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The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Up to a Million Europeans Enslaved back in the day
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Grimis
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#1 Posted on 11.3.04 0949.10
Reposted on: 11.3.11 0949.15
Interesting piece reminding everybody that slavery was never confined to a particular race. I wonder where the line is for reparations.....

* * * * * * * * * *

New book reopens old arguments about slave raids on Europe
US scholar claims more than 1m people were captured by African pirates
Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent
Thursday March 11, 2004
The Guardian

North African pirates abducted and enslaved more than 1 million Europeans between 1530 and 1780 in a series of raids which depopulated coastal towns from Sicily to Cornwall, according to new research.
Thousands of white Christians were seized every year to work as galley slaves, labourers and concubines for Muslim overlords in what is today Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya, it is claimed.

Scholars have long known of the slave raids on Europe. But American historian Robert Davis has calculated that the total number captured - although small compared with the 12 million Africans shipped to the Americas in later years - was far higher than previously recognised.

His new book, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800, concluded that 1 million to 1.25 million ended up in bondage.

Prof Davis's unorthodox methodology split historians over whether his estimates were plausible but they welcomed any attempt to fill a gap in the little-known story of Africans subjugating Europeans.

By collating different sources of information from Europe over three centuries, the University of Ohio professor has painted a picture of a continent at the mercy of pirates from the Barbary Coast, known as corsairs, who sailed in lanteen-rigged xebecs and oared galleys.

Villages and towns on the coast of Italy, Spain, Portugal and France were hardest hit but the raiders also seized people in Britain, Ireland and Iceland. According to one account they even captured 130 American seamen from ships that they boarded in the Atlantic and Mediterranean between 1785 and 1793.

In the absence of detailed written records such as customs forms Prof Davis decided to extrapolate from the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time and calculate how many new slaves were needed to replace those who died, escaped or were freed.

To keep the slave population stable, around one quarter had to be replaced each year, which for the period 1580 to 1680 meant around 8,500 new slaves per annum, totalling 850,000.

The same methodology would suggest 475,000 were abducted in the previous and following centuries.

"Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimises the impact that slavery had on Europe," Prof Davis said in a statement this week.

"Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear."

Prof Davis conceded his methodology was not ideal but Ian Blanchard, professor of economic history at the University of Edinburgh and an authority on trade in Africa, said yesterday that the numbers appeared to add up.

"We are talking about statistics which are not real, all the figures are estimates. But I don't find that absolute figure of 1 million at all surprising. It makes total sense."

The arrival of gold from the Americas and the shipping of slaves from west Africa squeezed the traditional business of the Barbary merchant fleet which was transporting gold and slaves from southern to northern Africa, so they turned their gaze to Europe, said Prof Blanchard.

However David Earle, author of The Corsairs of Malta and Barbary and The Pirate Wars, said that Prof Davis may have erred in extrapolating from 1580-1680 because that was the most intense slaving period: "His figures sound a bit dodgy and I think he may be exaggerating."

Dr Earle also cautioned that the picture was clouded by the fact the corsairs also seized non-Christian whites from eastern Europe and black people from west Africa. "I wouldn't hazard a guess about the total."

According to one estimate, 7,000 English people were abducted between 1622-1644, many of them ships' crews and passengers. But the corsairs also landed on unguarded beaches, often at night, to snatch the unwary.

Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were captured in 1631, and there were other raids in Devon and Cornwall.

Reverend Devereux Spratt recorded being captured by "Algerines" while crossing the Irish sea from Cork to England in April 1641 and in 1661 Samuel Pepys wrote about two men, Captain Mootham and Mr Dawes, who were also abducted.

Last year it was announced that one of the richest treasure wrecks found off the coast of Devon was a 16th-century Barbary ship en route to catch English slaves.

Although the black Africans enslaved and shipped to North and South America over four centuries outnumbered Prof Davis's estimates of white European taken to Africa by 12-1, it is probable they shared the same grim conditions.

"One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature - that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true," said the author.

In comments which may stoke controversy, he said that white slavery had been minimised or ignored because academics preferred to treat Europeans as evil colonialists rather than as victims.

While Africans laboured on sugar and cotton plantations the European slaves were put to work in quarries, building sites and galleys and endured malnutrition, disease and maltreatment.

Ruling pashas, entitled to an eighth of all captured Christians, housed them in overcrowded baths known as baņos and used them for public works such as building harbours and cutting trees. They were given loaves of black bread and water.

The pasha's female captives were more likely to be regarded as hostages to be bargained for ransom but many worked as attendants in the palace harem while awaiting payment and freedom, which in some cases never came. Some slaves bought by private individuals were well treated and became companions, others were overworked and beaten.

