MESA Banner
A Maritime Road from Venice to the Balkans and Tripoli: Exploring New Connections across the Mediterranean during the Second Half of the 18th Century
By the mid-1760s, soldiers from the Venetian army and oarsmen on Venetian galleys tried to escape their conditions by traveling across the Adriatic Sea to Corfu and then Dulcigno (Ulcinj) in the southern region of present Montenegro. From Ulcinj, Albanian and North African traders, privateers and seamen would bring these fugitives to Tripoli of Barbary (now in Libya) where they could be sold as slaves and where they would sometimes convert to Islam. This road from Venice to Ulcinj and Tripoli is interesting not only to uncover forgotten connections between two major parts of the Ottoman Empire, namely between the Balkans and the eastern part of the Maghreb by the second of the 18th century, but also because it can be compared to yet another road from Spain to Oran and Algeria through which other European soldiers would also escape their military duties. By mapping and comparing these routes—both from the Adriatic sea and through Spain/Oran—the paper highlights new forms of connections and circulations across the Mediterranean by the second half of the 18th century. Related to a research project (SlaveVoices) funded by the European Research Council, this case shows how Ottoman North Africa could represent either a refuge or a deadlock for European soldiers trying to change their lives and how these two so-called peripheries of the Ottoman empire could become major crossroads and gateways for major Mediterranean Empires.
Geographic Area
Sub Area