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In the summer of 1627, Moorish corsairs from the north coast of Africa raided Iceland. In four ships, they attacked settlements on the eastern and southern coasts, and on the Westman Islands off the south coast, taking close to four hundred captives away into slavery. Among those captured on the Westman Islands were the Reverend Ólafur Egilsson, a Lutheran Minister in his sixties, and his family.
 
The Travels of Reverend Ólafur Egilsson (Reisubók Séra Ólafs Egilssonar) is Reverend Ólafur’s own account of his capture in Iceland, his time as a slave in North Africa, and his subsequent travels across Europe to Denmark to raise ransom money for his wife and children. Along with Reverend Ólafur’s first-hand account, the book also includes a series of letters written by the captives themselves and by eye witnesses to the raid.
 
The Reisubók describes both Christian and Islamic civilization in the seventeenth century and tells a powerful, altogether remarkable story. The letters bring to life both the details of the raid itself and the conditions the Icelandic captives endured as slaves.
 
None of this has ever before been translated into English.  
 
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You can access an excerpt from the book’s Foreword, excerpts from two sample Chapters, and excerpts from two Letters by clicking the links at the top of this page.
 
You can purchase a copy of The Travels of Reverend Ólafur Egilsson directly from the publisher by clicking Buy The Book at the top of this page.
 
You can access websites containing information about Moorish corsairs by clicking Links at the top of this page
 
 

 
 
 
 

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This site was last updated June 12, 2013.