Slaves from Darfur around 1850, Nothing New Under the Sun
Monsignor Mislin, well-connected at the Vatican, wrote a 3 vol. book on Christian holy places in the Ottoman Empire around 1851. Writing about his experiences living in the Ottoman Empire, he talks about the slave trade.
". . . while visiting the island of Mytilene, I fell by chance in the midst of a slave market [in the first half of the 19th century]: there were about 350. . . more shipments were being awaited. I questioned these unfortunates; they came from Darfur. . . " They were both girls and boys. [p 104 fn 4; Mgr. Mislin, Les Saints Lieux: Pelerinage a Jerusalem, 3 vols. (2nd ed., Paris: Le Coffre et Cie, 1858; first ed. in 1851)
". . . en visitant l'Ile de Mytilene, je tombai par hasard au milieu d'un marche d'esclaves: Il y en avait 350. . . On attendait d'autres cargaisons encore. J'interrogeai ces malheureux; ils venaient du Darfour . . ."So Darfur was a source of slaves for the Muslim lands in the 19th century. Today, natives of Darfur are again being taken as slaves by Muslims. The name Dar Fur, by the way, is Arabic for House of Fur, referring to the Fur tribe.
Mgr Mislin at the time of writing was the abbott of the Monastery of St. Mary Deg in Hungary, secret chamberlain of Pope Pius IX, canon of the Cathedral of Grosswardein, member of several academies. His book was endorsed by several Vatican personalities, including Pius IX and Joseph, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the Guardian of the Holy Land and the Holy Sepulcher, etc.
Mytilene is an island off the southwestern coast of Anatolia [Asia Minor], known in ancient times and likewise today as part of modern Greece, as Lesbos, near Samos. The town of Mytilene is capital of the island. When Greece became independent about 1830, Lesbos, then called Mytilene after the town, remained under Ottoman control. Lesbos became part of the modern Greek state in 1913.
The slave trade from Black Africa to Ottoman ports on the Mediterranean went from Black Africa to Fezzan in southern Libya to Benghazi and Tripoli on the coast, as well as through the Sudan of today to Alexandria, as described by Bernard Lewis in his book, Race and Slavery in the Middle East (Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, 1990). Lewis supplies a quote from a "Tunisian traveler who visited Darfur at the beginning of the nineteenth century":
Certain rich people living in the town have installed these blacks [from the neighboring mountains -BL] on their farms to have them reproduce, and. . . every year, sell those of their children that are ready for this. . . some of them. . . own five or six hundred male and female slaves, and merchants come to them at all times, to buy male and female slaves. . ."[p 73]From these Mediterranean ports, slaves were sold to Ottoman territories in Europe and Asia. They were also brought from East African ports to the Hijaz [western Arabia near Mecca, itself a major slave trading center, conveniently located at the center of Muslim pilgrimage], from where they were sometimes shipped on. If it's any consolation to anyone, the Muslims were equal opportunity enslavers. The Muslim Tartars ruling over the northern shore of the Black Sea, now Ukraine, had long raided for white-skinned slaves in Ukraine, Belarus, southern Russia, and southeastern Poland, also shipping the slaves to Constantinople and other Ottoman slave markets. The slave trade from the northern Black Sea coast dried up after Russia annexed the Crimea in 1783, following several victories over the Tartars and Ottomans. When that source of supply of slaves tapered off, market demand was redirected towards Black Africa. Jeremy Bentham, the famous British philosopher, registered his trip on an Ottoman cargo ship carrying slaves in 1785, in the general vicinity of Mytilene. Lewis writes: "Bentham. . . sailed from Izmir to Istanbul on a Turkish" boat in November 1785. He "noted in his diary":
Our crew consists of 15 men besides the Captain: we have 24 passengers on deck, all Turks; besides 18 young Negresses (slaves) under the hatches. [Lewis, p 59]Lewis quotes another British traveler in 1834, some fifty years later, who was on Crete, a Greek island that remained in Ottoman hands until the end of the 19th century [see our earlier posts] :
. . . in the principal towns [on Crete] there are slaves in the families of every gentleman. The price of labour is everywhere very high, the difficulty of obtaining labourers in many cases amounting to an absolute impossibility, and the markets of Khania and Megalo-Kastron [Cretan cities] are as regularly furnished with human flesh as they are with bullocks, the supply of both being chiefly drawn from the same place, Benghazi. [quoted in Lewis, p 132 n. 4]The Swiss traveler JL Burckhardt reported that Darfur was a source of slaves for the Ottoman Empire:
Two years ago, Mohammed Aly Pasha [Muhammad Ali, semi-independent ruler of Egypt, see earlier posts on this blog] caused two hundred young Darfour slaves to be mutilated [castrated], whom he sent as a present to the Grand Signor [the Ottoman sultan]. [Burckhardt, Travels in Nubia, London 1819; quoted in Lewis, p 76]Today again Darfur is in the news on account of massacres and renewed enslavement of the inhabitants, who are mainly Muslims, but not Arabized, still identifying with their original African tribes. Yet the amount of attention given to Darfur events by supposed universalistic "human rights" and "civil rights" agencies is minimal, while most of those press agencies, newspapers, and broadcasters that find so much time to vilify Israel with Arab-invented atrocity hoaxes [Muhammad al-Dura's "killing"; the "Jenin massacre"] have little time for African victims of the Arabs. Sudan is of course a member state of the Arab League, along with Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates [including Dubai], and the Palestinian Authority.
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Coming: the BBC and the Holocaust, Jews in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel before Zionism, poems of Zion, the Barbary pirates as warriors for the Islamic state, etc.