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Barbary corsairs

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  • #2
    Danish slaves in Barbary

    In the period that interests us here the Danish kingdom after the separation from Sweden in 1523 included Norway and considerable parts of Schleswig and Holstein, as well as a number of colonies, among them Iceland. Denmark was active in the triangular trade including slave transports from Africa to the West Indies, and one ironic case of captivity involved a Dane onboard a ship on its way to the West African coast with a view of picking up black slaves – in stead he became a slave himself on the Barbary coasts......

    Danish slaves in Barbary – University of Copenhagen


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      • #4
        Bastion 23 - Palais des Rais d Alger


        • #5
          The Coast of High Barbary


          • #6
            Barbary corsairs


            • #7
              So it was with my research of Arab seafaring. It began innocently and cursorily. I thought it would be accomplished in a week or so. I just needed a handful of facts for a novel I was writing. I suppose the Australian sailor-writer Alan Villiers inspired me at first. He had written about Arab seafaring in The National Geographic in 1946, and that article, focused as it was on Omani seamanship, had stuck in my mind.

              I’m a sailor myself, but not of Villiers’ stature. He was a master mariner and naval historian. I’m a coastal and riverine putterer. But I lived on a sailboat with my wife for 10 years and I served in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier. So I felt somewhat qualified to undertake a little research.
              No sooner were my studies underway than the novel fell to the wayside and I immersed myself in a frenzy of discovery. Western historians, as Villiers knew, had pretty well written the Arabs out of their seafaring annals, painting them as sand dwellers. But they were equally at home on the sea and they deserve better than they have gotten in the histories.

              That is why I excitedly greeted news in The New York Times on November 27th of a planned maritime history museum on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich emirate. Such a museum has long been needed not only to correct misperceptions about Arab seafaring but to redress omissions.
              For example, the celebrated Portuguese caravel, that Model T Ford of the 15th Century, evolved almost certainly from the Arab ship designs the Portuguese encountered off the coast of Africa. But the Arabs have not been credited with this. Similarly, the modern lateen rig used by almost all modern sailboats is of Arab origin.

              And there is much more. The Portuguese are justly celebrated as merchant navigators, but it is almost never mentioned that these famous seamen lost a 15-year sea war with the Omanis for control of the Indian Ocean. Nor is it often mentioned that the sea routes to the East for which the Portuguese are credited had been opened and plied by Arabs centuries earlier, as Vasco da Gama discovered when he arrived on the east coast of Africa and announced to Arab mariners that he intended to find the sea ways to Calicat, Cathay and The Jopons. Why, have they been lost? replied the incredulous Arabs.

              The passions that hijack us
              Last edited by mohovitch; 12 November 2011, 13:26.


              • #8
                From these few instances you may see why my novel was postponed while I read about Arab prowess at sea. My discoveries paralleled those of the Vikings. The Vikings and the Arabs spent a century or two scaring the hell out of each other on the high seas, and very little has been written about this.
                The Vikings thought the Arab sail masters were conjurers who manipulated the winds, because the lateen-rigged Arab ships were light and could sail on the wind, unlike the Vikings’ dragon ships which needed a following wind, just as the classical galleys had. The Arabs, for their part, described the Vikings as giants with holes in their eyes through which one could see the skies.

                These two seafaring peoples clashed on the Atlantic, on the North Sea, in the Baltic, on the Danube, on the Volga, on the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean. They took each other captive, they traded, and eventually they were correctly perceived by Rome as a threat to the church. Viking prisoners became Muslims and went to sea under green banners, and Arab prisoners became paganized and sailed on Viking galleys.

                It’s the stuff of great books, but few have been written. What teen-aged boy wouldn’t be interested in this rambunctious prisoner trade, this swashbuckling adventure? I, a middle-aged man, was enthralled. I read translations of Viking accounts and Arab accounts. It was apparent that they had spooked each other far more than the Soviets ever spooked the West or NATO ever scared the Soviets.

                My novel was about an Arab-American merchant seaman. He was awarded the Navy’s Silver Star for bravery in Korea. He would be our literature’s first Arab-American protagonist. A former frogman, he would find the world’s first caravel wreck off the Omani coast and be befriended by its autocratic former sultan. But the book languished as my research heated up. I loved the smidgeons of knowledge I was pocketing. I dreaded the day when I would have to put it aside.

                It took me 15 years to write that book. Today, Light Piercing Water, as I call it, remains unpublished, and I remain as enthused about its research as I was when I started it. “Artists Hill,” a non-marine section of the book, adapted by my wife Marilyn as a short story, won Literal Latté’s first prize in fiction, so I have some reason to think the book is worth a reader’s time. And when I let my imagination run wild I imagine a copy ending up on the shelves of Abu Dhabi’s new maritime museum.

                There is a world of Arab seafaring to be laid out before our eyes. There are wrecks, treasures, rutters, accounts, and much more. Today Arab coins are often found in Stockholm’s harbor or in the Danube. And it is likely that many a blue-eyed North African owes his sky eyes to a Viking captive of long ago.

                Sometimes I think the proposed title of my book, Light Piercing Water, is the appropriate description for what ought to be done to balance the history books, to show the Arabs in their true light as mariners. We must pierce the dark waters of historical bias and omission. We must give credit where it is due. The Arabs were not only adventurous sailors, but long before the Portuguese and Spanish they were seafaring capitalists, a message that is clear in the Sindbad tales and yet obscured by our exoticization of the tales. And there is much more to be said about that, because the seafaring Arab merchants were not, for the most part, plunderers, as were the Spanish, but traders, practicing a moral capitalism from which we could draw some lessons ourselves.

                The Abu Dhabis will name their maritime museum, but I choose to think its name is Light Piercing Water.—Djelloul Marbrook

                The passions that hijack us[/QUOTE]


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                  • #10
                    I was watching the series "John Adams" on amazon... In episode 6 he said that he prefers to be an ambassador to the barbary pirates than to work with Alexander Hamilton. They are both founding fathers of the United States.


                    • #11
                      Spain finds Don Quixote writer Cervantes' tomb in Madrid

                      BBC News - Spain finds Don Quixote writer Cervantes' tomb in Madrid

                      Who was Cervantes? BBC News has the essential facts
                      1547: Born near Madrid
                      1571: Shot and wounded at Battle of Lepanto
                      1575: Captured and enslaved for five years in Algiers
                      1605: Publishes first part of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, second part in 1615. Don Quixote is man obsessed with chivalry who sets out in search of adventure on his ageing horse Rocinante and with his faithful squire Sancho Panza
                      1616: Cervantes dies aged 68, with six teeth remaining. Buried at Convent of Barefoot Trinitarians
                      Grave lost when convent rebuilt
                      Long search for lost tomb of Cervantes

                      Investigator Luis Avial told a news conference on Tuesday that Cervantes would be reburied "with full honours" in the same convent after a new tomb had been built, according to his wishes.

                      "Cervantes asked to be buried there and there he should stay," said Luis Avial, georadar expert on the search team.

                      The convent's religious order helped pay for his ransom after he was captured by pirates and held prisoner for five years in Algiers.


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