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White Gold: The million Europeans sold into slavery


23 Sep 2005
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A while back i picked up and read this very interesting book on the white slave trade which took place mostly between the late 1500's & early 1700's, where over a million white people were captured and sold into a slave trade run by Muslims.
The book is mostly based on the true accounts by a man called Thomas Pellow, who was captured at sea by muslim slave traders and spent the next 30+ years of his life in slavery under the tyrant sultan of Morroco Moulay Ismail.

White Gold: The Forgotten Story of North Africa's One Million European Slaves (by Giles Milton);


Before i read this book i had never ever heard of the existence of a white slave trade, let alone of an era where many European countries (primarily Spain, Britain & France etc) were persecuted for generations by muslim pirates who emptied entire villages of their populations at a time on a regular basis.
And the book also offers great insight into why there was a demand for white slaves and the slave culture of Morocco at the time. It also gives insight into Morocco's black slave trade too, and the terrible realities of Moulay Ismails regime, his countless palaces, the politics of the day, his concubines, his family, his enemies and our desperate attempts to end the white slave trade. For the most part, we were actually on the weak/loosing side and could do almost nothing by stand by as our coasts were brutally & regularly raided of our people.

And the book also goes onto explain that it was eventually our experiences of the white slave trade that eventually helped people to support the end of the black slave trade (although unfortunately for a long time despite the great similarities, people did viewed both trades as entirely different matters for a long time).

There is no doubt that the black slave trade was far greater in scale (15million black africans in comparison to only a 1million white europeans), but i am surprised this incident in history is so little talked about. I never knew about it before i read this book and most people i have talked to so far have never heard about a white slave trade either- have you?
I wonder why this era in history is not talked about in History lessons in school, as it certainly wasn't in mine. A lot of people go on about the cruasades, but this incident is of far more recent historical relevance, yet no one talks about it?
I guess it might be because although it happened a long time ago, the horrors that people endured throughout the white slave trade might still be enough to induce bad feelings towards muslims, and so the government conviniently leaves it out of the school curriculum maybe? A tricky subject. (btw the i am not anti-muslim or anything like that)
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