The Moors Were Targets For Portuguese, Spaniard and English Slave Markets
Initial Q: Two Soldiers Leading Two Moors before a King (detail), from Feudal Customs of Aragon, Huesca (Spain), about 1290-1310, artist unknown. The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Moors Were Targets For Portuguese, Spaniard and English Slave Markets

Initial Q: Two Soldiers Leading Two Moors before a King (detail), from Feudal Customs of Aragon, Huesca (Spain), about 1290-1310, artist unknown. The J. Paul Getty Museum

 “Pope Urban II, 1088–1099, granted Spanish crusaders the same papal indulgences that were granted for making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Urban thereafter issued the first call for crusades to the holy lands in 1095, and he continued to link crusades with pilgrimages by granting indulgences for crusaders, just as he had done for participants in the holy war with the Moors. The Knights were an infamous, crusading, priestly order, who believed Christians could attack pagans at will and deprive them of their property and lordship. The sources of this power were the papal bulls that had been directed at the Holy Lands. The Knights argued that their territorial and jurisdictional claims could be traced to papal bulls from the Crusading era, which had authorized the complete confiscation of the property and sovereignty of non-Christians. In 1455, Pope Nicholas V granted Portugal title to lands in Africa that were already “acquired and that shall hereafter come to be acquired” and authorized Portugal “to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans” and to place them into perpetual slavery and seize all their property. The Portuguese, for example, erected stone crosses all along the coast of West Africa to symbolize their possession, and Columbus did the same “with appropriate words and ceremony” on the Caribbean islands he found. See, e.g., MILLER, NATIVE AMERICA, supra note 1, at 12–23, 44–48, 120–26, 131–36 (discussing the European powers dividing up the New World and Africa).

Source: The International Law of Discovery, Indigenous Peoples

Panel of azulejos by Jorge Colaço (1864-1942) at the São Bento railway station, depicting Prince Henry the Navigator during the conquest of Ceuta

Portugal, ever since the capture of Ceuta in 1415 (the event which had set Prince Henry of Portugal thinking on West African discovery), had been striving to conquer for herself an empire over Morocco.”

Source: Liberia Vol. I: Portuguese Assisted break up of Moorish dynasty of Beni-Marin

Portuguese possessions in Magreb (1415–1769)

Possession of Ceuta would indirectly lead to further Portuguese expansion. The main area of Portuguese expansion, at this time, was the coast of Morocco, where there was grain, cattle, sugar, and textiles, as well as fish, hides, wax, and honey.

Source: Payne, Stanley G., A History of Spain and Portugal, Vol. 1, Chap. 10 “The Expansion”

Ceuta, a Spanish possession in North Africa.

“The English, lagging behind for about half a century, cashed in on the slave trade as early as the 1480s. Various records kept in several Spanish archives disprove the received view that the English as a slaving nation was late coming in the 1550s. Moors and Mooresses of Morocco constituted colonial targets only for the Portuguese and the Spaniards, they were also victims of the English who bought the captured slaves at the slave markets of Andalusia. The trade with enslaved Moroccans led to a serious depopulation of the coastal regions of Morocco.”

Source: Shakespeare Studies, Volume 31 edited by Leeds Barroll, Susan Zimmerman

Vista de Ceuta y la península de Almina desde el mirador de Isabel II

“On the Moroccan side, there was considerable enthusiasm for expelling the Spanish and Portuguese from the several Moroccan coastal cities they had conquered.”

Source: An “Extremely Civile” Diplomacy Written by Caroline Stone

São Tomé, Africa

“In the mid-1400s, Portuguese King Dom Manuel colonized the African coastal islands of Sao Tome and Principe in order “to whiten the race,” as he put it. 

Source: Echoes of Mr. Yakub After Patmos By Tingba Muhammad

One of the principal motives behind Portuguese interest in West Africa and the Canaries was the desire to tap into the trans-Saharan gold traffic. Fernandez-Armesto, Before Columbus, 140-48, 189-92.”

