AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractThis essay explores the significance for Defoe and his contemporaries of a brief episode near the beginning of Robinson Crusoe (1719) where Crusoe's ship is captured by pirates and he is held as a slave in Morocco for two years before escaping with a Morisco boy named Xury. At the time the novel was published, thousands of Christian slaves were being held in Muslim North Africa, and public campaigns to ransom them were organized on a large scale. Defoe's readers would have had access to many accounts describing how the ‘Barbary pirates’ operated, and the conditions in which their captives were held. Defoe himself regarded the activities of the pirates as a serious threat to the development of international trade and commerce, and frequently called for the creation of a pan-European military force to suppress them.
CitationOwens, W.R. (2013) 'Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, and the Barbary Pirates', English, 62 (236), pp. 51-66
PublisherOxford University Press