Slavery in the United States of America -3
Contrasting Slavery as it was practiced in North Africa with European slaves to that of the Americas with African slaves
In the 17th Century
It must be remembered that at the time when Africans were being transported across the Atlantic as slaves, Africans were capturing Europeans as slaves.
In fact Europeans had been captured as slaves from the incursion of the Moors into Spain.
African Pirates, called Corsairs, ventured as far as Iceland, and did not simply attack ships, but invaded coastal cities and carried off the population.
The dangers Europeans being captured by Africans and sold into slavery was very real. This is one of the reasons why there was not much sea travel and exploration until after the 'Moors' (North Africans) were driven out of Spain.
Although it doesn’t fit in with the European image to see themselves as victims, the power of the Ottoman Empire, especially of those on the North Coast of Africa, must not be denigrated.
Hundreds of British ships were captured, hundreds of coastal villages were raided. There is no reliable record as to how many hundreds of thousands or millions of Europeans, from Ukraine to Iceland, were captured and sold into slavery.
Those who would downplay the power of the African Corsairs would give the number in thousands. Those who appreciate that if between 1609 and 1616 (Seven Years) when Britannia ruled the waves, 466 ships could be captured, the figure may well be in the millions.
Most European slaves had just as much chance of being redeemed as did their African counterparts. Although the African slaver would allow a ransom to be paid and return the captive, many of the enslaved Europeans were too poor to pay or have their family pay ransoms.
In North Africa, skin colour or religion had no correlation to enslavement, as there were slaves of every colour, every religion. Being a slave only required being captured by a slaver.
In the Americas, (it must be remembered more slaves went to South America and the Caribbean than to the United States) skin colour was very much the indication of ones status.
In areas of thick forests, escape was easier and recapture more difficult.
In what would become the United States, being Black, even in the North, even as a freeperson, was not safe. Many free blacks living in the North were abducted and sold South.
Solomon Northrup was a free black man who was kidnapped into slavery in the 1840s. He spent twelve years before being rescued.
His story, though possibly the most well known is not unique. Being kidnapped and sold south was a very real danger. Hence being black in what would become the United States was unsafe, regardless of the geographic location.
In Other Areas of the New World
Outside of North America, man slaves were able to escape and create Maroon communities.
The Word "maroon" comes from the Spanish 'Cimarron'; meaning runaway.
Jamaica, Suriname, Brazil are only three places which had and have large Maroon populations.
The Maroons created their own villages, had their own laws, and many such communities exist to this day.
In North Africa
Europeans enslaved by Africans had the possibility of redemption if a ransom was paid.
In Europe, (and among European colonies) churches collected money for the redemption of Christian slaves.
Many organisations were belatedly created for the purpose of redeeming and ‘rehabilitating’ the person who had been enslaved.
Many of these organisations continued to exist long after the threat was over and subsequently used the money to create schools and other social beneficial agencies.
In America, the Establishment of the American Colonisation Society, and it’s program of repatriating ex-slaves to Liberia was a way out for those taken to the United States. About 13,000 people were returned to Africa during the existence of the ACS.
For most, whether enslaved by Africans or by Europeans, there was no way out. They remained as slaves until they died.