Starting around the 1600s, many governments in North Africa allowed their people to raid and capture slaves from Europe. Pirates from the Barbary Coast of North Africa would set sail to Britain, Spain and parts of modern-day Italy and hunt for slaves.
Sometimes they would simply chase down ships and take the sailors. There are records from the early 1600s which show that at least 493 vessels had been captured by pirates around Britain. Sometimes defenseless villages were raided and the entire population was taken captive as in Baltimore, Ireland in 1631. The slaves would then be taken to North Africa. Large cities such as Tunis and Tripoli had a very active European slave trade. It is estimated that between 1530 and 1780 over 1 million Europeans were captured and sold as slaves to North Africa.
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Photo Credits / Sources:
http://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/captured-victims-barbary-coast.jpg (Originally www.dr.dk)