American Slaves and African Masters

Algiers and the Western Sahara, 1776–1820

  • Authors
  • Christine E. Sears

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction: Remembering the “Horror of Mahometan Vassalage”

  3. “This World Is Full of Vicissitudes”

    1. Christine E. Sears
      Pages 7-23
  4. Algiers

  5. Western Sahara

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 107-107
    2. Christine E. Sears
      Pages 109-133
    3. Christine E. Sears
      Pages 135-156
    4. Christine E. Sears
      Pages 157-161
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 163-240

About this book


Whether by falling prey to Algerian corsairs or crashing onto the desert shores of Western Sahara, a handful of Americans in the first years of the Republic found themselves enslaved in a system that differed so markedly from nineteenth century U.S. slavery that some contemporaries and modern scholars hesitate to categorize their experiences as 'slavery.' Sears uses a comparative approach, placing African enslavement of Americans and Europeans in the context of Mediterranean and Ottoman slaveries, while individually investigating the system of slavery in Algiers and Western Sahara. This work illuminates the commonalities and peculiarities of these slaveries, while contributing to a growing body of literature that showcases the flexibility of slavery as an institution.


Barbary captives Barbary captivity Barbary States Africa North Africa Morocco comparative slavery slavery-- Africa North Africa--North American Relations

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2012
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection
  • Print ISBN 978-1-349-44353-6
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-29503-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site