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Captives and Captors: 1563–1760

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a survey of British captivity and ransom, from 1563- 1760. It also furnishes the historical context for captivity in the early modern Mediterranean and Atlantic, with special focus on political and naval developments, the various categories of captives, ranging from clergymen to soldiers, and the reasons for ransoming or not ransoming them. The approach is historical and geographical, not thematic, because a British captive taken in 1600, when England had no fleet and no naval clout, could not but see his plight in quite a different manner from a captive in 1700, when the British fleet largely dominated the western Mediterranean waters; and the commercial and military power of Britain at the beginning of the eighteenth century greatly superseded that of North Africa, by far more than a century earlier.

Keywords: Atlantic; British captivity; clergymen; Mediterranean; political developments; ransom; soldiers



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