US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — America is one of the main centers where slaves from Africa were supplied, but not the only one. The author tells the story of Afro-Turks. The central market for trade in live goods – people from the black continent and the Caucasus – was located in Istanbul. Even the Bulgarians hunted the slave trade, writes Labor.
Two Bulgarians chose live goods in Cairo. Caucasian girls were smuggled, and black women were brought legally from Sudan. There, slave hunters killed their parents and abducted their children.
Slavery crawled out of the depths of history. Riots in the United States became like an uprising. Protests reached Europe, but in Bulgaria everything is calm. Although of all civilized nations we moaned the longest under the yoke, now in the textbooks this is called the “Ottoman presence.”
In the empire of the Istanbul sultans, the slave was called “kul”, and the markets with live goods were called “yesyr”. The first such market arose on the basis of a similar Byzantine market in Constantinople. It was discovered by Mehmed II the Conqueror in the middle of the 15th century. As the French traveler Nicola Nicole wrote, men, women, and children were naked in front of customers.
However, abduction into slavery began much earlier. The enslavement of the Bulgarians was testified in 1381 by the Venetian Antonio Bresiano. Even before the fall of the Tarnovo kingdom! In subsequent centuries, the trade in human flesh only flourished.
The main suppliers in the Mediterranean were the Berber pirates. Sea robbers chained hundreds of thousands of Europeans. “The Turks also acquired slaves in the Black Sea,” adds the British diplomat Paul Rico, “the Tatars, who invaded neighboring Christian lands, captured people and sold them to the Turks.”
Black slaves are a special category. Their homeland is Africa, they themselves were called “Zanjis” (also: Zanji, Zinji). Men served in the army, and women served in houses. The Bulgarians were also involved in the trade in the Zanjis – they both sold and bought.
“Koprivshtitsa has for centuries been a republic without senates and ministers, without charters and presidents, ten times more liberal than French, one hundred times more democratic than American,” writes Zakhari Stoyanov. It is from this freedom-loving region of Bulgaria that our contribution to the problem of slavery begins.
This is documented in the memoirs of the famous politician, diplomat and publicist Mikhail Madzharov. He was born in 1854 in Koprivshtitsa in the family of an enterprising Bulgarian. His father Ivan had a trading network all the way to Cairo, through which he transported woolen socks, terlits and Yamurluks (knitted slippers and traditional Bulgarian outerwear like a burka – approx. Trans.). His main partner was his fellow countryman Doncho Palaveev. In 1868, Doncho and Ivan decided to make a Hajj (pilgrimage).
The memoir says: “The Palaveev most insisted on a trip to Jerusalem and obtain the title of Haji. In addition to spiritual considerations, he also had secular reasons – the title of Haji could help him in trade. He said: in Cairo neither Arabs nor Bukhara say anything of my origin or nationality, but if they find out that I have done the hajj, they will treat me differently. This title is a kind of passport with which it is easier to open all doors. Let women see the world! Let them know where we earn and spend money. May our children acquire another name – in life, and that matters. ”
“Such were his arguments, and they were really significant for their time,” summarizes Mikhail Madzharov.
Doncho had left for Cairo in advance, and Ivan went with his and his family on an exhausting pilgrimage journey. On horseback they reached Plovdiv, and from there they went in carts to Edirne (Odrin). The next stop is Tekirdag (Rodosto), from there, by sea, they reach Constantinople. Then again along the water to the African coast – the black continent, from where slavery spread throughout the world.
The ship anchors in the Egyptian port of Alexandria. They are met by the Doncho Palaveev. Here they spend twenty days. “We left Alexandria before she got tired of us,” writes Madzharov. – We went to Cairo by train III class. There were eight of us Bulgarians – half adults, half boys. We entered a carriage full of Arabs and immediately felt their peculiar smell. Europeans do not go to class III at all, except when they want to study the mores and weaknesses of the Arab population. Our fathers did not have such intentions, but they were tailors and therefore decided to take the opportunity to buy tickets at a lower price.”
Five hours later, they arrived in Cairo. They settled in Khan-Khalil, where the residence of the Koprivshtica company was. Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians and Kutsu Lakhs (Aromuns) lived right there. In this international monastery, the Bulgarians saw the face of shame.
Mikhail Madzharov says: “There were several large Turkish merchants, they had young boys with tar-black smooth skin, they were well dressed, they were well treated and well fed. They were slaves bought in the market, but their masters treated them like their own children. There were several large houses in Cairo where both white and black slaves were sold. Next to Khan-Khalil was a house where Caucasian girls were sold – some of them were amazing beauties, they were bought in the harem of a rich pasha. Out of curiosity, we young guys climbed to the top floor of the khan (view of the hotel) to see what these slaves were doing. Sometimes they sang and had fun, sometimes they fought. ”
“The price of this human product depended on its age, appearance and health. Buyers had the right to inspect all parts of the body of the goods sold. Personally, I did not participate in the bidding, but I heard people say that the beauty was sold for 30 thousand pennies – 300 Egyptian liras, then it was a very large amount. Negroes were cheaper.”
Caucasian girls were smuggled, and black women were brought legally from Sudan. There, slave hunters killed their parents and abducted their children. Many Christians, including the Bulgarians, were engaged in this shameful craft, writes Madzharov. On this they made good money.
In the context of this black chronicle, the idea of rebirth shines. “My father’s partner, Doncho Palaveev, who spent most of the year in Egypt, was so used to this Egyptian trade that he considered it legal and suggested to my father several times to buy a couple of black girls and bring them to Koprivshtitsa so that they would be maids.”
“If the Turks, who consider them Muslim, will not be taken away from us, what will we do if they suddenly go mad tomorrow and decide to get married?” Won’t we get into trouble? ” – pulls time Ivan. However, this did not happen. If this happened, today the inhabitants of the picturesque town would be darker.
According to Mikhail Madzharov, slavery in Egypt lasted until 1881. Then the British stopped this shameful sale. However, in the Ottoman Empire, this was practiced until the First World War. Henry Morgenthau, US Ambassador to Istanbul, wrote about the trade in white slaves during his diplomatic mission.
Today, African Americans live in the United States of America, and African Turks live in the Republic of Turkey. Descendants of those same zanjas enslaved by an unknown Bulgarian. The late writer and activist Mustafa Olpak founded the Society of Culture, Solidarity and Mutual Assistance of Africans to unite the Afro-Turks. Islam forbids portraying a person, therefore there is no monument to Mehmed II the Conqueror. Chop off his head, as was done with the monuments to other slave owners.
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