White Slavery in the Barbary States

Sumner’s “views of Christianity and Islam will fascinate historian, clergyman, and educated lay-person alike.” -Goodreads

First published in 1853 by Charles Sumner, “White Slavery in the Barbary States” outlines the history of the centuries in which Moslems enslaved Europeans and later, Americans; and what led to its halt. 

Sumner focuses on many specific instances of Europeans and Americans captured and sold at Moslem slave markets. 

The Barbary slave trade refers to the slave markets that flourished on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, which included the Ottoman provinces of Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania and the independent sultanate of Morocco, between the 16th and middle of the 18th century. The Ottoman provinces in North Africa were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but in reality they were mostly autonomous. The North African slave markets were part of the Arab slave trade.

The Barbary Coast European slaves were acquired by Barbary pirates in slave raids on ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to the Netherlands, as far north as Iceland and east into the Mediterranean.

The Ottoman eastern Mediterranean was the scene of intense piracy. As late as the 18th century, piracy continued to be a “consistent threat to maritime traffic in the Aegean”. 

For centuries, large vessels on the Mediterranean relied on galley slaves supplied by North African and Ottoman slave traders.


Wonderful little known history of slavery over the years, with focus on the Christian slaves of the Barbary States of North Africa. I recommend this book for anyone interested in slavery over the years in the world.

Senator Charles Sumner was anti slavery, and was the man who was caned until he was unconscience on the floor of the Senate by Representative Brooks of South Carolina the day after he gave an anti slavery speech.

This is a very interesting little book where he focused on the white slaves in the North African Barbary states including Morocco, Algiers, Salee, Oran, Tunis, Tripoli and Bacra. He starts out with some history pointing out that slavery had gone on for millennia. People captured in a war were frequently enslaved. Men to do hard work, including rowing gallery ships and the women frequently made concubines. He then addresses the rise of the Islamic religion in North Africa in particular. When Islam expanded via the sword in its early days, it over ran essentially all of Spain. Spain fought for many years to drive the Moors out, and become free of the second class citizenship under Islam. After 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabela re-conquered the last of Spain from the Moors, whom we would now call Muslims, there was an increase in piracy. Ferdinand and Isabela evicted many of the Moors, who moved to North Africa in many cases and became pirates who preyed on Christian ships. The pirates enslaved the crews, in many cases for ransom by their country or family. (He mentions only as a minor note the fact that the Moors were also importing negro slaves from south of the Sahara in much larger numbers than the captured white Christian slaves.) He does an excellent job of tying together slavery over the years. The preying on Christian ships by the Barbary Pirates was a money rising operation against the religious enemies of Islam. At different times the Barbary Pirates preyed on English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, etc. ships, as well as raiding the Christian shores in the Med, and the Atlantic, up as far as Ireland and the English Channel.

He also point outs that it continued until the early 1800s, when the US in 1815 sent a squadron over to defeat the pirates get the American captives. However, the real end came in 1816 when the British and Dutch showed up with 5 line of battle ships, 10 frigates, 4 bomb vessels and 5 other small ships, and fired 50,000 shot at Algiers, the largest fortress, and essentially leveled the place. This led to the Barbary Pirates giving up their last of thousands of white Christian slaves and stopping their piracy. He makes the points that negro slavery was ongoing in the world, in particular in the American South and the Barbary Coast at this time, but that it was not addressed when the white Christian slaves were freed.

This is a very illuminating book in how Senator Sumner tied together slavery over the ages. The book is extensively foot noted, and reference are provided.

Paperback: 70 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 28, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 197585571X

ISBN-13: 978-1975855710

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches

Slavery, Terrorism and Islam

This is a fascinating, well illustrated and thoroughly documented response to the relentless anti-Christian propaganda that has been generated by Muslin and Marxist groups and by Hollywood film makers. As Karl Marx declared: “The first battlefield is the re-writing of History!” “Peter knows first hand the nature of the enemy the West is facing and exposes it brilliantly in this book on Islam. He begins by documenting the close relationship between Islam and slavery and then chapter by chapter reveals the terrible cost of thirteen centuries of Islamic invasion, conquest and brutalisation. This is a book that every Christian should read and pass along to friends; and one that every home-schooling family should require as part of their children’s curriculum.” Dr. Brian M. Abshire “Dr. Peter Hammond cuts through layers of misinformation and uncovers astonishing historical facts and details long buried by Islamic revisionists. You’ll find out their real agenda for tomorrow by discovering what they actually did yesterday – plus a field-tested plan of how to win Muslims to Christ.” Rev. Bill Bathman “For the sake of this generation, and coming ones, someone had to do what Dr. Peter Hammond has just done; setting the record straight on the different role players in the slave trade.” Rev. Fano Sibisi “Slavery, Terrorism & Islam, is must reading to all those who want to find out the roots of the Terrorism that is threatening global security.” Rev. Jeffreys Kayanga


Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Early Modern History: Society and Culture)

This is a study that digs deeply into this ‘other’ slavery, the bondage of Europeans by North-African Muslims that flourished during the same centuries as the heyday of the trans-Atlantic trade from sub-Saharan Africa to the Americas. Here are explored the actual extent of Barbary Coast slavery, the dynamic relationship between master and slave, and the effects of this slaving on Italy, one of the slave takers’ primary targets and victims.