Source: Moors” Of West Africa And The Beginnings Of The Portuguese Slave Trade

   Mauretania Nuova Tavola Southwest

“Gradually the Christian reconquest drove them back until the only Moorish stronghold in Spain, Granada, fell in 1492.“The Iberian Moors, who had considerably intermarried, returned to Africa where they were known as Andalusians, and scattered over the enormous range of the Moors, from the Mediterranean to the Senegal river, and from the Atlantic to Timbuktu.” 

Source: Iberian Moors migrated into West Africa 1492

Brotherhood of St George. A Leugemeete Fresco, Flanders, 14th century. The Andalusia Company

“English trade with Morocco was a natural extension of the existing trade established by the Andalusia company in Spain and in the Levant. Individual voyages can be traced as far back as the 1520s or 1530s. All the evidence is that the English merchants were rugged individuals and rivals. Trading together in one small town, they must have known one another, but during the days of prosperity, there is no hint of any combination or organization. Only in adversity did they combine together and then not very effective. They did so once in order to petition the duke. To give coherence to their organization and standing in the eyes of the English government they petitioned King Henry VIII and in September 1530 he granted them a constitution.”

Source: The English “Andalusia Company” was the “Brotherhood of St George”

“Slavery had long been known in Iberia, but slaves never constituted more than a small percentage of society. By 1492, although more than 35,000 black slaves had been introduced in Portugal, most of them were intended to be reexported to other European markets and to the Americas. By 1550, there were 9,500 African slaves in Lisbon–comprising nearly 10 percent of the total population–and 32,370 slaves and 2,580 freedmen in Portugal as a whole. Black slaves increasingly replaced slaves from other racial origins as the Portuguese became less involved in the wars against the Turks in the Mediterranean and in general against Muslims. The Moors were visible in Portugal in the most southern part of the country, where a relatively large population of Christianized Moors (Moriscos) toiled the fields and worked as artisans in towns and cities.”

Source: Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History (Transatlantic Relations)

The English under Elizabeth now deemed the time opportune for gaining a foothold in West Africa. Forts were built at the mouth of the River Gambia in 1588, and towards the close of the sixteenth century English trading-settlements were erected at or near Sierra Leone, and during the seventeenth century, Great Britain became one of the leading Powers of the Gold Coast.”

Source: Liberia Vol. I: Portuguese Assisted break up of Moorish dynasty of Beni-Marin

“The early Portuguese explorers sent out by Prince Henry at first took every opportunity of Kidnapping the Moors whom they met on the coast of the Sahara, and these people were dispatched as slaves to Portugal. Prince, Henry, however, came in time to realize the iniquity of this proceeding and its bad policy on the part of a nation which at that time was aspiring to colonize and rule Morocco. The Portuguese learned in this way that by pursuing their journeys father south they might come to a land where it was possible to obtain “black Moors” as slaves. In fact, a slang term, “Panyar (from the Portuguese Apanhar, to seize, catch, kidnap), had sprung up in the coast jargon to illustrate the English methods. Even English travelers such as William Smith (who went out as a surveyor to the Gold Coast early in the eighteenth century) admit that the English had become very unpopular on the Gold Coast, owing to these aggression’s on the natives; and William Smith and his companions endeavored to pass as Frenchmen when they visited Eastern Liberia and the Ivory Coast, ‘because of the bad name the English had acquired.”

Source: Portuguese Explorers took every opportunity of kidnapping Moors on Saharan Coast

In 1704 a Willem Bosman of the Dutch West India company describing the “Gold Coast” wrote:

“Here the Portuguese received a small quantity of gold dust, as well as some ostrich eggs; and, as Gonçalves had always desired, his men also seized some black Africans, twelve in number, to take back to Portugal (“What a beautiful thing it would be,” this commander told his men, ‘if we could capture some of the natives to lay before the face of our Prince’). These people were nearly all Azanaghi, as had been most of those sold in Lagos in 1444. They seem not to have been carried off to serve as slaves—though one of them, a woman, was a black slave, presumably from somewhere in the region of Guinea. They were taken as exhibits to show Prince Henry, much as Columbus would bring back some Indians, fifty years later, from his first journey to the Caribbean”

Source: Historical References on the Black African Skin color of the original Berber Tribes

“All the concerns of this essay begin in Andalusia. Slavery was a matter, raised by Shylock at his trial, in the Merchant of Venice narrative. This topic is of cultural relevance to early modern English audiences. The bottom lines become clear in the earliest records of the English slave trade to which [English American] historiographers often omit from the discussion. Records show that the first English slaveholders and traders of “enslaved Moors” were the English merchant’s resident in Andalusia in the last decades of the fifteenth and early decades of the sixteenth centuries, and further, that the English were the pioneers of the English slave trade with Morocco”

Source: Portia & the Prince of Morocco Essay By Ungerer, Gustav

“The (De)slaving history: Mostafa al-Azemmouri, the sixteenth-century Moroccan captive in the tale of conquest article attempts to revisit one of the most spectacular odysseys in Moroccan-American history, that of the encounters started from the shores of a Moorish town in the sixteenth century by Mostafa Al-Azemmouri, the Moroccan captive and adventurer. Al-Azemmouri was captured by the Portuguese, sold in Spain and then shipped across the Atlantic to the New World around 1527. His narrative has consistently been displaced and subjected to various forms of exclusion in history; his experience in historiographical writing has been distorted by the culturally and historically essentialised forms of knowledge and power. In order to re-orient the debate on Al-Azemmouri’s emblematic journey, this work offers a rereading of sixteenth-century Morocco in its connections with the Atlantic, focuses on the Spanish historical perspective about the reconquista overseas, and spotlights the Portuguese-Azemmour nexus against the background of the Portuguese presence in Morocco to shift the focus into the Other’s Atlantic as a site of complex history that criss-crosses the boundaries of nationality and extends beyond mere geographical locations. It also interrogates the representation of Al-Azemmouri in some sixteenth-century Spanish accounts, which consigned the Moorish slave to textual shadows and obstructed his visibility in the narrative of colonial conquest.”

Source: (De)slaving history: Mostafa al-Azemmouri, the sixteenth-century Moroccan captive in the tale of conquest

Ignatius Sancho Oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough, 1768, National Gallery of Canada

“Indeed Sancho’s life in England was an immediate result of the English involvement with slavery. ‘Dear sir,’ he beseeched Sterne, ‘think in me you behold the uplifted hands of thousands of my brother Moors.’”

Source: Black and white: the Negro and English society, 1555-1945

“Hamet Tanjawi, for instance, was captured and enslaved during the Restoration period; he became a servant of the duke of York, from whom he learned a wide variety of naval lore, and later escaped back to Tangier where he put his English warfare training into Muslim use as held the attack on the English fort in Tangier in 1676. In his account of captivity in Morocco in the 1680s, Thomas Phelps recalled meeting with an “ancient Moor, who formerly had been a slave in England and spoke good English, and who was set at liberty by our late Gracious King Charles the 2d.” Another captive/slave was the corsair  Abdallah bin Aisha, who spent three years in England and was released by King Charles without ransom upon the intercession of James II.”

“Kim F. Hall agreed that “English traders went to the markets of Guinea and Barbary, but African traders rarely went to England.” Only Bernard Harris, Eldred Jones, and Jack D’Amicohave alluded to Muslim ambassadors and “blackmoors” in England..”

“During the period under study, thousands of Turks and Moors visited and traded in English and Welsh ports; hundreds were captured on the high seas and brought to stand trial in English courts; scores of ambassadors and emissaries dazzled the London populace with their charm, cuisine and “Araby” ,,,”from the Elizabethan to the early Caroline periods, Britons undertook another venture as they entered into an extensive commercial, diplomatic, and social engagement with the Turks and Moors of the Muslim empires.”

“In all the surviving records of captured Moors and Turks, there is not a single reference to a Muslim woman. While numerous British women were recaptured and sold in North Africa, no Muslim woman seems to have ever set foot on English soil, either as a refugee or a prisoner. Britons also met Moorish and Turkish captives of Spain in the Caribbean.”

