Lords of the Sea: A History of the Barbary Corsairs

Lords of the Sea: A History of the Barbary Corsairs

by Alan G. Jamieson


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The escalation of piracy in the waters east and south of Somalia has led commentators to call the area the new Barbary, but the Somali pirates cannot compare to the three hundred years of terror supplied by the Barbary corsairs in the Mediterranean and beyond. From 1500 to 1800, Muslim pirates from the Barbary Coast of North Africa captured and enslaved more than a million Christians.

Lords of the Sea relates the history of these pirates, examining their dramatic impact as the maritime vanguard of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1500s through their breaking from Ottoman control in the early seventeenth century. Alan Jamieson explores how the corsairs rose to the apogee of their powers during this period, extending their activities from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic and venturing as far as England, Ireland, and Iceland. Serving as a vital component of the main Ottoman fleet, the Barbary pirates also conducted independent raids of Christian ships and territory. While their activities declined after 1700, Jamieson reveals that it was only in the early nineteenth century that Europe and the United States finally curtailed the Barbary menace, a fight that culminated in the French conquest of Algiers in 1830. A welcome addition to military history, Lords of the Sea is an engrossing tale of exploration, slavery, and conquest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781861899071
Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date: 06/15/2012
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,272,370
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Alan G. Jamieson is a researcher and writer based in Alberta, Canada. He is author of Faith and Sword: A Short History of the Christian-Muslim Conflict and the novel Crossroads of the Years.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Barbary Legend
1. Vanguard of the Sultan, 1492–1580
2. Lords of the Sea, 1580–1660
3. Facing the Sea Powers, 1660–1720
4. Decline, Revival and Extinction, 1720–1830
Conclusion: A New Barbary?

Glossary of Place Name Changes
Photo Acknowledgements

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