chapter  1
16 Pages

The space between Borno and Palermo

Slavery and its boundaries in the late medieval Saharan-Mediterranean region 1
WithLori De Lucia

This chapter shows how conceptions of race shifted in tandem with contemporary political and economic changes. After the Ottoman takeover of Constantinople, slaves trafficked from Borno were increasingly redirected to markets in the Western Mediterranean. Also shared along these trade routes were ideological justifications of the slave trade. Christian and Muslim injunctions on enslaving coreligionists prompted North African and European writers to define “black Africa,” not according to geographical features, but as areas inhabited by pagans, whom they believed could be justifiably enslaved.