Last week, our Action Chair Juliane Schiel (University of Vienna) was guest on “Betrifft: Geschichte”, a show by the Austrian radio station Ö1. The show aims to make history available to a broad public audience by inviting a different expert each week to narrate an episode based on their research.
Juliane Schiel spoke about the emergence of slave trade in the mediterranean region piracy:
With the upswing of the Christian states along the Mediterranean sea, the countries of the Maghreb region lost influence. Subsequently, Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis and the Moroccan Salé developed into corsair centres. Their main source of income was the capture of ships, and the related slave trade. On their raids, muslim corsairs attacked even Iceland, as well as Irish and English port cities. On the Christian side, the Order of Malta followed a similar policy, raiding the Mediterranean island named after itself. While simple slaves were coerced into labour, wealthy ones could free themselves with ransom money. To reduce the risks associated with shipping, early forms of insurance gradually developed. In case a person was captured, it was also necessary to safely transmit ransom money. These transactions led to the emergence of the first internationally acting banks, as well as an early form of ambassies. To control slave trade in the Mediterranean sea, the US-Navy built their first battleships. They were used in the Tripolitan War from 1801 to 1805. After the capture of Austrian commercial vessels in 1829, an Austrian punitive expedition was carried out in 1829. The slave trade was definitely ended with the conquest of Algiers by the French in 1830.
The series contains four episodes (in German), and can be listened to here: