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Francisco J Marzal Palacios (2000)

El ciclo de la esclavitud sarracena an la Valencia bajomedieval: esclavización, rescate y vuelta a casa de los esclavos de Cherchell (1409-1425)

In: De l’esclavitud a la llibertat. Esclaus i lliberts a l’edat mitjana. Actes del Col·loqui Internacional celebrat a Barcelona, del 27 al 29 de maig de 1999, ed. by Maria Teresa Ferrer i Mallol and Josefina Mutgé i Vives, pp. 493-509, Consell Superior d'Investigacions Científiques, Institució Milà i Fontanals, Departament d'Estudis Medievals, Barcelona. Anuario de Estudios Medievales, Anejo 38.

<p>A raid on the town of Cherchell (Algeria) led by Rodrigo de Luna, a nephew of Pope Benedict XII, in 1412, provided about 700 slaves for the Valencian market. This article describes the mechanism of Saracen slavery. Due to the particularity of a whole town being sacked, the captives sold as slaves were mainly women. These women were often sold together with their children and only occasionally separated when resold. The buyers came from various social conditions; it is impossible to say how many of the men who participated in the raid kept their captives for themselves, and who sold them in Valencia.</p><p>From the beginning, the Mudejar communities in the region made efforts to free their coreligionists. They participated in different ways: Many gave them money to raise the necessary sums for redemption in the <span style="font-style: italic;">acaptar </span>system; this concerns inhabitants of Valencia, but also communities in the whole region. Fewer men took the risk of acting as buyer for the captives: They appear as such in the contracts fixing the sums to be paid. They also have the responsibility of guiding the captive during his/her attempts at begging charity in order to pay part of his/her own ransom. The last group were inhabitants of Valencia, more or less rich, who were needed as guarantors for the fulfilment of the contracts rather than as a money source, a role only they can play because they were known to the Christian sellers.</p><p>Until 1419, many of the Cherchell captives must have obtained freedom; this is apparent from the number of demands for permission to &ldquo;acaptar&rdquo; (beg money for the redemption), falling from 113 in 1415 to only 4 in 1419. In spite of an incidence occurring in 1419, where in retaliation for a the assault on a Valencian merchant in Cherchell all free Saracens in Catalonia originating from Cherchell were re-enslaved, most of them probably returned home after 1421.</p><p>The circle of capture &ndash; enslavement &ndash; redemption &ndash; return is exemplary for Saracen slaves in medieval Catalonia.</p>

Valencia Spain 15th century Redemption Mudejars Maghreb
by Annika Stello last modified 2010-04-20 10:40

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