Barbary piracy in the West Country and more from the NMMC

NMMC Barbary Pirates

Are you sitting comfortably? If so I have got some serious reading for you this morning, published on its website by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

The first item on the agenda is a fascinating account of how the famous period of Barbary piracy in the South West during the 17th century worked.

It seems that the captives were often ransomed, that both Catholic and Anglican churches had a large part to play in negotiating and paying ransomes, but would not play any part in returning captive slaves who had converted to Islam. More, it seems that returned captive slaves were often regarded with some suspicion on their return, and some women among them ‘turned Turk’ in order to stay with their children.

The second item is In search of the Queen Transport, a thorough investigation of the historical sources regarding the wrecking two centuries ago of the ship Queen Transport in Falmouth Harbour with the loss of 200 lives, most of them soldiers returning from from fighting in the Peninsular War under Wellington. There’s a remarkable monument to the victims in Mylor churchyard – see it here.

The consensus seems to be that although the ship was in a harbour generally regarded as safe, there were serious questions over how much effort had been made to moor her securely.

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