Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean and why justice comes from a bullwhip

A recent comment about my site here, Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom contemplated my use of bullwhips and attempted to associate it with slavery in the typical progressive fashion. Of course I’ve heard all this before and each time I hear it only inspires me more to expose progressivism for the destructive force that it is more intensely. One of the reasons that bullwhip work is degraded as sadomasochism and instruments of slavery is due to this progressive marketing campaign that wants to divide up everything into just a few categories, fairness for women, fairness for people of color, fairness for the poor, and fairness for other countries. Of course that fairness is always defined by a political class of elites hungry for power and inspired by the communist movement of the 20th century. But that is always ignored. Instead this is the kind of intelligence we are to contend with:

Justice comes with the crack of the whip,” is the tag line. And he wields bullwhips as a hobby. Naw, he’s no overseer. What connotations could I even imply?


The implication there of course is that as an “overman” I want to be a slave owner ruling over a flock of black slaves. The bullwhip is part of the slave master tradition to the thinking of these political marionettes. But they would be wrong, in fact, they are part of a massive cover-up which seeks to highlight the effects of slavery in America—inherited from Europe—and the type of slavery that Thomas Jefferson himself attacked when he could—which was the start of the United States Marines. That slavery started it all in the modern world and involved Muslims in North Africa. The information and statistics are staggering of how many white people were enslaved by Muslims of color and were articulated in the 2004 book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean. Read about the study conducted in that book below:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study suggests that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 – a far greater number than had ever been estimated before.


Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed a unique methodology to calculate the number of white Christians who were enslaved along Africa’s Barbary Coast, arriving at much higher slave population estimates than any previous studies had found.


Most other accounts of slavery along the Barbary Coast didn’t try to estimate the number of slaves, or only looked at the number of slaves in particular cities, Davis said. Most previously estimated slave counts have thus tended to be in the thousands, or at most in the tens of thousands. Davis, by contrast, has calculated that between 1 million and 1.25 million European Christians were captured and forced to work in North Africa from the 16th to 18th centuries.


Davis’s new estimates appear in the book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).

“Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe,” Davis said. “Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.”

Davis said it is useful to compare this Mediterranean slavery to the Atlantic slave trade that brought black Africans to the Americas. Over the course of four centuries, the Atlantic slave trade was much larger – about 10 to 12 million black Africans were brought to the Americas. But from 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas, according to Davis.

“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature – that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true,” Davis said. “We cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people.”

During the time period Davis studied, it was religion and ethnicity, as much as race, that determined who became slaves.

“Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland,” he said.

Pirates (called corsairs) from cities along the Barbary Coast in north Africa – cities such as Tunis and Algiers – would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact of these attacks were devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior.

Although hundreds of thousands of Christian slaves were taken from Mediterranean countries, Davis noted, the effects of Muslim slave raids was felt much further away: it appears, for example, that through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers.

Even Americans were not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793.

Davis said the vast scope of slavery in North Africa has been ignored and minimized, in large part because it is on no one’s agenda to discuss what happened.

The enslavement of Europeans doesn’t fit the general theme of European world conquest and colonialism that is central to scholarship on the early modern era, he said. Many of the countries that were victims of slavery, such as France and Spain, would later conquer and colonize the areas of North Africa where their citizens were once held as slaves. Maybe because of this history, Western scholars have thought of the Europeans primarily as “evil colonialists” and not as the victims they sometimes were, Davis said.

Davis said another reason that Mediterranean slavery has been ignored or minimized has been that there have not been good estimates of the total number of people enslaved. People of the time – both Europeans and the Barbary Coast slave owners – did not keep detailed, trustworthy records of the number of slaves. In contrast, there are extensive records that document the number of Africans brought to the Americas as slaves.

So Davis developed a new methodology to come up with reasonable estimates of the number of slaves along the Barbary Coast. Davis found the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time. He then estimated how many new slaves it would take to replace slaves as they died, escaped or were ransomed.

“The only way I could come up with hard numbers is to turn the whole problem upside down – figure out how many slaves they would have to capture to maintain a certain level,” he said. “It is not the best way to make population estimates, but it is the only way with the limited records available.”

Putting together such sources of attrition as deaths, escapes, ransoming, and conversions, Davis calculated that about one-fourth of slaves had to be replaced each year to keep the slave population stable, as it apparently was between 1580 and 1680. That meant about 8,500 new slaves had to be captured each year. Overall, this suggests nearly a million slaves would have been taken captive during this period. Using the same methodology, Davis has estimated as many as 475,000 additional slaves were taken in the previous and following centuries.

The result is that between 1530 AD and 1780 AD there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.

Of course nobody ever hears about this because under the re-education so fashionable under progressive interpretation, the slavery of whites doesn’t fit the communist motivated, anti-American imperialism that is the real target of the attack by those who want to destroy America and the capitalism that drives its economic power. So the slavery argument has been captured to only discuss the practice in America. What is ignored is that once America had freed itself during the Revolution it immediately went to work to free all men which started the Civil War. After the Civil War was a period of westward expansion which highlights the era typically rendered by the cinematic western. It is from this time that the bullwhip came into play not as a plantation guardian, but of individuals facing down the vast open spaces of the American West.


The tag line I use at this site is a quote from my own 2004 novel The Symposium of Justice where the main character Cliffhanger fights off modern slavery by destroying a mind control device designed to interfere with the thinking of a town’s citizens and guide them in the proper political direction. The use of bullwhips in the story has nothing to do with slavery or standing over other people—it is about freeing people so that they can think. The use of the bullwhip is to use force to punish bad guys for attempting to enslave civilization. My use of the bullwhip in that story context is to free people, not to enslave them.

Those who chose to revise history are far more dangerous than the perceived slave master who uses a bullwhip to control the black slaves at their southern plantation. The minds of these critics shown at the beginning of this article are made by modern progressives who make movies like Dajango Unchained and the ignorant masses believe wholeheartedly that the filmmaker Tarentino is a scholar who knows much about the slavery argument. But he doesn’t. For those who do know, slavery wasn’t a black or white condition, it was a product of the times, and white people were just as vulnerable to enslavement as blacks were—yet this is never discussed even though the evidence is quite extensive.


For my own lessons in history it is my proposal that it takes an “overman” to see past the limitations imposed on mankind through thousands of years motivated exclusively by ignorance. It takes such a position to understand why a 2004 book written about white slavery in North Africa by a professor of history at Ohio State was ignored—because it didn’t fit the progressive definitions meant to attack American imperialism. It is also meant to ignore the role that Muslims played in that slavery—as Islam is a religion that progressives are advocating as a volatile assailant against the bourgeoisie of world power, the North American continent. Those progressive definitions come straight out of the books of Karl Marx and have no other grounding in reality. To see such contradictions not only takes a student of history, but someone willing to step outside of the current human limitations of personal sensitivity and political concern to see the truth. And the truth is, America freed their slaves, but the rest of the world didn’t. Of those other places in the world that promoted slavery so intensely, it was the Muslims who then as they do now, seek to rule over mankind with an iron fist. For me, the bullwhip is a symbol of the American West and the only time in world history that a nation freed itself from a tyrannical past. That symbol needs to be propped up for the world to see so that they too can rise up against their slave masters with a projection of strength that can metaphorically come only from a bullwhip.

Rich Hoffman