17 January 2017

Arab and Berber pirates abducted and enslaved Icelanders

Events from the 17th century that are generally not known, and do not enter discussions of the history of slavery:
In 1627 Barbary corsairs from Algiers and Salé descended on Iceland in two separate raids, taking around 400–900 prisoners (Iceland's population at the time has been estimated to have been about 60,000). This event is popularly known in Iceland as Tyrkjaránið – the 'Turkish Raid', as it was launched from areas under Ottoman sovereignty, although no North African Turks (Kouloughlis) are known to have been involved. Most pirates were Arabs and Berbers, a large part - the Dutch and other Europeans, who converted to Islam... Those captured were sold into slavery on the Barbary Coast
More on the Barbary pirates.  I remember reading a Landmark book about them when I was in the seventh grade (and blogged about it seven years ago) , but I had forgotten the details.


  1. There's lots more to this story. One of the survivors was a young girl named Guðríður Símonardóttir. She was ransomed after 10 years in Turkey. She returned to her homeland, where she was shunned as a "whore" for her enslavement. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gu%C3%B0r%C3%AD%C3%B0ur_S%C3%ADmonard%C3%B3ttir.

    Another survivor was a Lutheran minister named Ólafur Egilsson. Near the end of his life, he wrote of his experience in his memoirs (recently published in English). More here: http://www.reisubok.net.

  2. And don't forget the Sack of Baltimore (the original, in Co Cork), in June 1631.

    1. Blogworthy. And a "tywkiwdbi." Thanks for the link, Bob.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...