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María D López Pérez (2002)

Marchands, esclaves et mercenaires: les transferts de populations dans le Maghreb médiéval

In: Migrations et diasporas méditerranéens (Xe-XVIe siècles): actes du colloque de Conques (octobre 1999), ed. by Michel Balard & Alain Ducellier, pp. 399-415, Publications de la Sorbonne, Paris. Publications de la Sorbonne, Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 19.

The article offers a short reflection on migratory movements between the Maghrib and the territories of the Crown of Aragon. One of the three groups considered (after merchants and mercenaries) are slaves, captured by pirates or in raids on the coast by both sides. The main centres for the slave trade in this context are Barcelona, where mainly slaves from the Levant were sold, and Majorca and Valencia, where Muslim slaves or captives prevailed.

Most of the slaves were freed sooner or later. A frequent way for this are the “calla”, a particular form of agreement between master and slave regulating the sum to be paid for manumission and the duration of the contract, normally 6-7 years at least. Where the slaves’ African families paid the “ransom”, a merchant acting as intermediary was in charge of the transport of the money and of the former slave, bearing the risk in case of incidents caused by Christian pirates on the way.

This rather busy migratory movements in both directions show a high degree of mobility and an intercultural exchange born from the necessity of cohabitation of different religions, customs, and languages.

Maghreb Spain migration Captives Piracy
by Annika Stello last modified 2007-03-29 13:30

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