Europe and the Experience of Slavery

…Let me begin with a notorious instance. At Midsummer, 1631, Barbary pirates from North Africa raided the Irish village of Baltimore, and took several hundred local people into lifelong captivity. Such a distant projection of Islamic power might seem extreme and even bizarre, but it was no such thing. Although that reality is forgotten today, the danger of Arab and Turkish assault remained a nightmare for the vast majority of Europeans throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and well beyond that date in some regions. If you have any European ancestors whatever, then they shared a common nightmare of such slaving enterprises.

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