"The most unlucky ended up stuck and forgotten out in the desert, in some sleepy town such as Suez, or in the Turkish sultan's galleys, where some slaves rowed for decades without ever setting foot on shore," said Prof Davis, whose book is published in the US by Palgrave Macmillan.

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The Amazing Salami
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#2 Posted on 11.3.04 0953.59
Reposted on: 11.3.11 0954.12
Ah, there it is. I'd been wondering where that can of worms had been hiding.
Madame Manga
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#3 Posted on 11.3.04 1112.16
Reposted on: 11.3.11 1112.17


    According to one account they even captured 130 American seamen from ships that they boarded in the Atlantic and Mediterranean between 1785 and 1793.


Well, that's why "the shores of Tripoli" is a line in the Marines' Hymn.

What can of worms? It's historical fact; it's not like no one ever heard of this before now. Certainly romance novel writers made good use of it in the 19th century. The Ottoman emperors were usually the sons of European slave concubines, and their janissaries were forcibly recruited as boys from Christian families in the Balkans. Exact numbers are quibbles; it happened, and it wasn't a short-lived or trivial phenomenon. I very much doubt that any nation or ethnic group has a history completely free of some form of slavery.

MM
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#4 Posted on 11.3.04 1150.50
Reposted on: 11.3.11 1153.05
(deleted by Maniac on 11.3.04 1300)
DrDirt
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#5 Posted on 11.3.04 1217.27
Reposted on: 11.3.11 1218.19
The British also practised what amounted to slavery when they wanted to settle Australia. You could get the death penalty for almost anything in the late 18th and 19th centuries. But hey, if you are willing to ship out and essentially be a slave in Australia, we will let you live.

This shouldn't be a can of worms as none of this minimizes what happened in Africa. It is all abhorent. It demonstrates how inhuman man can be.

(edited by DrDirt on 11.3.04 1219)
ScreamingHeadGuy
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#6 Posted on 11.3.04 1237.41
Reposted on: 11.3.11 1239.37
Well, while it's an issue of semantics, we could discuss the centuries of serfdom that Europeans lived under.

So, yes, there has been oppression throughout history. Many people have committed such crimes, and many people have suffered thereunder.
astrobstrd
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#7 Posted on 12.3.04 1103.50
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1105.01
Were any of those other slave-holding countries founded under the Declaration of Independence or the pretenses of a free republican-democracy? That is what people who seek reperations are so upset about. That and the fact that those reperations were promised to them. Never going to happen, but apples and oranges here.
Grimis
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#8 Posted on 12.3.04 1214.25
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1215.03
    Originally posted by astrobstrd
    That and the fact that those reperations were promised to them.
Uh, the "them" you refer to likely have been dead for at least four or five decades...
DrDirt
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#9 Posted on 12.3.04 1305.45
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1308.04
    Originally posted by astrobstrd
    Were any of those other slave-holding countries founded under the Declaration of Independence or the pretenses of a free republican-democracy? That is what people who seek reperations are so upset about. That and the fact that those reperations were promised to them. Never going to happen, but apples and oranges here.


Our institution of slavery was abhorent. However, you must understand the men and the times. For many it was perfectly logical to have a democratic state where women and slaves couldn't vote and only could count as 3/5 of a person. Just as it was abhorent but logical for many to have Jim Crow laws into the mid-20th Century. Thank God in both cases these things were changed. We are an imperfect country but we usually get things right in the end. That may be little consolation to those who suffered but no matter the level of bitterness we must move on and continue to make things the way they should be and pray our children are wiser than we.
Leroy
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#10 Posted on 12.3.04 1348.40
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1352.54
    Originally posted by Grimis
    Uh, the "them" you refer to likely have been dead for at least four or five decades...


So what? "They" are still owed what they were promised - dead or not. And most of "their" children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren still went through horrific periods of racism and prejudice.

So we should pay "them" what we said we would....
Grimis
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#11 Posted on 12.3.04 1458.43
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1458.55
    Originally posted by Leroy
    So what? "They" are still owed what they were promised - dead or not. And most of "their" children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren still went through horrific periods of racism and prejudice.

    So we should pay "them" what we said we would....
That's right ladies and gentlemen, we should take transfer billions from whites and other non-whites to blacks because they happened to be black. Never mind that many white families did not immigrate to this country until after slavery ended, or many white families were too poor to own slaves. We must transfer this wealth.

The mere concept of such wealth redistribution is an insult to all people concerned and makes my blood boil.
Leroy
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#12 Posted on 12.3.04 1547.35
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1547.57
    Originally posted by Grimis
    That's right ladies and gentlemen, we should take transfer billions from whites and other non-whites to blacks because they happened to be black. Never mind that many white families did not immigrate to this country until after slavery ended, or many white families were too poor to own slaves. We must transfer this wealth.

