west coast of Morocco. The area has been settled for thousands of years – Phoenecians, Romans, Berbers (including the Tuareg like Tariq, the harem master), and later Morisco refugees fleeing persecution in Christian Spain.
In the 17th century, the small towns of Sale and Rabat united to form the Republic of Bou Regreg, named for the river that flowed between the two towns. Later, it became associated with the Ottoman Empire . (See pics of ancient & modern Sale /Rabat – including the docks where Emmy and Tariq met and the streets they would have walked to her new master’s house.)
The republic became a center for trade and supported the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, and other areas. The walled cities and the gated harbor were very useful to the pirates, providing safe harbor and a market for their captured treasures. Those treasures included plundered gold, silver, spices, silks, fabrics, and slaves which were brought back to the city-state by the pirates after raids on European shipping vessels and towns. In one decade they took 6,000 slaves and the equivalent of about $5 billion dollars in goods.
Great news!! His Obsession is officially released today. Someone has actually bought one already. Hope they like it. I have a sales history now. Click on the cover of His Obsession to read excerpts or buy.
Tomorrow, the Sallee Raiders. Rita Bay
From the 17th century, raids by Barbary pirates were common in Portugal, Spain, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, Elba, southern Italy, Sicily and Malta. Vast expanses of coastal lands lay vacant. More than 20,000 captives were enslaved in Algiers alone. The pirates took the young and health. Those who fought were killed and the old were murdered. In one attack in Iceland, the aged were herded into a church and the pirates torched the church. (See pic of Constantinople slave market)
Some men were ransomed by wealthy families, the poor were sold into slavery. Redemptorists and Lazarists were religious orders who worked to purchased the freedom of captives. Some of those who were freed wrote slave or captive narratives that gave insights into the fate of the slaves. Male slaves labored in the fields or docks or rowed in the galleys chained to the seats. The women were doomed to be servants or captives in the homes and harems of wealthy.
The tale of Baltimore is a good example Ireland the fate of a hapless village. In June 1631 two hundred Barbary pirates led by Murat Reis attacked the sleeping village of Baltimore in County Cork Ireland. They captured 107 villagers – men, women and children – and carried them away in chains to the slave market of Algiers where they were sold into slavery. Fourteen years later, two of them made their way home. The others spent the rest of their lives as slaves. Many larger cities fell to the pirates and the captives numbered in the thousands.
Tomorrow, the Triangular Trade. Rita Bay
Barbary Pirates were pirates and privateers who sailed from North Africa in their xebecs which was known as the Barbary Coast. Their ship attacks and land raids extended throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa’s Atlantic seaboard and even South America, and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland. The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market in North Africa and the Middle East. Read Blurb & Excerpt
Corsairs captured thousands of ships, and long stretches of coast in Spain and Italy were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants for centuries. From the 16th to 19th century, corsairs captured an estimated 800,000 to 1.25 million people as slaves. After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna in 1814-5 European powers agreed upon the need to suppress the Barbary corsairs entirely and the threat was largely subdued, although occasional incidents continued until finally terminated by the French conquest of Algiers in 1830.
Tomorrow, The Barbary Slave Raids Rita Bay