Episode 2: The Barbary Corsairs
When we think of pirates, a few things spring to mind; Blackbeard, Treasure Island, a bedraggled Johnny Depp. For centuries in Europe though, the image of a pirate was far more terrifying, because it came in the form of a Barbary Corsair. Muslim sailors hailing from the tip of North Africa, they were the scourge of the Mediterranean, raiding villages in fast, nimble ships, enslaving hundreds of thousands of people for sale to the Ottoman Empire.
“The pirates quartered the island, capturing people wherever they found them, young and old, women and men and infants. They chased after people in their houses, across the mountain slopes, in caves and holes, and killed everybody who fought against them.” - Reverend Ólafur
Listen to Episode 2 to learn about their exploits that spanned centuries like how they raided, where they raided and the surprising fact that quite often a lot of these “Turkish Scoundrels” were often European outcasts...
Fancy hearing some more tales of nautical shenanigans? Check out our episode on the mutiny on the Bounty.
- Alejandro Colás, ‘Barbary Coast in the Expansion of International Society: Piracy, Privateering, and Corsairing as Primary Institutions’, Review of International Studies 42, no. 5 (December 2016): 840–857, doi:10.1017/S0260210516000152.‘
- Barbary Pirates • Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911’, accessed 29 September 2020, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Topics/history/American_and_Military/Barbary_Pirates/Britannica_1911*.html.‘
- Barbary Pirates and English Slaves’, accessed 29 September 2020, https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Barbary-Pirates-English-Slaves/.
- Adam Nichols, ‘Barbary Pirates: Kidnapped in Iceland’, HistoryExtra, accessed 3 November 2020, https://www.historyextra.com/period/modern/barbary-pirates-kidnapped-in-iceland/.
- Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500 – 1800, 1. publ. in paperback, , Early Modern History: Society and Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
- Adrian Tinniswood, Pirates of Barbary (London: Vintage Books, 2011).‘
- The Mediterranean Corsairs | Maltese History & Heritage’, accessed 3 November 2020, https://vassallohistory.wordpress.com/the-mediterranean-corsairs/.
- Josh Clark, ‘What Was America’s First Terrorist Threat?’, HowStuffWorks, April 2008, https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/first-terrorist-threat.htm.
- Adam Nichols, ‘When Britons Were Slaves in Africa’, HistoryExtra, accessed 3 November 2020, https://www.historyextra.com/period/stuart/when-britons-were-slaves-in-africa/.