Monday, June 27, 2022

Events In 1627 CE Worthy Of A Movie

In the long scheme of history, these events, sometimes called somewhat misleadingly, the Turkish abductions, made little difference and were an outlier to the overall trends. But, they would be a great foundation for a movie bringing this historic period in multiple places to life and connecting them:

The Turkish Abductions (Icelandic: Tyrkjaránið) were a series of slave raids by pirates from Northwest Africa that took place in Iceland in the summer of 1627.

The pirates came from the cities of Algiers which was part of the Ottoman Empire (in modern-day Algeria) and Salé which was its own city-state known as Republic of Salé a tributary state of Morocco. They raided Grindavík, the East Fjords, and Vestmannaeyjar. About 50 people were killed and close to 400 people were captured and sold in the African slave market. A ransom was eventually paid, 9 to 18 years later, for the return of 50 individuals.

The label "Turkish" does not refer to Turkey; at the time it was a general term for all Muslims in the Mediterranean region since the majority were a part of the Ottoman Empire. During the 17th century, the majority of those called "Turks" in Algeria, were disowned Christians that had converted to Islam. They were mostly Spanish, Italians, and provençaux (French).


Mark B. said...

Regarding those 'disowned' Christians. As I understand, they were themselves taken as slaves from Europe, and were able to get out of a death sentence in North Africa by sailing for their owners and preying on their own people. Muslim slavers did ransom their captives if they could raise the money at home, but for all others it was either be worked with the constant threat of death, or, if experienced at sea, 'convert' and join the slavers. Some did.

Guy said...

Hum.. *Mostly* Spanish, Italian and French? The why didn't the ex-Christians take over their ships and sail home? I think this claim would need some pretty good documentation.

andrew said...


The story is pretty exhaustive documented from primary sources since while the rest of the world could care less, it is something that every Icelandic child learns in school (compare, e.g., the story of the lost colony of Roanoke in the U.S.) which prompted a lot of research by Icelandic historians.


Could be. Personally, I just think it is a wild and crazy event that I would never have guessed happened.