“In March of 1586 some Moors deserted to join Sir Francis Drake during the English attack on Cartegena, and later during the attack on Santo Domingo. In June of that year Drake captured hundreds of “Turks and Moors, who do menial service” in Havana. Although the Moors,  the English encountered in the Caribbean were slaves who projected weakness and despair, they were subjects of rulers whom England’s queen wanted to befriend, and whose assistance she sought against Spain. There must have been so many of these Moors in the American Spanish dominions that in 1617, Purchas mentioned that Islam had spread as far as America. Purchas was probably thinking of these captives, some of whom had been freed by their Spanish masters and were settled in the colonies.”

“In September 1630, the Moroccan ruler, Sidi Alibin Mohammad, sent a letter to King Charles in which he demanded that the king release all Muslim captives and send them back to the lands of Islam (“li-bilad al-Islam”) regardless of whether or not they were Sidi’s subjects. After doing so, Charles could be assured that no captive from the “English tribes”(“qaba’il al-Ingleez”) would remain in North Africa.”

“there are numerous indications that Britons hauled Muslim captives to the Barbary Coast and exchanged them for English captives. In 1635 Robert Blake was authorized to take forty-five Moors to Barbary to exchange them for English captives. But he immediately ran into difficulty. There were more English than Moorish captives.

“In September 16 36, two Moors were captured—one “Mahammet aged twentie seven or thereabout” and “Hammet aged fortie foure yeares or there-about”—from Salee. They had been sailing with “foure Moores, eighteen[sailors] of Sallie, five Renegadoes Dutch one English their Pilott.” When their ship reached the English coast the renegades turned against the Moors after being called “to stand up for their lives & liberties” whereupon “they drove the Moores into the hold, hoisted saile, and brought their Barque into the first [English] port. Writing to the Lords of the Admiralty, the earl of Portland included “copies of the examinations of two of the moores.”

“In 1658, William D’Avenant wrote The Play-House to be Let, in 100 The Renaissance Triangle which which he included a scene about “the Symerons,” a Moorish people brought formerly to Peru by the Spaniards.) Purchas could also have been thinking of an ethnological theory that described the American Indians as descendants of the Moors of North Africa.”

Source: Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery Nabil Matar

Muhammad notes that “Moors” from the Barbary Coast—captured by the Portuguese and enslaved—successfully. “Freeland traces how slavery became racialized as slaves became Christians. citing Allan Austin’s estimation that there may have been at least eighteen thousand Muslim slaves imported from 1771 to 1775). Ghanea Bassiri notes that a Moorish identity may have captured the public imagination, the public having heard tales of white slavery coming out of the exotic and well-known Barbary Wars. Eight Moors [enslaved-Muslims] successfully petitioned the South Carolina House of Representatives for their freedom in 1790, describing the perfidy of the English captain who promised to redeem them back to Morocco as captives of war but sold them as slaves in the New World instead. Capet, supra note 8, at 556. One of those eight Muslim slaves was named Fatima.”

Source: Islam in the Mind of American Courts: 1800 to 1960 By Marie A. Failinger

“The Mohammedan Africans remaining of the old stock of importations, although accustomed to hear the Gospel preached, have been known to accommodate Christianity to Mohammedanism. “God,” say they, “is Allah, and Jesus Christ is Mohammed–the religion is the same, but different countries have different names.”

Source: The Religious Instruction of the Negroes. In the United States: Jones, Charles Colcock, 1804-1863

“Clearly it seems that the “Barbares” or Soninke of the Sahel and Sudan were the “Mauri Bavares” or Babars of Mauritania in what is now Morocco and Algeria possibly pushed down by the Tuareg “the second race of Berbers” and/or Arab Sulaym/Hilal peoples like the Trarza or Hassaniya. They were direct ancestors of the black merchants known as Soninke, Sughai (Isuwaghen or Zawagha) or Wangara who are called “whites” in early African manuscripts.” “The Bafour, in fact, is considered by some to be the same as the Zenagha or Znaga Berbers who came to be subject to the Almoravid (Tuareg) nobles. In Mauritania by the 15th century, they were referred to as “tawny and squat” by a slave trader from Venice named Alvice Ca’da Mosto (Thomas, Hugh, 1997, p. 22). They then fell into low caste status under the Hassaniyya or Hassan “Moors” (a group formed from the mixture of Arab/Berber peoples) which might explain how they came to be the first Africans sold out of Lagos to the Portuguese that were brought to Europe.”  