    The mere concept of such wealth redistribution is an insult to all people concerned and makes my blood boil.


You didn't address my comment AT ALL. Not even remotely. It's as though you didn't even read it. Could at least respond to that before going off on some nonesensical tangent? Why did you even bother including the quote?

I should have known better than to even respond in the first place - in fact, I DID know better....

Every now and then I have a hope you can actually have a conversation without resorting to rhetorical bunk - but once again, you have proved me wrong.

Someday, I'll learn...



The Amazing Salami
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#13 Posted on 12.3.04 1552.49
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1553.57
    Originally posted by Leroy
      Originally posted by Grimis
      Uh, the "them" you refer to likely have been dead for at least four or five decades...


    So what? "They" are still owed what they were promised - dead or not. And most of "their" children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren still went through horrific periods of racism and prejudice.

    So we should pay "them" what we said we would....


I do have a non-rhetorical bunk type question....what document was said reparations "promised" to anyone. It's not that I doubt what you're saying, it's just that I'm ignorant of this document and its existence.
Corajudo
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#14 Posted on 12.3.04 1613.41
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1613.57
    Originally posted by Leroy
      Originally posted by Grimis
      Uh, the "them" you refer to likely have been dead for at least four or five decades...


    So what? "They" are still owed what they were promised - dead or not. And most of "their" children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren still went through horrific periods of racism and prejudice.

    So we should pay "them" what we said we would....


Who are 'they' and why do 'they' get scare quotes while we don't? And, speaking of us, who comprises the we that will be paying? And, do I get any say (or vote) about what we (if I am included in the we) are going to pay? Or, can I opt out of being in the we if I am irrevelant to the 'they'.

EDIT--I also have the same question as The Amazing Salami. Is there also something like what happened in Australia with the grade school children's apology to the Aborigines.

(edited by Corajudo on 12.3.04 1617)
Leroy
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#15 Posted on 12.3.04 1616.59
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1618.04
    Originally posted by The Amazing Salami
    I do have a non-rhetorical bunk type question....what document was said reparations "promised" to anyone. It's not that I doubt what you're saying, it's just that I'm ignorant of this document and its existence.


The movement is based, loosely, on Special Field Order #15 that was inacted in 1865 by General Sherman - land was reserved for freed slaves. Nationally, General Howard had also wanted confiscated land set aside for the freed slaves. But Preseident Johnson ordered the land returned to ex-confederates under Circular 15.

It's where the term "40 acres and a mule" comes from... because that's what the freed slaves were supposed to receive.

Here's a link:

General Sherman inacts "forty acres and a mule."

It should be noted that President Johnson was notoriously racist - just ask Native Americans.
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#16 Posted on 12.3.04 1639.47
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1641.05
    Originally posted by Leroy
      Originally posted by The Amazing Salami
      I do have a non-rhetorical bunk type question....what document was said reparations "promised" to anyone. It's not that I doubt what you're saying, it's just that I'm ignorant of this document and its existence.


    The movement is based, loosely, on Special Field Order #15 that was inacted in 1865 by General Sherman - land was reserved for freed slaves. Nationally, General Howard had also wanted confiscated land set aside for the freed slaves. But Preseident Johnson ordered the land returned to ex-confederates under Circular 15.

    It's where the term "40 acres and a mule" comes from... because that's what the freed slaves were supposed to receive.

    Here's a link:

    General Sherman inacts "forty acres and a mule."

    It should be noted that President Johnson was notoriously racist - just ask Native Americans.



OK, now, I'm going to admit that I didn't read that at all.

Here's my question.

Where in the constitution does it provide that a General may make a proclamation that shall be binding to all of the peoples of the United States, without a vote of Congress or presidential decree?

Or am I reading this wrong?

//edit: Ok, I just read the page. First of all it should be noted that the original wording is "not more than 40 acres", which is substantially different from 40 acres.

Second of all, it sounds like the President overruled the field marshall. Doesn't this kind of thing happen all of the time? It's like if mom promises you a cookie and dad says no (or vice versa, depending on your patriachal / matriachal family structure).

So, at some point after the civil war, the authorities in charge of redistributing the land seized from Confederates came up with a plan to grant a [finite area] of land to the slaves. At a later point, it was decided not to confiscate this area of land [via presidential pardon].

This does not jibe at all with what I have heard from reparations arguments in the past. I'm just trying to sort out the argument here - I have no real side at the moment.

Here are the questions I have:

Establish why reparations are due:

Why should this order hold more weight than any other order that was later overruled by Congress / Judges / President, etc?

What was the timeframe of the promise? It sounds like this was all after the war -- in other words, it was already done when this happened. I have often heard it told in a way that made me believe that these were promises made before the war that were taken back afterwards.

Who was the promise made to? Specifically -- was it delivered via newspapers, or did a memo go to one guy -- what was the weight of this promise? Did all former slaves know about this promise and make significant plans around it, or was this something that spread after it had already been rescinded?

What was the duration that the policy was in effect? Did the president immediately decide that this was not in the interests of the country, or was it after a long period of time?

Assuming that reparations are due:

What was the size of the area of land, and how many people were supposed to receive a share?

What was the value of that area of land, at that time?

How much would that work out to with inflation factored in?

How would you determine how to distribute the shares?

What records would be used to determine who was alive and should have received the reparations, had they been paid immediately?

Is it feasible to take the finite area of land back at this time and distribute it?




(edited by Guru Zim on 12.3.04 1453)
Nag
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#17 Posted on 12.3.04 1715.35
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1715.55
"Where in the constitution does it provide that a General may make a proclamation that shall be binding to all of the peoples of the United States, without a vote of Congress or presidential decree?"

If a general were to do such a thing today, these same people would scream fascism. But because certain people who feel victimized and want a free ride, and bleeding hearts are pushing to give them that free ride at the expense of innocent people who bust there ass everyday. Well we can overlook such a detail.

And it will happen, sometime before the end of the decade.
Madame Manga
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#18 Posted on 12.3.04 1937.56
Reposted on: 12.3.11 1940.21
My ancestors are, on the one side, English working class. On the other side, white trash from Kentucky. Some of the Kentuckians fought for the South, some for the North. None of them are likely to have owned slaves--they didn't have the cash, but they might well have bought a few field hands otherwise. 'Nuff said.

I think that the mess we made of Reconstruction in respect to the slaves freed by the Civil War is a shame on this country. Yes, we should have handed out that "40 acres and a mule" somehow--the fine points of the law in 1865 aren't material, IMO. We should have built decent schools to educate former slaves and their children. We didn't. We just helped a fair number of people ship out to Liberia, which was at the time considered a fair and liberal solution: Africans back to Africa. We've all seen how that turned out. And we passed laws to preserve the racist status quo, laws that weren't overturned until 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This country did the wrong thing in many respects, and we have paid for it ever since. The American deaths in the Civil War were a penance for slavery, but they did nothing to redress its evils.

So after the lapse of close to a century and a half, what do we do as a country to fix what our ancestors broke?

I don't have a clue, and I'm not sure anyone else does either. I've heard the reparations proposal, and I am a skeptic. IMO, the main problem is not that grants would go to people who were never enslaved (malnutrition in one human generation has documented physical effects for at least five generations afterwards, BTW) but that a fair number of my fellow Americans would now say to those who accepted the grants, "There, you have nothing to complain about now, so shut up."

That doesn't strike me as an overall improvement to the situation.

MM
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#19 Posted on 12.3.04 2157.27
Reposted on: 12.3.11 2157.28

    Our institution of slavery was abhorent. However, you must understand the men and the times. For many it was perfectly logical to have a democratic state where women and slaves couldn't vote and only could count as 3/5 of a person. Just as it was abhorent but logical for many to have Jim Crow laws into the mid-20th Century. Thank God in both cases these things were changed. We are an imperfect country but we usually get things right in the end. That may be little consolation to those who suffered but no matter the level of bitterness we must move on and continue to make things the way they should be and pray our children are wiser than we.


Whereas today, it's the homosexuals who are made to suffer under prejudicial laws. I hope 50 years from now our kids and grandkids are toasting at Uncle John and Uncle Dave's 10th wedding anniversary and saying "Thank God those laws were changed!"
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#20 Posted on 12.3.04 2249.49
Reposted on: 12.3.11 2250.05
    Originally posted by Nag
    "Where in the constitution does it provide that a General may make a proclamation that shall be binding to all of the peoples of the United States, without a vote of Congress or presidential decree?"

    If a general were to do such a thing today, these same people would scream fascism. But because certain people who feel victimized and want a free ride, and bleeding hearts are pushing to give them that free ride at the expense of innocent people who bust there ass everyday. Well we can overlook such a detail.

    And it will happen, sometime before the end of the decade.


The areas Sherman made such edicts in were occupied by his army. He was the law in those cases as the area was under martial law. In 1865 Grant, who loved Sherman, had to get Sherman's butt out of the wringer as he had pissed off most of Congress with similar edicts. Congress wanted Sherman relieved because of such things. Remember that even the anti-slavery pols were for the most part still elitist racists. They found slavery abhorent but white superiority okay.
These laws were much like the Emancipation Proclamation. Remember, Lincoln freed the slaves in the territory he didn't control and left them alone in states that didn't leave the union.
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