For hundreds of years, people living on the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea enslaved one another. Moslems from North Africa captured Italians, French, and Spaniards; and North African Moslems were in turn enslaved by those nations. As prisoners, their ransom and redemption became a form of commerce, which in a curious way created communication networks that brought together these different peoples. Captivity integrated the Mediterranean.
That is in part the argument of today’s guest on Historically Thinking, Daniel Hershenzon
, an Assistant Professor in the Literature, Cultures, and Languages Department at the University of Connecticut. His new book is The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). It’s a book that is the best possible kind of historical revisionism, challenging us to revise the way that we think about an “accepted past.”
Al Zambone is a historian and the host of the podcast Historically Thinking. You can subscribe to Historically Thinking on Apple Podcasts.