Privateering and Slave Trade in the Cyclades in the Late 17th Century

George Koutzakiotis - Associate Researcher, Institute of Historical Research (Section of Neohellenic Research), National Hellenic Research Foundation



According to Ben J. Slot, the constant Venetian-Ottoman wars of the 17th century (1645-1669, 1684-1699) had transformed the Cyclades into a “no man’s land”. Over time, the activity of Christian privateers in that region had acquired a regularity that contributed to the creation of a whole cycle of economic activities. The latter subsequently allowed the direct financing and self-maintenance of privateers. Slave trade constituted an important sector of the entrepreneurial activity that had developed in the Cyclades by then. The framework of this activity has already been described in a previous work: G. Koutzakiotis, «Les Cyclades au XVIIe siècle : une entreprise de la course chrétienne dans l’Εmpire ottoman», in A. Brogini and M. Ghazali’s Des marges aux frontières. Les puissances et les îles en Méditerranée à l’époque moderne, Paris, 2010, pp. 231-242. Based on relevant documents from the French consular archives of Melos and Kimolos, this announcement focuses on slave trade during the Venetian-Ottoman war of 1684-1699, and explores the mechanism of this type of trade, as well as its broader Mediterranean connections.




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