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By Christine E. Sears (auth.)

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Additional info for American Slaves and African Masters: Algiers and the Western Sahara, 1776–1820

Example text

In 1790, the French navy was 60 percent larger than it had been in 1775; the British navy was 40 percent larger, and the Spanish 30 percent larger. European maritime powers aggressively plied the seas, often attacking rivals’ ships and even those, such as the United States, who attempted to remain neutral. 6 Because they had few outlets for their postrevolutionary goods, Americans had little choice but to enter the Mediterranean fray. As English subjects, Americans had been protected by the Anglo-Algerian treaty of 1682, which permitted English ships to ply the Mediterranean without interference.

40 All European and American slaves esteemed Catholic priests as caretakers of the sick and needy, more than providers of religious comfort. A French priest supplied Foss with the only food he got his first day of slavery, a service priests often performed for new slaves. Catholic priests treated all slaves. Though always helpful, their work was particularly appreciated during plague outbreaks. Sick slaves might rest and be treated in the hospital, and, as Foss explained, the priests and “Doctors” protected, or tried to protect, slaves from taskmasters eager to make them return to work.

46 “This World Is Full of Vicissitudes” 21 Muslims especially depended on warfare for their slaves, since they could only legally enslave infidels against whom jihad had been declared. Islamic law formally recognized as slaves those born into it or taken in war. As the Ottoman Empire swelled between 1300 and 1600, war captives provided a steady stream of slaves. Ottoman soldiers gathered slaves in Bulgaria and Thrace, some of whom they sold to Venetians and Genoese for resale in European markets.

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