William Phillips Jr.'s synthesis of the history of premodern Iberian slavery arrives in time to be a guide to the explosion of medieval historical studies on the region. Readable and straightforward, it should return Iberia to a central place in the history of Atlantic slavery.

Iberia was the first European node in the development of the Atlantic slave trade. Before that, the peninsula was a multiethnic, multiconfessional region whose inhabitants debated ways to integrate subject and enslaved peoples within its porous borders. The medieval Iberian kingdoms in particular wrestled with the governance of subject peoples, and Muslim and Christian rulers allowed all three confessional groups (including Jews) to have semiautonomous juridical institutions. Muslim regimes allowed the enslavement of non-Muslims, as Christian ones did of non-Christians, alongside their community of free coreligionists. Mediterranean slavery was often part of a ransoming economy, and Muslim...

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