Family Ferreira da Fonseca, Undated Journal Entry from the Seventeenth Century

Today, an unusual ship landed in our port city. It was no ordinary ship; it had oars one the side and men rowing them. They did not seem to have any cargo on board with them. I then noticed that the men were worn down by the sun and barely had any clothing except for a loin cloth to cover their private areas.[1] Something else I noticed was that these men were of different ethnicity.  I glanced in another direction and saw many men, women, and children running inland away from the docks. I then felt a tug on my shirt. It was one of the men I work with. He said we needed to get out of the area because the men that had arrived in the ships were Muslims and weren’t there to trade with us. The Muslims were from a place called Algiers, and they were there to take Christians for enslavement purposes.

The Muslims then proceeded to get off their ships, known as galleys. And they were taking any Christian they could get to. They traveled as far as 10 miles inland to take slaves. Soon after watching people flee the docks, my wife ran to me in tears, and told me our nephew had been taken by Muslims. The captain of the ship offered a ransom for our nephew’s return, but I am not sure we have the money to get him back. A fellow man in Ceuta told me that his son was taken from him by Muslims and he never saw him again. I am unsure what will happen to my nephew, but my hopes are high that he will return.

[1] Davis C. Robert. Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 81.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s