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American slaves and African masters : Algiers and the Western Sahara, 1776-1820 /
Christine E. Sears.
New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
240 p.
1137268662 (alk. paper), 9781137268662 (alk. paper)
More Details
New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
1137268662 (alk. paper)
9781137268662 (alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction : remembering the "horror of Mahometan vassalage" -- "This world is full of vicissitudes" -- "Far distant from our country, families friends and connections" : American slaves in Ottoman Algiers -- "Once a citizen of the United States of America, but at present the most miserable slave" : Americans and slave community -- "American livestock, now slaves in Algiers" : elite slaves in Ottoman Algiers -- "We set no great value upon money" : a slave economy -- "Sons of sorrow" : American slaves in the Western Sahara -- "Clear the country of all you Christian dogs" : the business of redemption -- Epilogue : a different kind of slavery.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Christine E. Sears is an assistant professor of History at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where she teaches classes on the Atlantic world, the early American republic, and comparative slavery. Her research interests include the maritime world, impressment, gender, and slavery during the early American republic.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-05-01:
Sears (Univ. of Alabama-Huntsville) presents a highly readable history of the 140 American captives of corsairs in Algiers or from shipwrecks. Comprising sections on Algiers and Western Sahara, the book is enhanced by period maps. An introduction details debates over "slave" versus "captive"; based on testimonies, the author favors the former. Very different from the situation in the US, a complex slavery emerges where some may rent rooms, others rise to high position, and a good many are ransomed. Analysis reveals fractured solidarities of the imprisoned, reliance on families, and less concern with religion. Nationality could bind or separate, as could rank: when the US signed a treaty with Algiers, the consul chose to house only captains, prompting mariner protests, upon which he returned them to forced labor. This is very much a history of the captives, with good comparisons drawn. Sears excuses herself from examining scant Ottoman sources but mentions others who do; thus, local cultures are less explicated. This will interest American/Mediterranean rather than African historians, who might object to "western Africa" and wonder how "African" were masters, but astute contrasts drawn with Atlantic slavery showing the flexibility of slaveries will appeal even to them. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. P. C. Limb Michigan State University
Review Quotes
"Sears presents a highly readable history of the 140 American captives of corsairs in Algiers or from shipwrecks. Recommended." - CHOICE
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2013
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Main Description
Whether by falling prey to Algerian corsairs or crashing onto the desert shores of Western Sahara, a handful of Americans in the first years of the Republic found themselves enslaved in a system that differed so markedly from nineteenth century U.S. slavery that some contemporaries and modern scholars hesitate to categorize their experiences as 'slavery.' Sears uses a comparative approach, placing African enslavement of Americans and Europeans in the context of Mediterranean and Ottoman slaveries, while individually investigating the system of slavery in Algiers and Western Sahara. This work illuminates the commonalities and peculiarities of these slaveries, while contributing to a growing body of literature that showcases the flexibility of slavery as an institution.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: Remembering the "Horror of Mahometan Vassalage"p. 1
"This World Is Full of Vicissitudes"p. 7
"Far Distant from Our Country, Families, Friends, and Connections": American Slaves in Ottoman Algiersp. 27
"Once a Citizen of the United States of America, But at Present the Most Miserable Slave": Americans and Slave Communityp. 43
"American Livestock, Now Slaves in Algiers": Elite Slaves in Ottoman Algiersp. 65
"We Set No Great Value upon Money": A Slave Economyp. 87
Western Sahara
"Sons of Sorrow": American Slaves in the Western Saharap. 109
"Clear the Country of All You Christian Dogs": The Business of Redemptionp. 135
Epilogue: A Different Kind of Slaveryp. 157
Notesp. 163
Bibliographyp. 213
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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