Source: FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES – PART II Andalusia and the Mauri: An Exploration of the Original Berbers of Early Sources and their Settlements in Spain

“Most Americans are unaware of the special relationship between Morocco and the U.S.A. that developed subconsciously through the trans‐Atlantic conquests of Moorish‐impregnated Spain and consciously through contacts between our early Republic and this old, dilapidated kingdom. Even fewer Americans seem aware of the complex contacts between Morocco, at Africa’s northwest corner, and the ancestors of our Negro community. Slave traders from the Moorish feudal society raided southward into Senegal and delivered slaves to European traders who, in turn, sold them across the Atlantic. The descendants of these slaves are U.S. citizens today. But more rarely discussed is the vaguely discernible link between Morocco and the American Negro minority. This U.S. knowledge gap is perhaps partially if inaccurately being filled by American Negro teachers, notably Black Muslims.”

Source: The Moroccan, or Moorish ties of U.S. Negroes

Morocco also has an extensive history of slavery. Like the United States, Morocco traded in enslaved black West Africans, who came to Morocco across the Sahara. Slavery in Morocco took other forms, too. Morocco was one of the so-called Barbary States, where for centuries European and American sailors captured by pirates were enslaved and ransomed. In his 1853 book “White Slavery in the Barbary States,” the radical abolitionist senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts depicted North Africa as a disturbing analog to the American South, which he called the “Barbary States of America.”

The Moroccan Front BY JAMIE L. JONES SEPTEMBER 18, 2013

“It difficult to know from available information if this is a massive understatement or fails to give due respect to the comparative few who did make the journey. Though it is well-known that the Iberian powers took slaves from Morocco for service in Spain and Portugal, it is unknown how many of these may ultimately have also been sent across the Atlantic. Spain and Portugal overwhelmingly dominated the transatlantic slave trade in the first century of the Atlantic World, with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database documenting approximately 275,000 slaves sent during that period to the Americas (a paltry sum compared to later centuries). But the database shows no voyages to or from Morocco – understandable for a location that was not a major source of slaves for work in the Americas – and nothing to suggest that a substantial numbers of slaves first taken to Portugal or Spain ended up across the ocean. Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, http://www.slavevoyages.org (for estimates and maps; accessed September 4, 2017). By the second half of the sixteenth century the slave population in Portugal appears to have been made up predominantly of people from sub-Saharan Africa. Bovill asserts that the decline of the peasant population in Portugal had resulted in their replacement by so many blacks from Africa that the southern part of Portugal had become predominantly black. Subjective evaluations of color and the multiethnic makeup of Morocco might make the assumption that these “blacks” are sub-Saharan suspect. But Bovill’s remark is consistent with Portugal having begun the importation of sub-Saharan slaves in 1444. There was also an apparent preference for sub-Saharan African slaves over North African Muslims slaves, as the former were deemed more open to conversion to Christianity, had no nearby places to which to escape, and were considered more compliant. This made them far less threatening than Muslims, the last of who were forcibly expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the early seventeenth century. Bovill, The Battle of Alcazar, 5; Joachim Romero Magalhães, “Africans, Indians and Slavery in Portugal,” Portuguese Studies 13 (1997): 143-151, 143.”

Source: MOROCCO IN THE EARLY ATLANTIC WORLD, 1415-1603 A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History By Earnest W. Porta, Jr., J.D.

 

El Aemer El Mujaddid

American born Moor, Author, History Researcher, Modernist, 720 Entrepreneur/ Corporate Mogul in the making; who observes & analyzes human nature for data mining purposes. Knowing is Half the Battle, Wisdom is needed for appropriate application of knowledge and right reasoning.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Renato McCray, Jr.

    Interesting article

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