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Religions 2013, 4(3), 391-411; doi:10.3390/rel4030391

Migrants in Chains: On the Enslavement of Muslims in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe

Department of History, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
Received: 24 July 2013 / Revised: 28 August 2013 / Accepted: 28 August 2013 / Published: 4 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity)
Download PDF [274 KB, uploaded 4 September 2013]


Between the Renaissance and the French Revolution, hundreds of thousands of Muslim men and women from the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean were forcibly transported to Western Europe. Those who were not ransomed or who did not return to their homelands as part of prisoner exchanges, languished for decades and, many, for the remainder of their lives, in chattel slavery. This essay considers the enslavement process overall and the conceptual frameworks necessary to bring this poorly known chapter in European social history into focus. Emphasizing the case of the Muslim galley slaves of the Catholic ports of France, Italy and Malta, it argues that without appreciating this phenomenon as a form of migration, as well as part of a larger history of global slavery, it not possible to understand the specificity of confessionalized enslavement within the early modern Mediterranean.
Keywords: slavery; migration; Enlightenment Europe slavery; migration; Enlightenment Europe
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Salzmann, A. Migrants in Chains: On the Enslavement of Muslims in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe. Religions 2013, 4, 391-411.

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