New research indicates that the prevailing estimates of the number of Britons seized by Islamic slavers from around Britain’s coasts is a gross underestimate and that the true figure may be closer to 100,000, out of a total of 1.25 million Europeans seized by the Muslims from North Africa over a 250-year period.

Although some academic research has been conducted into the Islamic “trade” insofar as it impacted Europe as a whole, very little, if any, has been undertaken in the context of the British Isles.

Whilst it is widely accepted that Islamic slavers kidnapped around 1.25 million people from southern and western Europe over a 250-year period beginning in the late sixteenth century, the number of Britons seized remains unknown.

Current “guesstimates” have it that the figure is between ten to twenty thousand. However, there are a number of reasons why this number is unrealistically low.

Unless abduction from a ship, coastal settlement or farm was witnessed, then who would have known?

Generally the disappearance of a ship, or even a small fleet of fishing vessels, would have been far more likely explained away by bad weather than slaving.

Furthermore, even when an enslavement event was witnessed there was no guarantee that the event would be recorded in either official documentation or private correspondence, particularly if the victims were poor seamen or villagers.

Neither newspapers nor police forces, as such, existed in the seventeenth century when Islamic slaving around the British Isles was at its peak.

In many cases the only reason why an enslavement event was documented at all was to record the financial loss to a ship’s owner or merchant resulting from the destruction of the ship and theft of its cargo; the enslavement of its crew and any passengers being a secondary consideration at best.

Estimates, such as they are, relating to the number of captives taken, appear to be extrapolated almost entirely from extant documentation; which by its very nature is unlikely to have ever reflected the real extent of the problem.

Furthermore, much documentation has been lost over the years.

Yet, if we were to accept the current working hypothesis that around ten to twenty thousand Britons were seized over the 250 year period in question, then that would suggest an averaged out annual enslavement total of less than one hundred persons per annum; hardly an attractive financial proposition from the Islamic slavers’ perspective.

Such a low rate of abduction is not viable when documentation from the nation’s libraries and archives is examined.

In the mid-seventeenth century, for instance, the justices of Cornwall complained to the Lord Lieutenant of the county that in one year alone Islamic slavers had taken no fewer than a thousand Cornish seamen and fishermen; the village of Looe having lost eighty men in a single ten day period.

In 1640, a petition sent to King Charles I by English slaves held in Algiers claimed the North African town’s English and Welsh slave population numbered around 5,000 souls; 957 “prisoners” having arrived in the six months before the despatch of the petition.

In addition, Admiralty documents attribute the loss of 500 English vessels between 1609 and 1616 to Islamic slavers, and a further 27 just from around Plymouth in 1625.

These figures, being “pre-Act of Union,” do not include Scottish losses.

Furthermore, a list printed in London in 1682 enumerated 160 English ships captured by “Algerians” between 1677 and 1680, yielding the Islamic slavers around 8,000 men, women and children for sale in the North African slave markets.

Corroborative records suggesting that the numbers enslaved were far higher than current “guesstimates” can be found in the North Devon church records of the coastal parish of Hartland.

Hartland, although possessing a quay, could hardly be described as a port; unlike the nearby North Devon towns of Appledore, Bideford, Barnstaple and Ilfracombe; these, in turn, were “small fry” compared to the major maritime centres of Bristol, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Hull and London.

Yet during the course of the seventeenth century, Hartland church’s accounts list no fewer than fourteen occasions, involving seventeen individuals, on which parish relief was doled out to desperate individuals who had either escaped from “Turkish” captivity or had been ransomed.

The account entries, in the original English, record:

1617/18 Gave unto two soldiers which came out of Turkey 3s

1617/18 Gave one ward who ay 16 yeare in Turkey 6d

1618/19 Gave a fellowe that came out of Turkey 12d

1622/23 Gave a souldier that came out of Turkey 3d

1622/23 Gave unto a Turkey Captive 4d

1630/1 Gave a poore man which was taken in Turkey 6d

1635/6 Gave a traveller which had bene in Turkey 2d

1638/9 Gave a Captive which came out of Turkey 4d

1643/4 Gave a Northam woman which had a briefe for her husband that was a captive in Turkey 3d

1662/3 Item: to one that came out of turkey for lodging & diet 8d

1664/5 Gave to a woman for redeeming her husband out of turkey 1s

1670/1 Gave 3 seamen that came from Turke 4d

1682/3 Gave on that Came out of Turky 6d

1682/3 Gave on a mariner which was taken by the turkes 1s

Note: It was common practice at the time to describe Islamic slavers as “Turks”, which is incorrect as they were North African Muslims, otherwise known as “Barbary Pirates.”

Yet these people were those who had been dropped off penniless by vessels calling at this poor and insignificant North Devon “port”; they do not include those who had worked their passage back to England as crewmembers and been paid off.

Such people would not have qualified for parish relief.

It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that during the course of the seventeenth century at least thirty “returnees” re-entered England through tiny Harland.

Yet Hartland is only one of hundreds of English and Welsh coastal communities having a quay.

If some thirty “returnees” were landed at that one miniscule and remote “port” during the course of the seventeenth century, then that would suggest that the number of “returnees” in England and Wales as a whole, during that century, must have been numbered in the thousands.

It remains an undisputed fact that the vast majority of those enslaved were dirt-poor sailors, fishermen or villagers; people unable to secure their freedom through ransom.

It is likely that less than 5 percent of those taken would have either escaped or been ransomed, to find their way back to the British Isles.

If three thousand is adopted as a working figure for the number of “returnees” during the seventeenth century and a maximum “returnee rate” of 5 percent for the same period assumed, then the only conclusion possible is that Islamic slavers abducted at least sixty thousand people from around the British Isles during the seventeenth century.

To this, of course, should be added those taken in the last quarter of the sixteenth century and throughout the eighteenth century; perhaps another forty thousand, making a total of around one hundred thousand for the 250 year period in question.

Even so, this averages out as only four hundred per year — the equivalent of half a dozen merchant ships and a couple dozen small fishing boats; suggesting that the actual figure could be higher still.

The rise of the Royal Navy during the second half of the eighteenth century, although increasingly successful in driving the Islamic slavers from British waters, could do little to stamp out continuing slaving against British merchant vessels on the high seas.

Disgracefully, despite the scale of the slaving directed against our forebears, there isn’t a memorial anywhere to the scores of thousands of British victims; this is in sharp contrast to the many memorials to the African victims of European slavers.

The story of our nation’s suffering at the hands of Islamic slavers should be taught in our schools with the prominence of at least that of the African “trade.”

Furthermore, the British National Party is determined that a national memorial to the “Stolen” be erected in memory of the tens of thousands of Britons enslaved by Islam.