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  • A. Jorge Aguilera López

My article on the Republic of Salé


An English Ship in action with Barbary Pirates Painting by Willem van de Velde the Younger (ca. 1685)

[National Maritime Museum in Greenwich]


Last 15th of July, an article of mine in Catalan was published in number 53 of Ab Origine Magazine, whose translated title would be: “The Moriscos of Salé: the history of fame and infamy of a short-lived pirate republic in the 17th century”. Many of the Moriscos expelled from Spain after 1609 took refuge in Morocco. The wealthy Moriscos from Hornachos (Extremadura) settled on the banks of the Bu Regreg river. There, taking advantage of the political and social instability existing in the Morocco of the Saadi dynasty, along with other minorities and pariahs, formed a republic whose main activity became piracy. The incorporation of Christian renegades from the Atlantic area, meant that the raids of these pirates were not focused on the Mediterranean, but precisely on the Atlantic, attacking France, Ireland, England... and even reaching Iceland. This pirate republic prospered rapidly, coming to overshadow Algiers itself. However, the same heterogeneity that fueled Salé, was what accelerated its downfall. Internal power disputes between the different minorities caused external interference, weakening the republic by leaps and bounds, which died out in 1668, when the new Alaouite dynasty reunified Morocco. However, Salé's brief but intense existence left a strong impression and his legacy is still alive today. Here is the article for you to take a look at:



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© 2020 by A. Jorge Aguilera López