Matar examines the influence of Mediterranean piracy and diplomacy on early modern British history and identity. Drawing on published and unpublished literary, commercial, and epistolary sources, he situates British maritime activity and national politics, especially in relation to the Civil War, within the international context of Anglo-Magharibi encounters. Before there was the British encounter with America, there was the much more complex and destabilizing encounter with Islam in North Africa. Focusing on specific case studies, Matar examines the impact of early visits of Moroccan officials on English playwrights such as Peele, Shakespeare, and Heywood; the captivity of thousands of British sailors in North Africa and its domestic consequences in the first women's protest movement in English history; the captivity of British women in Barbary, especially the English sultana Balqees; the absorption of thousands of ""moors"" into the British slave trade; and the aftermath of the colonization and desertion of Tangier. Matar shows that when Barbary was militarily and diplomatically powerful, its relations with and impact on Britain were extensive.
Nabil Matar is professor of English and chair of the Department of Humanities and Communication at the Florida Institute of Technology. This book is the third and final installment in his trilogy that includes Islam in Britain, 1558-1685 and Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery.