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It was not until the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 15 century that the Barbary corsairs started to become a menace to Christian shipping.Around 1600 AD, European pirates brought advanced sailing and shipbuilding techniques to the Barbary Coast, which enabled the corsairs to extend their activities into the Atlantic Ocean, and the impact of Barbary raids peaked in the early to mid-17th century.
They landed on unguarded beaches, and crept up on villages in the dark to capture their victims.
Many died on the ships during the long voyage back to North Africa due to disease or lack of food and water.
Those who survived were taken to slave markets where they would stand for hours while buyers inspected them before they were sold at auction.
At night the slaves were put into prisons called ‘bagnios’ that were often hot and overcrowded.
However, by far the worst fate for a Barbary slave was being assigned to man the oars of galleys.
Rowers were shackled where they sat, and never allowed to leave.
Sleeping, eating, defecation and urination took place at the seat.The slave trade finally ceased on the Barbary coast when European governments passed laws granting emancipation to slaves.Corsair activity began to diminish in the latter part of the 17th century, as the more powerful European navies started to force the pirates to cease attacking their shipping.While the Barbary slave trade is typically portrayed as Muslim corsairs capturing white Christian victims, this is far too simplistic.In reality, the corsairs were not concerned with the race or religious orientation of those they captured.Available from: New book reopens old arguments about slave raids on Europe – The Guardian.